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  • Ethem Zagikyan

Belisırma Village: A Corner Where History and Green Meet

There is a small village in the heart of Ihlara Valley, on the edge of the Melendiz Stream: Belisırma. It is an ideal stopping point to relax with the sound of flowing water among the greenery and try delicious local tastes. The village, known by the ancient Greek residents as "peristirema" meaning "pleasant view", began to be called Belisırma with its Turkish pronunciation over time. The village, which attracts the attention of thousands of tourists every year, has unfortunately shrunk due to migration and has been buried in the silence of Melendiz.

The history of Belisırma Village dates back to before the Seljuks. Evidence that the first Christians lived in the caves formed in the valley as the lava spewed by Hasandağ cooled is evident from a fresco in the Kırkdamaltı Church. The Seljuk ambassador is depicted in this fresco and it is stated that the first Christians during the Seljuk period were able to perform their religious duties comfortably.

Although the settlement of the village spread to flat areas over time, the old Greek houses are still standing. Restaurants are run in some of these houses and the historical atmosphere of Belisırma is offered to visitors. 7 of the 14 churches of Ihlara Valley that are open to visitors are located in Belisırma Village. You can easily reach these churches with short walks.

Churches to See in Belisırma Village:

  • Direkli Church: A monastery church built between the 11th and 13th centuries. Its architecture is in the shape of a Greek cross and consists of a dome and three apses. It is called "Pole Church" because the central dome is placed on 6 pillars. There are frescoes and Latin inscriptions in the church.

  • Bahattin Samanlığı Church: A single-nave, single-apse church built in the 10th or 11th century. It took its name from the fact that a villager named Bahattin living in Belisırma used the church as a haystack. There are frescoes and cells in the church.

  • Kırkdamaltı Church (St. Georgios Church): A church built between 1283-1295. It is the church overlooking the region from the top. The construction of the church was commissioned by Seljuk Sultan II. It is thought that Mesut was led by a Christian commander in his army and his wife. In the church II. There are depictions of Mesut, frescoes and tombs.

  • Batkın Church (Açıkel Ağa Church): A church dating from the 8th century. Although its frescoes have been destroyed, it is thought to be a place where monks worshiped.

  • Ala Church: A church built in the early periods of Christianity. Its exterior has been smoothed and has a cross-shaped architecture. There are frescoes and domes in the church.

  • Bezirhane Church: A church built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It was used as a linseed oil mill in the Islamic period. Although its frescoes have been destroyed, its ceiling is flat and it has a single corridor and apse.

  • Karagedik Church (Saint Ermolaos Church): A church built with stones and reminiscent of Late Byzantine architecture. 10-11. It dates back centuries. Although the frescoes have been destroyed, some motifs, such as the martyrdom of Saint George, can still be seen.

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