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Writer: Ayça Olcaytu İşçen
August 2009

If you take the 2 km road (to right) from Ortahisar junction on Ürgüp-Nevşehir road instead of the one to the direction of town, it will take you to the landscape terrace of Kızılçukur Valley. Watching the pink, grey, greenish yellow and with fairy chimneys, badlands and reefs from the terrace gives a great joy but the terrace is especially famous with the sunset. However we are interested in taking the pathway split from here and exploring the trekking routes decorated with the churches, vine yards and dovecotes. In the morning of May 27, 2009 we took one of the pathways and took photos of Kızılçukur Valley for you.
Before starting our route, we left our car in the parking area on the landscape terrace. In order to use the parking area situated on the landscape terrace, on the left hand side of Boztepe (1325 m). We took down the pathway on the left to Üzümlü Church (approximately 250 m). On the wide area surrounded by fruit trees and vine yards where the Church is situated there is a place run by İbrahim Sakınan. In his very clean place, he serves to trekking groups traditional local food cooked on firewood. Since the portcullis of the Church is locked, one should ask for the key to İbrahim Sakınan who also keeps an eye on the Church.

Heaven with many valleys
There are three long valleys perpendicular to Meskendir Valley which goes along between Çavuşin Village and Ortahisar. These three, beginning from Çavuşin Village, named as Güllüdere II (approximately 1 km), Güllüdere I (approximately 1 km) and Kızılçukur (approximately 1,5 km). For the trekking starting from Çavuşin, the village of Avanos, reaching Kızılçukur Valley is possible via Meskendir Valley.
The first valley starting from about 2 km south of Çavuşin Village and extended in east-west direction is Güllüdere II valley. On the point where it approaches Boztepe the valley curves to connect to Güllüdere I valley. Güllüdere II and I valleys are special trekking courses, and they house many churches.
Our trekking route started from landscape terrace, down to Üzümlü Church and through Kızılçukur Valley (at the beginning of the pathway there is a sign board). From the sign board, we passed through various natural tunnels. It is necessary to write down a PS about one of the tunnels, 37 m length. Since the middle part of this tunnel is very dark, it is strongly recommended you to have a little torch with you. Furthermore, the tunnel ends on a high point and in order to reach base of the valley, the iron stairs, 7 and 10 m length, should be used. While climbing down from the first stairs, it will be safer to face yourself towards the stairs.
During our route, we also entered Güllüdere I Valley from the point where Kızılçukur Valley meets with Meskendir and Güllüdere I Valley and then we walked until Yovakim and Anna Church. This Church is also protected by a portcullis but in order to enter inside you need to apply to Nevşehir Museum. We took the same road back till the conjunction of the valleys and then we walked towards Çavuşin (from that point Çavuşin is approximately 2.25 km far away). After walking 6 km in order to reach our car, parked on landscape terrace, we asked help from village headman because there is no taxi in Çavuşin.

Üzümlü Church
It is located at the entrance of Kızılçukur Valley and 250 m inside from the road. You may reach by following the footpaths. Since on the inscription the name of Saint Nichitas was mentioned, the Church is also known as Saint Nichitas Church. It has a square plan with one apsis. It is thought that it can be a Monastery church. On the ceiling there is a crux figure in a rectangular frame made of tress motives and the crux is surrounded by grape figures. That’s why the Church was named as Üzümlü Church (Grape Church). On the two sides of the rectangular frame on the ceiling there are figures of apostles in scenery courses. On the front side of the apsis, the scene of Saint Simeon which reads the trial of the monk, can be seen. In the apsis, Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus together with Gabriel and Michael on her two sides can be seen as well.  The Church is one of the remarkable examples in Cappadocia with its frescos belongs to pre-iconoclast period.
Jesus Christ, illustrated as wearing a rope on the wall in front of the apse of the Church is also very interesting. There is cell on the upper part of the fairy chimney which the Church was carved. The Cell was used by Saint Nicholas for seclusion for many years. On the ceiling of the cell there is a carved big cross. In addition next to the Church there is a chapel and in front of it there is a small vine house.

Yovakim and Anna Church
As known, Yovakim and Anna shown at the scene of Mary’s birth at the frescoes of the church are father and mother of Mary. The name of the church comes from this case. Although it was painted before the Iconoclasm, it is one of rare churches of which frescoes reached today. This church is a group of buildings. There are small chapels on right and left sides of the main church. The left one is a grave chapel. This group of buildings is guessed once being a monastery.

Note: This article has been published in Peribacası Cappadocia Culture and Publicity Magazine, August 2009 issue. It is under protection of the copyrights of the magazine. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means without prior permission from the owner. www.cappadociaexplorer.com




Reading Reading: 3624 Eklenme Tarihi Date: 2010-01-06

Üzümlü Church
Üzümlü Church
Üzümlü Church
Üzümlü Church

Yovakim Anna Church
Yovakim Anna Church

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