Surrounded by valleys and fairy chimneys rising like stone minarets, there are many places in Göreme that are named with the colors of the sun and the traces of their past lives. Not only by nature but also by the history of the Chalcolithic era. Subjecting the 6th century, a documentary names Göreme as ‘Korama’. This district was a cemetery in the Roman period. In the 11th and 13th centuries, it became a very important religious center for Christians. Here, with this unique nature and history feast, it entered the Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1985.
Güllüdere Valley, which is one of the two entrances to Göreme, is named after the rocks that change according to the season and weather conditions and turn into red rose color with daylight. The reflection of the sunset on the fairy chimneys of the rocks has resulted in becoming a Cappadocia travel procedure.
The valley takes this natural beauty from the horizontal rocks shaped by the descending rain from the highs. Another beauty of Güllüdere Valley is that it has many churches, monasteries, and settlements built in different periods. Like all of Cappadocia, volcanic formations that can be easily carved here have been a living space for people for centuries.
Göreme Güllüdere Valley, which spans about 4 km, is one of the most popular trekking valleys of Cappadocia. In the spring you walk through the greenery with almonds and apricot trees, you see here pigeon houses also that are used just like in Güvercinlik Valley. From Güllüdere Valley in the foothills of Bozdağ, you can watch both the majesty of the mountain and the Kızılçukur that stretches alongside you. The formations of the fairy chimneys show a magnificent image as if they were touched by fairies.
Churches in Güllüdere Valley
There are 5 churches in the Güllüdere Valley and the valley is divided into two branches. The first branch is known as Güllüdere I, the famous monks who lived here with endless inhabitants, and you are encountering these monk cells abundantly during the walk. After entering the valley you arrive at the Yovakim-Anna Church in about a 10-minute walk. After this church, you will see the Direkli Church again. The second branch is separated as Güllüdere II. Ayvalı, Crossed Church, and the Three Crossed Church are located in this cave.
Three Crossed Church
You can take the path through the vineyards and the apricot trees to reach the Three Crossed Church. The name of the church is taken from three cross motifs carved on the ceiling. It is worth seeing with both the cross motifs and frescos still resisting time.
Although the construction of the church was dated to the 7th century, it is estimated that the frescos inside it were built in the 10th century. It is also among the rhetoric of the historians that in time it protected Christians from Muslim Arab raids.
The shortest way you can use to reach Ayvalı Church is to walk on the dirt road which is separated from Çavuşin Village. This road takes you to the beginning of Güllüdere II Valley after about 1 km and brings you to the Ayvalı Church in a 15-minute walk.
The church consists of two chapels carved from the rock and tied together. From these chapels, the north side was built as a grave. The thing proving that it is used as pigeon houses at the time is the little holes for the pigeons to enter. Although the majority of the interior facade paintings were destroyed when these holes, which were the only illumination of the church, were opened, the frescos surrounding the arches of the entrances were able to reach this day.
The frescos at the entrance to the southern chapel depict a medallion on the head of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine and her mother Helena. In the middle of these medallions is a cross where Jesus is crucified. The fact that the chaps are twice as large as the frescos are evident from the pictures that appear under the frescos that spill over the top. While the first frescos were estimated to have been made in the 9th century, the frescos on the second floor were built in 920s. There are sections of Jesus’ life, scenes from the Bible in the 2nd-floor freckles, where there are more professional depictions. The most interesting thing about frescos is it is evident that Mary was on deathbed. The detail that suggests that Mary is dying is an infant in an arsenal that seems to be coming out of her mouth, symbolizing that the soul has left her body.
The entrance is covered by an iron gate, and the church officer who has a vaulted barge is paid to open the church.
Yovakim – Anna Church
Yovakim and Anna are Mary’s parents, and the church gets its name from here. The most important feature of the church is that it has very rare frescos, which are depicted only here and in another church in Cyprus. In this fresco Hz. The Mary is shown in the light, in hurray, and holds the baby Jesus in her arms. Although the frescos were made before the iconoclast period, they were rare from the time of day.
The fact that there are small chapels on either side of the church, which is arranged as a complex, also suggests that this may be a monastery. The chapel on the left is estimated to have been built as a grave.
There is also a very sad story of the church that comes up to the day. According to this story, Saint Anna and Saint Yovakim had no children despite their desire. Since it is a shame to not have children in the time they live, people have humiliated them. But they continued to believe in God and pray in their hearts, until their late ages, despite all their sadness.
When Saint Yovakim went to Jerusalem to sacrifice to God on a holy day, the clergyman Ruben told him that a barren man had no right to do this. Saint Yovakim, who believes that he is a sinful servant with a great elimination, did not return home and retreats in a corner. When Saint Anna learns the situation, she cries late at night and wants God to give her a child to save him from this embarrassment. In deep retreat, Saint Yovakim had the same prayer in tears. Ultimately, the prayer that was done with pain was accepted, and an angel, a blessed son of a woman who is more than all the women who have passed away, has given good news to them. And he said, ‘This son will only devote himself to Yahweh, will remain a virgin, and someday he will deliver the savior of mankind.’
After the arrival of Mary, the expected daughters of Yovakim and Anna met in the Golden Gate in Jerusalem with the good news from the angel. After a while the Virgin Mary went to the temple where she had been appointed to God, the old couple doubled their eyes. Yovakim and Anna who have always lived in the parenthood of believers who can not have children. Just like you in the name of this church.
The entrance of this church is covered with a demeroid like Ayvalı Church. If you want to travel, you need to let the Nevşehir Museum Directorate know.
Crossed Church (Saint Agathangelus Church)
At the entrance of the Güllüdere Valley, on the left is a wooden staircase built on a church on a hillside where the valley basin collapsed. The church is thought to be built in the 6th or 7th century and the addition of the single abscissa was made in the 9th and 10th centuries. On the flat ceiling of the church, which is an oblique rectangular plan, the palm motifs surround the edges of a huge and at the same time a gorgeous relief. It is thought that this cross symbol was inspired by the holy cross found in Jerusalem. Even though the frescos of the abscissa are painted 2 or 3 times, the paint remains visible underneath.
The Crusader Church is worth a visit even just to see these frescos. There is also a café where you can drink something.
Columned (Direkli) Church
5 minutes from Yovakim-Anna Church, Columned (Direkli) Church, is 3 km north of Ortahisar and at the end of Güllüdere Valley. Having a pigeon house at the entrance and thus hardly seen between the rocks, this church’s columns and belts carved very neatly. The church sat on 4 columns and dated back to the 11th century is worth seeing.