AKSARAY - Anatolia News Agency
The staircases down to the Ihlara Valley and churches will be reorganized. AA photo
Work has begun to renovate walking trails and conveniences for visitors in the Ihlara Valley in the central Anatolian province of Aksaray.
With the new renovation project, the staircases down to the valley and churches and the walking trails in the valley will be reorganized, Aksaray Culture and Tourism Deputy Director Mustafa Doğan said. The staircases will be rebuilt with weather-treated wood, and all of the area’s information signboards will be standardized. “Toilets and food concessions will also be built along the walking trail,” he said.
More comprehensive work was necessary in order to open the entire 14 kilometer-long Ihlara Valley to visitors, Doğan said. “We have asked that the Ihlara Valey be opened to [archaeological] excavation by a decision of the Cabinet,” he said.
The Ihlara Valley was one of the first areas settled by early Christians escaping from Roman persecution.
The valley features hundreds of churches carved into its volcanic rock caves. The best-known and most-visited churches of the Ihlara Valley are Ağaçaltı Church, Sümbüllü Church, Pürenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yılanlı Church, Karagedik Church, Kırkdamatlı Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church.