Ihlara valley - Cappadocia / Turkey

Ihlara Valley

It was one of the important caravansaries of the time when the historic Silk Road passed across Cappadocia and caravansaries were built on the main trade road. According to the inscriptions, it was built between 1236 and 1240, during the reign of Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev II and served as a castle during wartimes and as a caravansary for commercial purposes and accommodation during peacetime.

According to a wanderer’s account, Ihlara Valley, 35 km from Aksaray, is “The valley of the wildest romance in Anatolia”. The 15-kilometer-long valley which is also a canyon, is 60-70 m deep at some points. The magnificent natural formation, which the Melendiz Stream runs through, has natural and historical beauties. It stretches from the village of Ihlara to Yaprakhisar.

In the valley are the traces of different settlements surviving since the Byzantine era. There are many monasteries and churches in the valley. The Majority of the rock-cut churches date back to the 11th century and are known for their architecture and frescoes. But very few of them are in good condition and open to visit.

The valley, once a place to escape and live in seclusion for the Christians, later became a Turkish settlement. Because the valley has a micro conditional climate, a variety of produce can be yielded; and many species of animals can live here. It is an ideal place for cultural excursions and trekking.