Situated in the Cappadocia region, one of Turkey’s most breathtaking natural landscapes is Ihlara Valley. The township, a 14-kilometre deep valley, was formed thousands of years ago and goes about 100-meter deep in most areas. The unique feature of the valley is the ancient history of human settlements and cave churches. Historians believe that this splendid valley was, for centuries, a dwelling place for humans. The abundant supply of water flowing throughout from Melindiz River, together with flora, provided mankind with all the requirements to flourish. The close landscape, water supply aided natives to escape skillfully from Roman soldiers for long periods.
Explore Ihlara’s Breathtaking Landscape
Churches of Ihlara Valley
The main entrance of Kokar Church was blocked by a landslide, but other openings are still there. The intricately painted pictures on walls, called frescoes, beautified the walls of the church with numerous Biblical scenes including proof of the Virgin, the Last Supper, Christ on the cross and his entombment. A brief walk away from Kokar leads to the Terrace church that has an entrance hall and burial chamber. A climb of about 25 meters from river level needs to be scaled. Built under a tree, the church is a perfect example of Byzantine architecture and amazes sightseers with its red, yellow and green frescoes. Out of many frescoes, Daniel in the lion’s den, undoubtedly, stands out the most.
Mainly known as The smelly Church, the Kokar Kilise Ceiling, Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia is situated in the initial one third part of the valley between the primary entryway and Ihlara Village. Travellers can also find their way through a destroyed opening. Just like the Kokar Church, the primary entrance has been ruined and restricted by a landslide. Many frescoes enhance the beauty of the walls of the church.
Purenli Seki Kilisesi
Another attraction to visit in the first quarter of the Ilhara Valley is the Purenli Seki Kilisesi that is nearly 100m away from Kokar Kilise. The visitors have to scale around 25m above the river level. An entrance and a burial chamber form a large part of the church. Also, it has a double naos, separated by pillared arcades, each having an apse. What makes this church unique are the frescoes, commonly named as 'archaic' that are known for their finely detailed designs, and matchless freedom of expressio.
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets are not required to reach or explore the Ihlara Valley. Various attractions around the beach where entry is charged provide affordable tickets at their respective entrances. The valley is particularly famous for its churches where, again, there’s no entry fee as such; however, donations are encourage to assist the upkeep of these historical churches.
How To Get Around?
You can walk around comfortably to explore all the major attractions in an around the Ihlara Valley. All attractions worth visiting are at walking distance from each other, while those spaced out can be reached by car or taxi.
What Should I Wear?
Best Time to Visit
The temperate here is comfortable in spring and autumn so plan a visit March to May or September to November.
Will I Need a Guide?
How To Get There?
Turkish Airlines run several direct flights from Istanbul Airport to Kayseri Erkilet Airport, the nearest touch point for overseas visitors heading to Ihlara Valley. From within Cappadocia, hop into a taxi or rental car to reach the valley.
Ample parking space is available across the valley. Summers in this part of the world can be hot, humid and scorching, so make sure you carry light clothing, sunscreen, shades, and other summer accessories.