September 29, 2016
The Ihlara Valley sits near Mount Hasan and Mount Melendiz, two of the three volcanoes of Cappadocia. The valley is a canyon about 300 feet deep, and was formed by the Melendiz River.
Due the valley’s plentiful supply of water and hidden places, this was the first settlement of the first Christians escaping from Roman soldiers. It is believed that the valley housed more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred Byzantine period cave churches decorated with frescoes. Around eighty thousand people once lived in Ihlara Valley.
Of the one hundred churches only 10 are available to visit today. We stopped in just a few to enjoy the frescoes.
The valley is 9 miles long, but it is set up for shorter walks, with tea houses interspersed for resting and just enjoying this stunning river walk.
The walk is peppered with lovely little wood bridges that cross back and forth across the river.
There are 4 entrances to Ihlara valley. The first one is at the start of the valley in Ihlara Village. The second one starts about 2.5 miles up the valley and is the most popular with its 300 steps down to the valley. The third entrance is at Belisirma village, is easily accessible by car and is located in the middle of the valley. The last is at the end of the valley near the Selime Church.
Our walk began at the 2nd entrance and we ended at Belisirma Valley. The walk is truly beautiful, the park is very well maintained with trash bins everywhere and the evidence that someone sweeps the trail several times a day.
This, as most tourists areas around the world require an entrance fee. I suggest you purchase an all Turkey Museum pass on your first day. They sell for 45 TL and are good for 72 hours and as many entries as you can accomplish in that period of time.