At the end of the Valley of Ilhara We find the largest church in Cappadocia. It is carved out from the rock of a mountain that rises above the Valley and its dimensions are amazing. The paintings of thousand years, yet they can be seen and the landscape from the windows and balconies of the numerous rooms is memorable. A real maze that we can stroll as we imagine the curious life that its inhabitants took there.
Cappadocia was inhabited since the beginning of civilization; Hittite, Assyrians, Persians, Greek, Romans, Byzantines and Turks lived on in these lands of unique landscape. In the 8th century the enormous complex that occupies almost the entire inside of the mountain began at Selime. Early Christians sought refuge and protection offered them to rock and the elevation of the place. In fact, some guides call it the castle of Selime although the place was mostly a monastery. When we have to climb the steep access, We understand the hard work that was presented to those who want to attack that community. That assurance brought prosperity to Selime and the village still exists today.
When we got up we found three levels of rooms connected by corridors and caves, all dug into the soft rock that characterizes Cappadocia. In the lower part are dependencies of life of the inhabitants and the monks. Also there you will see the huge Cathedral. At the top are the defenses, with battlements and trenches that protected the defenders of the mountain.
Selime Cathedral is the largest church in Cappadocia. It has two rows of columns with arches that divide the space into three naves with rather damaged frescoes. The temple must have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary and therefore, the paintings depict the Annunciation, The Ascension and the Virgin Mary. In fact, in almost every room we found remains of frescoes, Although many of them are covered by successive layers of soot of bonfires.
If we travel with children, we should pay attention because the place is steep and has lots of stairs climbing to areas from which it is then difficult to get down. Neither there are protections in windows and viewpoints, what it allows us to admire the place as its inhabitants did but at the same time requires us to caution.
At the bottom of the mountain, next to the road, It is the cemetery with the tomb of Selime Sultan. It is a curious octagonal building with a conical dome but in fact never received the remains of a Sultan. It is the mausoleum of Alí Pashá, an important Seljuk Governor that reminds us of the arrival of the Turks in Anatolia precisely by Cappadocia, from where they were spreading at the expense of the Byzantines.
As long as we speak of Cappadocia, It should be recalled that the climate of this region is very extreme. It gets very hot in the summer months and snow is common during the winter.