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» Ortahisar, Hallaç Manastır and Aynalı (Firkatan) Kilise «

Ortahisar is situated on the high plateau above Göreme and about 3km from Ürgüp. In the village centre a perforated rock rises about 90m into the sky. In the surroundings of the village there are many orchards and thanks to the special climate in the underground tuff stone cellars, the fruit keeps fresh for months. Large parts of Turkey are supplied with fruit during the winter months.

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Ortahisar's castle rock in the light of the setting sun.

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In the background you can see the snow-covered summit of the 3916m high volcano Erciyes Dağ . Its eruptions millions of years ago were partly responsible for the formation of the Cappadocian tuff landscape.

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Northeast of Ortahisar you find the so called Hallaç Manastır. In late Byzantine times this complex was probably the manor house of a large landowner. Half of the now open courtyard was covered at that time. More recently, the rooms were used as dovecotes and the entrance openings were colourfully decorated.

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Single images of the colourfully painted entrance openings to the pigeon lofts inside. They were used to produce guano to fertilize the fields.

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This private cross-domed church of the country estate appears weightless. As this is a hollowed out tuff rock, the missing columns do not affect the stability of the church. The heavily damaged fresco in the apse dates back to the 13th century.

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Right next to the church entrance you will find this burial chapel with red ornaments applied directly to the tuff.

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Detail pictures from the cross dome church and the burial chapel.

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A room with four columns in the corners and a figure on the left above the entrance that seems to jump into the room. Nowhere else in Cappadocia can such a figure be found.

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Long hall with barrel vault and thick columns. In contrast to the cross domed church, this room looks very heavy.

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Square adjoining room of the hall, with red ornaments and beautifully designed wall decoration.

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Single photos from the rooms.

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The Aynalı (Firkatan) Kilise can be found north of Ortahisar on the road to Göreme.

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When you enter this cave church, you are standing in a room with archaic painting. It is dated into the 8th/9th century.

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