Zelve Monastery

Zelve Monastery was carved into the rock in pre-Iconoclastic times. The remains of the Zelve monastery complex is located on the northern slopes of Aktepe, 1km from Paşa Bağlari and 10 km out from Göreme on the Avanos road. Zelve does not have the rich frescoes of Göreme and other Cappodocian locations. Spread out over three valleys, of which two are connected by a tunnel, the monastery is still rich in its own beauty. The valleys can provide you with plenty of hiking and exploring. The complex contains innumerable rooms and passages which also house many pointed fairy chimneys with large stems, at about 40 feet above the valley floor.

Zelve, though recently uninhabited, was an important settlement and religious area during the 9th and 13th centuries. The Christians moved to Zelve during the Persian and Arab invasions.

Cappodocia's first seminaries to train priests are located here at the monastery. Dating back to the early years of monastery life in Zelve is the Direkli Church (with the Columns). Direkli is located at the bottom of the slope. The main decorations are Iconoclastic-doctrine high relief crosses. The valley also contains the Balikli Kilise (Fish), Üzümlü Kilise (Grapes) churches and the now totally collapsed Geyikli Kilise (Deer church). These churches date to the Pre-Iconoclastic period.

The area was inhabited until 1952, when the last inhabitants moved to the new town Yeni Zelve, 2 km away. In 1967 Zelve was turned into an open-air museum.

The area also contains houses, a tunnel joining two of the valleys, a mill (without sails), and a small mosque. Several dovecotes are found in the valley.

The town Avanos is famous for its colourful earthenware pots. Numerous workshops allow visitors to watch how they are made. The material used for the pottery is the red clay from the Kýzýlýrmak River, known as the longest river of Turkey.

ee also

*Sumela Monastry
*Last House of the Virgin Mary
*Monastery of Mardin
*Kaymaklı Monastery
*Kaymaklı Underground City
*Derinkuyu Underground City
*Underground cities in Avanos
*Kuştul Monastery


* [http://www.cappadociaonline.com/zelve.html Zelve Info]
* [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/357 UNESCO site]
* [http://www.ephesusmeeting.com/other_bib_sites_cappodocia.asp Church descriptions]
* [http://www.maxiturkey.com/wiki/Biblical_Places Covers biblical historic areas in Turkey]

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