Saint Jean Church

There are many important churches in Cappadocia from the Christian period. Saint Jean Church, one of the most spectacular churches of Cappadocia, is located on Nevsehir-Gulsehir road, on the left of the Gulsehir entrance. The 500 meter long road, which separates from the main road by a yellow signboard, will take you to the carpark in front of the church.

After Christianity, like many other churches in the region, Saint Jean Church was demolished and its frescos were damaged. In order to cover the frescos, a big fire was lit in the church to cover the walls with soot. On top of this, when the effects of floods, erosion, and destruction of natural forces were added, the urgency of protection and restoration of the church became necessary. Thanks to the attempts of the Culture Ministry and other related foundations, the restoration began in 1995 and finished in 1996. At the end of the restoration, which was supervised by Ridvan isler, the necessary precautions were taken against the destruction from natural forces and the layers of soot on the frescos were cleaned diligently. Today, the church is open to the public with its wonderful frescos.

The church consists of two floors. On the left hand side of the main area on the first floor, there is a small room with a wine well and wall cavities. At the right of the entrance, there is a dormitory room reached by a short tunnel thought to have been built for its staff. The first floor is built on a cross-plan and the cross arms are vaulted. The decorations in this church were drawn in red directly on the rock. Stylised animal motives, crosses and geometrical shapes attract attention among these drawings. Both the ceiling, built on a single apsis, and the stone stairs to the upper floor have collapsed. Today a wooden stairs is built replacing the stone one. The apsis of the church is located on the second floor opposite the newly built wooden stairs. According to the writing on the apsis, the Saint Jean Church, built in 1212, was amongst the important art centers of its period. The frescoes in the church are really fascinating. The second floor was carved out later on. This floor has a single vaulted apsis. Its frescoes were inspired by scenes from the Bible and belong to a later period. These frescoes are unique in the stories they describe as well as the difference in the style of the drawings. They were colored mainly in yellow and brown on a black background, and the lively and striking scenes attract attention. Among these scenes, the last judgement scene which is rarely encountered in the churches of the

Cappadocia region is noticible. The other scenes depicting the last dinner, betrayal, baptism, Mary’s death, delivering Jesus from the cross, women around the empty grave and various saints are also eye catching.