12 February 2011

Capadoccia 6

Posted by Callan Bentley

I’ve got two more batches of Capadoccia photos for you. Sorry if you feel bored with this continuing series — but I think it was not only my favorite part of Turkey (and geomorphologically interesting) but photogenic too…

So on our final day in Capadoccia, Lily and I took a hike up another valley.

We stopped along the way at this hoodoo church which has been preserved (i.e. the interior paintings have been prevented from vandalism). It was outside this museum that I noticed the flagstones full of trace fossils.

Wild-looking, eh? Like a Smurf house. This whole “fairy tower” was hollowed out during Byzantine times, and equipped as a Christian church. On the inside, it is decorated with religious paintings, reflecting the local theological preferences of the time.

Chapels and churches (and even some “cathedrals”) like this were common in Byzantine Capadoccia, but when Islam moved into the region, the vast majority were defaced, as Islam has a prohibition about depicting “living beings,” especially in sacred places. In most every Capadoccian chapel I visited, the faces of the saints and gods depicted were pecked apart, the paint layers blasted away (presumably with a rock), revealing the tuff beneath. This is one of the only “whole-faced” depictions of Jesus that I saw in the region:

After our churchly sojurn, we continued up the valley…

At one point, we saw a ladder leading up to a habitation about 20 feet (~6 m) above the valley floor, and climbed up to check it out.

The path led through another one of the stream-tunneled “underpasses” that I mentioned a few days ago, but this one had collapsed.

We found a way around the outside. Inside another, we could see thin fine-grained laminae near the upper part of the cut (lens cap at lower left for scale):

And elsewhere, very coarse-grained, clast supported deposits bearing cross-bedding. Must have been a stream here, though smaller than that gravel channel I pointed out earlier.

Again, a place where the path and the stream intersected — a surprisingly common vegetated oasis:

The further we hiked, the higher up we got, granting us some fine views back over the valley through which we had hiked:

Our thrilling conclusion comes tomorrow, when I reveal what we discovered up yonder canyon… Stay tuned.