Monastery Valley


The 4.5km Monastery Valley is full of rock-cut churches and dwellings cut into the cliff walls. Exploring it makes for a scenic stroll. From Güzelyurt's main square, take the signposted right-hand turn and follow the street down about 400m to the ticket booth.

Beside the ticket office is Güzelyurt Underground City. The complex is great for adventurous travellers – covering several levels and including a section where you descend to the next level through a hole in the floor.

The impressive facade of the Büyük Kilise Cami is the first major building after the ticket office. Built as the Church of St Gregory of Nazianzus in AD 385, it was restored in 1835 and turned into a mosque following the population exchange in 1924. St Gregory (330–90) grew up locally and became a theologian, patriarch and one of the four Fathers of the Greek Church. Check out the wooden sermon desk that was reputedly a gift from a Russian tsar.

Opposite the Büyük Kilise Cami, a set of stairs leads up to the tranquil Sivişli Kilisesi, with damaged but still colourful frescoes decorating the apse and domed ceiling. There are fantastic views over Güzelyurt if you climb up to the ridge from here.

Some 2km after the ticket office you enter a gorge hemmed in by high cliffs. The Kalburlu Kilisesi with its superb chiselled entrance is the first rock-outcrop building in the group. Almost adjoining it is the Kömürlü Kilisesi, which has carvings including an elaborate lintel above the entrance and some Maltese crosses.

In winter last tickets are sold at 5.30pm.

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1. Güzelyurt Underground City

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Entry into this underground city is beside the Monastery Valley ticket office. The restored complex ranges across several levels and includes one hair…

2. Büyük Kilise Cami

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Just after the Monastery Valley ticket office, you come to the large Büyük Kilise Cami (Mosque of the Great Church), which began life as the Church of St…

3. Sivişli Kilisesi

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This small church is opposite the Büyük Kilise Cami in Monastery Valley. Head up the stairs to see the colourful, damaged frescoes decorating the apse and…

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A stroll of about 2km from the Monastery Valley ticket office takes you to a gorge bordered by high cliffs. The first rock-cut building you see here is…

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This church is next door to the Kalburlu Kilisesi in Monastery Valley. Note the entrance with its finely carved lintel and Maltese crosses.

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This church has some fabulous frescoes – the Nativity and the Crucifixion for starters – dating from the 9th and 11th centuries.