Cappadocia Zelve is the oldest settlement in Cappadocia Region. People lived in rock houses Until 1950 and then they moved to Zelve Village near Zelve Valley. Cappadocia which is one of the famous tourism centers of our country, has reached its unique appearance today by eroding the soft layers formed with the lava and ashes erupted by Erciyes, Hasandağı and Güllüdağ 60 million years ago. People have built rock-carved houses, churches and monasteries in Paleotic period.
It is said that Christianity first began to spread in Cappadocia Zelve Valley and its accuracy is accepted from the monastery and church ruins in the valley. The tunnels in Zelve valley are closed to visitors as they are destroyed and damaged over time. However, the tunnel entrances and the enchanting atmosphere in the surroundings attract the attention of tourists, and every year in summer and winter a big number of visitors come here to see.
Cappadocia Zelve has a unique geography that fascinates people with its magnificent scenery. It is one of the most touristy valleys of Cappadocia Region with its rock carved houses, tunnels and Open Air Museum.
Cappadocia Zelve Valley is reached through the road which is separated from the Avanos – Göreme road. After separating the road, you first reach Paşabağ Valley. This place is also known as the Valley of the Priests. We suggest you take a break to see the magnificent fairy chimneys here on your way to Zelve. Walking among the fairy chimneys, especially in the valley where the capped fairy chimneys are dense, creates the impression that you are in a fairy tale.
There is a mosque from the times when it was used as Cappadocia Zelve Village. It attracts attention with its minaret and architecture. There is a monastery opposite the mosque.
Cappadocia Zelve was built on the steep north slope of Aktepe. It is composed of three valleys. From the right of the big rock, you go to the first and second valleys. And third valley is at the left. There are roads closed with lanes, those roads are not used. However, there are other roads that reach all the valleys. Although the interior of the monastery is closed for sightseeing, there are hollow rooms and tunnels in the round section of the monastery. To see some parts of the monastery, it is necessary to climb into the rock cavities. The tunnel is used to pass to the second valley and it is a very pleasant walk.
In the second valley of Cappadocia Zelve, living places and kitchens attract attention. Also, the entrances of the carved caves were closed with stones and a loft was created. There is one church and one mill in the third valley, which has been used as a village.
Cappadocia Zelve Open Air Museum
Until 1950, Christians and Muslims lived together in Cappadocia Zelve. Later, the public moved to Zelve Village 2 km away and the Valley was converted into an open-air museum in 1967. There is a maze way. There are frescoes, animal and human figures, as well as geometric shapes in the caves.
The museum which is located in the Zelve Valley is 6 km away from Avanos and 1 km from the Pasabaglar. This museum is spread over three valleys. There are two walking tracks, one is long and other is short. The short track is 170 meters and the long track is 250 meters. The workmanship on the rock-carved houses attracts attention. Fine workmanship on the windows and doors of the houses, rock carved tunnels connecting the houses attract the attention of tourists. The museum hosts concerts and events from time to time.
Fish Church, Grape Church and Geyikli Church in the Cappadocia Zelve Open Air Museum are worth seeing. There is the depiction of Mary sitting on the throne with the child Jesus on her lap at the door of the Grape and Fish Church. In the vault part, depictions of Angels Michael and Gabriel carrying the cross draw attention. In the apse of the church which has a single nave south chapel, there is the depiction of Jesus in the red frame. The vault contains the Makta Cross and nested circles. Fresco of the 8th and 9th centuries have survived until today, in a well preserved state. There is also a mosque inside the museum. Pigeons carved along the slope of the valley attract attention.
Cappadocia Zelve is one of the rare places where you can see hundreds of fairy chimneys with pointed and wide bodies together. Therefore, it is one of the most popular Cappadocian valleys. It is an ideal place especially for adventure lovers. Climbing through the tunnels which are connecting the two valleys, although difficult but is not impossible for adventure lovers.
The museum is open every day of the week. It can be visited between 08:00 and 19:00 in the summer months and between 08:00 and 17:00 in the winter months. Entrance to the museum is paid, and a museum card is valid.
You can also click Cappadocia Classic Car Tour