Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goreme, Cappadocia

This must be the weirdest place in the world. Here the weather has caused the rocks to be turned into cone shaped structures and it being soft tufa, caves can be carved into it and become a dwelling. Cave dwelling is nothing new, people all over the world has lived in caves and some still do. There are troglodyte dwellings in France, China and Southern Italy. People in Matera in Southern Italy has and still live in caves. All over the area that is called Cappadocia there are numerous cave houses and what's so special about them, there was a time when hermits lived here. The hermits lived high in these cone shape structures, then came communities of monks and they began to build bigger structures inside these rocks. They began to build hermitages and churches. Then they began to paint these rock cut churches with beautiful frescoes and some of these have remained after at least one thousand years. There are so many of them, no one knows how many. A lot of been destroyed by the weather and others are still being discovered. The question is who were the builders and painters of these rock cut churches? There are no written records and explorers over the last century has posed this question and have not come up with an answer, just a lot of conjecturing. Nonetheless, it doesn't take away the beauty of this place, whether there are answers or not. Whoever they were, has left us with an incredible record of Byzantine art of a thousand years ago.
We spent 3 whole days, climbing, crawling and hiking here but still only explored a very small area of this vast place called Cappadocia that is even mentioned in the New Testament. We will be spending considerable time here in this blog. There is so much to cover but alas I could only scratch the surface on this trip. I plan to return in June 2011.

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