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Zelve Open Air Museum and Zelve Valley: The Mysterious Corner of Cappadocia

Zelve Valley, one of the famous valleys of Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and underground cities, fascinates visitors with its historical and natural beauties. Zelve Open Air Museum, located in this valley, is an ideal place to learn about the rock-carved churches, monasteries and houses of Cappadocia.



History of Zelve Valley:

Zelve Valley was an important religious center in the first centuries of Christianity. The churches and monasteries carved into the rocky slopes of the valley bear the traces of this period. Zelve Valley, where Christians lived from the 4th century to the 19th century, had a cosmopolitan atmosphere with the settlement of the Muslim population in the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, people living in the valley migrated to Nevşehir and Zelve Valley became an almost abandoned place.


Zelve Open Air Museum:

Zelve Open Air Museum, which was opened to visitors as a museum in 1969, protects the rock houses, churches and monasteries in the valley. In the museum, the frescoes, columns and apse of the churches carved into the rocks by Christians can be seen. In addition, the kitchens, rooms and stables of the rock houses have been made open to visitors. The museum also has a museum building that provides information about the history and culture of the Zelve Valley.


Places to See in Zelve Open Air Museum:


  • Üzümlü Church: It is a church dating from the 9th century. There are frescoes decorated with grape motifs in the church.

  • Balıklı Church: It is a church dating from the 12th century. There are frescoes decorated with fish motifs and a fish pond in the church.

  • Geyikli Church: It is a church dating from the 13th century. There are frescoes decorated with deer motifs in the church.

  • Pasha Mansion: It is a mansion from the 19th century. In the mansion, the rooms and kitchen where Zelve's former managers lived can be seen.

  • Zelve Open Air Museum Museum: It is a museum that provides information about the history and culture of the Zelve Valley.


How to Reach Zelve Valley?


Zelve Valley is 15 kilometers away from Nevşehir city center. You can reach the valley by minibus or taxi. Additionally, most of the tours organized in Cappadocia also stop by Zelve Valley.


What to do in Zelve Valley?

In Zelve Valley, you can visit the museum and explore the rock-carved churches and monasteries. You can also take a walk in the valley, have a picnic and enjoy the view.


Before Visiting Zelve Valley:

  • The best time to visit Zelve Valley is spring and autumn. The weather can be quite hot during the summer months.

  • It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes and have water with you.

  • The entrance fee to the museum is 60 TL.

  • The museum is closed on Mondays.


Zelve Valley and Zelve Open Air Museum are one of the most important historical and touristic places in Cappadocia. By visiting this unique region, you can experience the mysterious and magical atmosphere of Cappadocia.

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