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Goreme Open Air Museum

Goreme Open Air Museum: Rock Churches

Goreme Open Air Museum is a very special place and center of the monastic life in the Cappadocia region for thousands of years. The story of the Goreme Open Air Museum started in the 4th century during the earlier time of Christianity. Monastery life became dominant in the region when the St. Basil came to the Goreme Valley spread his teaching and to train students who were the Kayseri bishop at that time. Goreme Valley was also known as a Goreme Ruing remained a very center of education and training of Christianity belief until the 13th century. Cappadocia is not a place for just hot air balloon tour or fairy chimneys and rock houses. There are tons of things to discover at this unique region of Turkey where is hosting more than a million tourists every year.

Goreme Open Air Museum

Almost every rock block has its own story at the Goreme Open Air Museum. Because each of those rocks block come to shape to be a place for living, worshipping or production. Cappadocia region is a place where the holiness and art meets. Goreme Valley also is on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1985. If you come to the Cappadocia region you shouldn’t leave without visiting this incredible valley. Because within Goreme Valley there dozens of monasteries, churches, and chapels to see with various other carved rock buildings. Most of these buildings are the heritage of the St. Basil. When you visit these churches you will be amazed with their painting techniques, geometric patterns, and religious drawings. It is also possible to see the frescoes from the Prophet Jesus and the Bible after hundreds of years.

Where is The Goreme Open Air Museum?

Goreme Open Air Museum is located very between Goreme (2 km away) and Ortahisar (3 km away) settlement at Cappadocia. You can go to the museum both from Goreme and Ortahisar. You can take a taxi or walk to go there but I will write in a minute how to visit the museum which includes information about 1-day Cappadocia tours. If you come to the museum with your private car there is a big parking lot for visitors where you can drop your car.


Visiting Goreme Open Air Museum

Unfortunately, it not possible to buy a ticket for visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum in advance. But it is always possible to buy the ticket at the entrance of the museum. You can also buy tickets from your hotel or tour guides at any time. Also, you can buy Göreme: Small-Group Full-Day Cappadocia Red Tour tickets which include the visiting Goreme Open Air Museum.

Opening Hours Closing Hours
Summer Season (1st April to 1st October) 08:00 19:00
Winter Season (1st October to 1st April) 08:00 17:00

Places to Visit and See at Museum

There are a couple of very important places to visit the Goreme Open Air Museum. I will give detailed information for each one of them. Each of these places is very unique, historical and stunning. I’m strongly suggesting you not miss any of them before you leave from the museum.

Churches and rock carved building of Goreme Open Air Museum
Churches and rock-carved building of Goreme Open Air Museum (Source).

Goreme Open Air Museum Churches

This museum is combining during the centuries of different races, cultures, and languages under a roof which makes it a very important center for all humankind’s history. You will small and larges churches along the dining halls. These buildings are part of a very huge monastery complex. In total, there are 11 dining halls and churches where can be visited by the visitors. Also, there 18 more churches but it not possible to visit them due to collapsing risk. You will see an iron bar at the doors of these risky churches. You can find the list of churches, chapels, and monasteries  where is open to the visitors below;

  • Girls and Boys Monastery,
  • St. Basil Chaples
  • Elmali Church
  • St. Barbara Chapel,
  • St. Katerina Chapel
  • Snake Church
  • Dark Church
  • Carikli Church
  • Tokali Church
  • Girls Monastery

These churches can be separated into two groups based on their architecture and times; columned churches and snake churches. Columned churches have holistic murals (Dark, Elmali and Carikli Churches) and snake churches have an independent, no-story telling painting (Girls Monastery, The Serpentine Chruch, St. Barbara and St. Katherina Chapels).

Monastery of Monks and Nuns

When you enter the Goreme Open Air Museum you will see this magnificent rock carved building at your left. You can only visit the first two floors of this 7-floored Monastery of Monks and Nuns. Connections between the floors of the Monastery of Monks and Nuns were made by using tunnels like at the Kaymakli and Derinkuyu Underground Cities. You will see the dining hall and kitchen on the 1st floor while there is a ruined chapel on the 2nd floor. There is the church on the 3rd floor with three apses but it is closed to the visitors due to security issues. Also, there is a fresco which represents the Prophet Jesus directly carved over the rock and embroidered with red ornaments on both sides. Just in front of the Nuns Monastery, there is Monks Monastery where has 4 floors. Due to erosion, the connection between the floors collapsed or closed of Monks Monastery and only the entrance floor is open to the visitors.

St. Basil’s Chapel

Chapels are the resting places of the important figures in history with other couples of other small graves and tombs. St. Basil’s Chapel is located at the entrance of the muesum and it built around the 11th century for the St. Basil. There are a couple of graves of the important figure at the Narthex section where is separated from the main part of the church with columns.

If you ever visited Goreme Open Air Museum please share your thought and experiences to help others and improve this post. Also, please read other posts about the Cappadocia and Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour and Derinkuyu Underground City to maximize your Cappadocia experience.

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