The Mystical Fairy Chimneys of Turkey

STAR WARS 1977 was filmed here!

Our road trip through Turkey has taken us from the sandy beaches at the base of this beautiful country, through the mountains that are covered with snow.  You can read about it here.

We’ve just had a fabulous traditional Turkish lunch right opposite the most incredible area.

We are in Selime, Turkey, and it is situated 28 km from Aksaray,

Selime is a town that was established at the end of the Ihlara Valley.

And before us,  are …

… The Mystical Fairy Chimneys of Turkey

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – Star Wars was filmed here

Here are rock-cut churches here of which the most important is known as a Selime Cathedral.

We head on in – the tickets are 10TL ($5 AU) and give you access to two places, but it is late in the day now, so we won’t get to use the 2nd one. The Cathedral is where we head first.  It has been hollowed out of the rocks on a rather elevated site.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – Cathedral area

Explorason is racing around, and I get a bit nervous, as the whole reason these deserted monasteries, churches, houses etc are here, is because they were smart people. Why build out of a rock, when you can carve into rock? But the rock was easy to carve because it is soft, so it can crumble, and it can be slippery.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – an old monastery

Just as I say that he slips on the crumbling rock and falls down these stairs.

They are worn rock that is no longer real step shapes, and he falls down the last five.

We have tears, but thankfully no ripped skin or clothes.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – these stairs are lethal

This gorgeous Monastery was painted at the end of the 9 th century or beginning of the 10 th century AD.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – inside the cathedral

Check out these pillars below. It freaks me that they even hold!   Inside there are two rows of rock columns to the right in the Cathedral area. These columns divide the cathedral into three sections. The figurative frescoes of the largest religious edifice in Cappadocia, the 8 th century.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – dangerous erosion

And then there are the insides of the churches and monasteries that are decorated by carving into the rock.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – looking into the cathedral

These look very much like dinosaurs!

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – rock carving

There are some great slippery slide areas which kids love, and adults too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – heading down from the cathedral

I find I have to work carefully so I don’t damage my clothes, or slide down on my bum.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – this is more like an adventure playground

Here is the inside of one of the rooms.  They are pretty cool.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – looking in

We then head toward the carved church of the Virgin Mary. 

There is an old ladder and it doesn’t seem to strong to me, so we cancel this climb.

Opposite this area is a cemetery with Selime Sultan Turbe (Monumental Tomb).

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – people still live here

People still leave here, including a 97-year-old lady.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – Explorason makes friends with the roosters

We get to the Virgin Mary church, and head up and in.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – the famous Virgin Mary Church

Here is a close up of the entrance – you need a lighter or flashlight or a phone light app. to go in – it is dark.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – the entrance to Virgin Mary church

There are some great frescoes inside to discover too.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – painted frescoes

These used to be populated by Greeks. Here is proof.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – Greek Text

We feel like we are in an area from another planet or outer space.  And interestingly this is actually where the filming of the very first Star Wars movie was made in 1977.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – looking out over the valley

We finish with a look inside an old mosque.  It is rare for non-muslims to be allowed into a mosque, and I want to have a look.  It saddens me that this was once an area inhabited by Christians, but the faith here is no longer.

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Exploramum and Explorason – Selime Valley, Cappadocia – inside the old mosque

As we leave it gets dark.  We get directions to the main road. The GPS leads us astray and we go down back lonely roads in the dark.  We end up 30 km in the opposite direction to the left of the town we are meant to head to, so another 30 km back through small back dark roads with snow on the sides to get in the right direction.

Nearly 2 hours later we drive to the most stunning place – Taskonaklar Boutique Cave Hotel

Questions and Comments

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2 comments

  1. I am enjoying your adventures in Turkey. Turkey is a fascinating place. I was in Istanbul for 2 weeks last year but other than Prince’s Island did not see more of Turkey.

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