Admire the colorful frescoes on the walls of the churches carved into the rocky terrain and learn about Turkey’s Byzantine past.
The exceptional Göreme Open Air Museum is home to a number of churches carved into the rocks by medieval Christian monks. Explore the historic site on foot to see intriguing frescos from 1,000 years ago and learn about the Byzantine people who created them. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the main draw of the Cappadocia region due to its awe-inspiring views, diverse terrain and sculpted spiritual homes.
Upon arrival, sign up for a group tour of the outdoor museum. Look around the mysterious churches that are carved into the rocky terrain. The Karanlik Kilise (Dark Church) is considered the museum’s highlight due to its well-preserved frescoes. See the Nunnery, which contains a church, dining hall, kitchen and many other rooms across seven stories.
Practice your camera skills on some of the extraordinary caves dotted around the museum. Learn about the fascinating history of the caves and the monks who once inhabited them. At one point, shepherd boys destroyed many of the frescoes because they were taught that images were sinful. The churches date back as far as the 10th century.
Admire the murals that remain intact, portraying a blend of biblical and fanciful scenes, including saints slaying dragons.
At the end of your tour, make sure to visit Tokali Church, which is included in your ticket. The church is hidden at the bottom of a hill between the museum and the town of Göreme. Visit the underground chapel and follow the narrative of frescoes.
Remember to bring enough water for your tour in the scorching afternoon sun. Visit in the morning or late afternoon in order to avoid much of the heat. The museum opens daily from morning until early evening and has a relatively small admission fee. The Karanlik Kilise requires an additional charge.
Find the Göreme Open Air Museum in the center of the Cappadocia area, just 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Göreme. Many hotels and restaurants surround the relatively built-up part of the historical region.