Historical Cappadocia Tour
This tour takes you to the Western Cappadocia where you can see the famous Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley and Selime Monastery. It is called the Green tour mostly because of beautiful greenery of the Ihlara Valley which is the most fertile valley in all of Cappadocia.
Derinkuyu Underground City used to be known as Melagobia, Derinkuyu was one of the biggest settlements in Cappadocia and its 8 level underground city is the deepest of the region today. Scientists believe that the earliest dwellers of this city were the Hittites. And later it was expanded during the Arab-Byzantine wars. There are deep wells, air shafts, barns, kitchens, personal rooms and even a church there.
Ihlara Valley near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz (two of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia) is a canyon with a depth of approximately 100m and was formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago. It begins at Ihlara village and ends with Selime Monastery at Selime village after making 26 bends along 14 kilometers.
It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around eighty thousand people once lived in Ihlara Valley.
Belisirma is a little village located in Cappadocia on the Melendiz River down the Ilhara Vallley near Urgup, Turkey. The most important specialty of this village of Güzelyurt County of Aksaray Province is that it is actually established in the Ihlara Valley. Basicly the Belisirma Village was established on the slopes of the valley, on the right side of the Melendiz brook which flows through the valley.
It has been indicated in the historical resources that the name “Belisırma” is derived from the Greek word “Peristrema”. Even though this area is not as large as the city center of Güzelyurt or town of Ihlara, Greeks intensively settled in this village.
Belisirma village is located in the middle of the trekking path continuing across Ihlara Valley, the trekkers who walk up to here are able to leave the valley through the road coming all the way down to the valley.
Selime monastery is the biggest religious building in Cappadocia with a cathedral-size church. Inside the cathedral there are two rows of rock columns. These columns divide the cathedral into three sections. The size of the church is astonishing. The columns and arches of the church, cut directly from the tuff within the Selime monastery, still bear the tell-tale markings of various generations that once occupied it. Rudimentary icons from the early days can be seen more clearly, but detailed frescoes, painted later, are barely visible under the years of soot that covers the surfaces from when the Turks used the room for cooking.
The monastery also contains monks’ quarters, a large kitchen and even a stable for mules. The walls of the chambers were at one time adorned with frescoes but little of these remain. From the road there is a short but challenging climb up a steep and slippery hill to the monastery. On the way up to the monastery, first you go through a tunnel-like corridor, which was part of the caravan path on which camels walked.The camel caravans came to Selime for a stopover as there was a large bazaar there, and for protection, camels were led to the central part of the monastery.