- This is the interior of another church cut into the bare rock. There are, very roughly speaking, two types of churches in Cappadocia: those with simple, monochrome ornaments (mostly executed in red), just like the one shown. These were decorated during a phase when almost all pictorial representation was deemed to be a work of the hoofed one. The other type is the Technicolor version of which examples follow further down.
- The following picture requires a few words. We have been more than once in Cappadocia and in one of the villages, there lives an elderly man whom we befriended. He is a native of the region and he likes wandering around the landscapes of Cappadocia as much as we do. Naturally, he gave us many hints and a few hand-drawn maps: we owe Ali quite a few nice, long walks. One day, he asked us whether we would like to accompany him on a walk. Why not? Well, it turned out that he had the strange idea (never mind, Ali has many strange ideas) to do this walk in broad moonlight, right in the middle of the night. It was indeed full moon season and Ali told us that he who has never walked the Cappadocian valleys with a full moon over his shoulder has never truly walked the Cappadocian valleys.
- Long story short, we couldn't resist that idea (and the challenge it presented). We met at midnight (his rucksack full with ripe grapefruits which we duly polished off along the way) and then we walked through the valleys for about four hours. Although we already knew the lie of the land it was a mesmerising, not at all easy-to-describe experience. At one point, Ali ordered Vero to wait and beckoned me to a small hole in the rock where he disappeared. I followed, everything pitch-black of course, and after a few steps up and through a tunnel, I could feel that we had entered a bigger room. Well, it was the anteroom of a pretty big rock church. It turned out that Ali had packed not only grapefruits in his backpack but also some forty small candles. So, while Vero waited outside, admired the moon and the landscape (and wondered what we might be doing in that black hole) we were busy putting up and lighting the candles. When everything was finished I crawled down again and brought her, blindfolded, into the church. This picture shows a small part of what she saw when she opened her eyes.
- Yet another church interior. The holes in the floor have been graves; some still contain parts of the stone sarcophagi once in there.
- This is one of the aforementioned Technicolor churches. It may look like a fresco but you should remember that all this was painted onto the bare rock out of which the church was cut. This painting is about a thousand years old.
- Whereas this one is at least two or three-hundred years older.
- More Technicolor: this is Jesus Pantocrator with Mary to his right and John the Baptist to his left.
- Stylistically, the paintings in Cappadocia show similarities with the paintings we saw in the barn churches of Cyprus. Many were produced during the same periods and executed by artists brought up in the Byzantine Empire with its traditions of mosaics and painting.
- This angel clearly doesn't like what he sees (possibly it's the many lightly-clad Russian ladies who, from their bases on the coast, pay short visits to Cappadocia…)
- Only one more page to go :-)
$updated from: Turkey 4.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$