Pictures & Images of Zelve Cave Monastery, Cappadocia, Turkey - { 57 images } Created 13 Feb 2019

(updated 2021)
Pictures images photos of Zelve Cave Monastery complex, 7th century, Goreme National Park, Cappadocia, Nevsehir, Turkey. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cappadocia was home to Christians since St Paul visited the region to preach the Gospels in the 1st century AD. The most famous Christian of the area were the 4th century Cappadocian Fathers who were Saint Basil, his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa & Gregory of Nazianzus all of who became important religious leaders of the Orthodox church. Zelve monastery complex is a series of interconnected cave churches and room that are cut into the soft volcanic rocks of a remote valley in the Goreme National Park. The landscape is typical of this part of Cappadoccia with fairy chimney rock formations. Zelve if typical of the Cappadocian monasteries of the iconoclastic period (725-842). The frescoes that decorate its churches are kept a strict minimum of symbols most often with simple sculpted or tempera painted crosses. The ban on depicting religious images at the time Zelve wad founded prohibited anything more than simple geometric patterns. There are depictions of Christ Pantocrator in the apse of one of the churches, but this comes from a later period when the ban was lifted. The Zelve valley was a monastic retreat between the 9th and 13th centuries for Christians during the Persian and Arab invasions. The cave houses at Zelve were inhabited until 1952, when the last inhabitants moved to the new town Yeni Zelve 2 km away. Today Zelve is an an open-air museum.

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