Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goreme Open Air Museum

Cappadocia is best known for its 100+ square miles of "fairy chimneys," those unusual geological formations that, over the past two millennia or more, have been hollowed out to become churches, monasteries, residences, villages, even underground cities; and now, major big-time tourist attractions. Over the ages they served as refuges for Christians hiding from Romans, from Persians, from Muslims, et al. They are scattered all over the landscape, but there are 8 or 10 concentrations, the most famous of which is probably Goreme, and its Goreme Open Air Museum.
Another World Heritage Site















It is difficult to convey the scale of Goreme--it is several
acres but few distinct "buildings"; this photo show a small
bit of the complex

















Goreme was primarily a collection of abbeys
and nunneries and such; no residences, at
least in the village sense; here's Vicki sitting
at a stone refectory table that could seat 40






















Some of the chapels were done in very primitive ways;
iconoclasm

Of all Goreme's assorted chapels and churches, our
favorite was the Dark Church (no relation to the Dark Lord,
although it did have an addtional 8YTL entrance fee); here
the 10th and 11th century painting is impressive, even
defaced by the conquering Muslims (typically, they only
scraped away the eyes; later hordes of mostly Greek 
tourists, at other sites, would deface them completely with
their names and signatures) 






















More Dark Church















More ditto, with digital issues















Old guys rule




















Ceiling view
















One last scene















The Nunnery; now condemned, no entry




















Obligatory St. George/snake (sort of a dragon) in another
chapel
















In the Tokali Church, also 10th-11th, a shade of blue most
unusual for the time and place
















The Goreme museum is adjoined by the usual bazaar of
tourist shops, the most interesting of which was the wine
store; Cappadocian wines are respectable, if not yet great;
I am enjoying a pleasant red wine, lighter-bodied, fruity; the
whites I tasted varied but some, especially the Uchisar,
were very good indeed; what? your local wine store does not
carry Turkish wines?!

2 comments:

Tawana said...

The Dark Church was one of our favorite sites in all of Turkey...so beautiful and unexpected. We have a wonderful book from there as well as fabulous photos. I am certainly enjoying your posts and photos...and am as jealous as can be!

Mark said...

Tawana,

Thanks for writing. Blogger has changed its features a bit, but I will look into the font size issue. I understand. But wait. How can you do all that intricate sewing? You're obviously not a semi-blind as I am. But I will work on it. How is the documentation coming? Seriously.

Mark