The great attraction of Cappadocia's frescoes
NEVŞEHİR - Anadolu Agency
The life of Jesus and episodes from the Bible are depicted on the walls of churches in the Göreme Open Air Museum. AA photo
Göreme Mayor Nuri Cingil said the region welcomed 2.5 million tourists from Turkey and the world and the Göreme Open Air Museum was the most visited place. The museum, he said, was visited by 950,000 people a year, and ranked third among the most visited ancient sites in the country.
He said monastery life had existed in the area of the open air museum and the wall paintings in the churches were attractive for visitors.
Cingil said in the past, locals were lighting fires in the churches and that smudged the paintings on the wall. “The paintings were discovered during restorations and they still keep their liveliness even today.”
Cingil said the Göreme Open Air Museum, which was built by Kayseri pontiff St. Basil in the 4th century as a religious education and meditation center, included churches built within rocks, chapels, dining halls and sitting areas. Women’s and Men’s Monastery,
St. Basil Church, Elmalı Church, St. Barbara Church, Yılanlı Church, Karanlık Church, Çarıklı Church and Tokalı Church are in the museum, he said, and continued: “The churches in the open air museum are considered the places where the monastery education system was initiated. They were painted with two technics. In the first technic, the rock’s surface was improved and painted and in the second one, a water-based painting was used to make frescoes.”
Cingil said the life of Jesus and statements from the Bible were depicted in the churches. “Because the small window in the entrance of the Karanlık Church reflects very low light, the colors in the frescoes are vivid there. The church has a rich decorations, depicting stories from the Bible and images of Jesus,” he said.
Cingil said there were also scenes from the Old Testament of the Bible in other structures of the open air museum such as Elmalı and Çarıklı churches. “In the other churches, we see portraits Jesus, Mary and child, St. Theodore, St. George fighting a dragon and the depictions of respected saints in Cappadocia. Some churches’ walls have the cross and geometrical motifs made with red paint. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most popular place among visitors,” Cingil said. The Göreme Open Air Museum has been a member of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and was one of the first two UNESCO sites in Turkey.