Ihlara Valley - Aksaray-TURKEY
Ihlara Valley, whose name in the historical sources is Peristremma, with its vegetation, churches and chapels; It is one of the rare areas where the phenomenon of nature, history, art and culture come together.
Where is Ihlara Valley?
Ihlara Valley, located within the borders of Aksaray Province Güzelyurt District, has an important place among the canyons in the world. Ihlara Valley, which is 18 kilometers long, 150 meters deep and 200 meters wide, has thousands of living spaces, is the largest canyon in the world where people live in the past, unlike other canyons. The Melendiz River, which shapes the Ihlara Valley and gives life to the valley, is the main source of life here. Hundreds of churches and rock-carved spaces created by the easy carving of the rocks surrounding the valley have made the valley one of the most important cultural and civilization centers in the world.
Ihlara Valley was formed as a result of thousands of years of abrasion of Melendiz Stream, which advances on the collapsed area after tectonic elevations and the eruption of Hasandağı volcano. Melendiz Stream creates majestic and stunning beauties throughout the valley by deeply and steeply clearing the land along Ihlara Valley. Small streams that take their resources from the Melendiz Mountains unite, flow in the southeast-northwest direction and reach the Mamasın Dam. Melendiz Stream draws about thirty meanders throughout the valley. Although the distance between Ilısu and Selime is 10 kilometers, the actual distance reaches 18 kilometers since the stream flows by meandering.
Another striking feature of Ihlara Valley is its nature. There is a dense strip of greenery consisting of vineyards and gardens at the edge of the water at the bottom of the steep, deep and narrow valley, like a wall. As if nature has hidden itself in the valley. Steppe-looking and undersized vegetation is dominant around the valley. When you come to the slopes of the valley, you see that a rich and green piece of nature is hiding in the valley. This concealment has also determined the special location of the valley. Unlike the continental climate in the region, there is a climate close to the Mediterranean climate at the base of the valley. The valley floor is a natural microclimate area with this feature. Accordingly, a wide variety of plants, especially Antep pistachio, are grown at the bottom of the valley.
The frescoed churches carved into the rocks in Ihlara Valley have been preserved and have survived to the present day as an unprecedented historical treasure. These frescoed churches and settlements, which were created by the easy excavation of rocks since the first years of Christianity, are located in Ihlara Valley, which continues from Ihlara to Selime for 14 kilometers. The first examples of these churches in Ihlara Valley, where nature and history coexist in the middle of the Cappadocia River (Patamos Cappadocus) in the early ages, are given in AD IV. It is seen up to the century. The painting technique of churches can be divided into two parts. Churches around Ihlara exhibit features known as "Cappadocia Type". Examples of these are: Eğritaş, Ağaçaltı, Kokar, Pürenliseki and Yılanlı Churches. The ones in the section of Belisırma are decorated with "Byzantine Type" paintings.