valley is situated 40km from Aksaray and can be reached
making a turn at the 11th km of the Aksaray-Nevsehir road.
The canyon was created by the cracking and collapsing which
occurred as a result of basalt and andesite lava from Mt.
Hasandags eruption. The Melendiz river found its way
through these cracks, eroding the canyon bed and helping to
form canyon we see today. The Melendiz river used to be
called "Potamus Kapadukus"meaning the River of Cappadocia.
14km long, 100 -150m high valley begins at Ihlara and ends
at Selime. There are numerous dwellings, churches and graves
built into the valley walls, some of which are connected by
tunnels and corridors.
The valley proved to be an ideal place for the seclusion and
worship of monks, and a hideaway and defense area for people
during times of invasion.
The decorations in the churches can be dated to various
times from the 6th to the 13th centuries, and the churches
can be classified into two groups. The churches near to
Ihlara display frescoes with oriental influence. Those
nearer to Belisirma display Byzantine type decorations.
Very few Byzantine inscriptions in this area can be read.
Above a 13th century fresco in the church of St. George (Kirkdamatl),
the names of Seljuk Sultan Mesud II (1282 - 1305) and the
Byzantine Emperor Andronicos II are inscribed. This is
proof of the tolerance of the Seljuk rulers. The best
preserved frescos are to be found in the churches of
Agacalti, Purenliseki, Kokar, Yilanli and Kirkdamatli.