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Deer – Geyikli Church


I would like to introduce you to the Geyikli Kilise or Church with a Deer, an impressive historical and cultural site located in Cappadocia, Turkey. The church is located in the Soganli Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the most well-preserved churches in the region. The name of the church comes from an 11th-century fresco of Saint Eustace, a Christian martyr, who is shown with a deer, a symbol of the Christian faith.

The Geyikli Kilise is an ancient rock-cut church, which was originally built in the 10th century and later expanded in the 11th and 12th centuries. The church has been carved into the soft volcanic tuff, which is a common feature of the Cappadocia region, and is surrounded by a complex of monastic buildings, including a refectory and living quarters. The church is divided into three main sections, the narthex, nave, and apse, and has several frescoes depicting religious scenes and figures, including St. George, St. Theodore, and the Last Supper.

One of the most impressive features of the church is the refectory, a large communal dining hall that has been cut directly out of the rock. The room is supported by two pillars and has a large table and benches also carved out of the rock. The frescoes in the refectory depict scenes of daily life, including people harvesting crops and animals grazing in the fields.

Visitors can also see the rock-cut mosque, which is located on the left side of the valley, and features a beautiful minaret. The mosque was built during the Ottoman period when the area was inhabited by Muslim families. The Geyikli Kilise and the rock-cut mosque are an excellent example of the cultural diversity and religious tolerance that has been a hallmark of the Cappadocian region for centuries.

The Soganli Valley, where the Geyikli Kilise is located, is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, surrounded by stunning rock formations and lush vegetation. The valley is also home to several other rock-cut churches and monasteries, including the Karabas Kilise and the Yilanli Kilise. Visitors can hike through the valley and explore these fascinating sites, although some areas may be closed due to erosion and the risk of collapse.

To access the Geyikli Kilise, visitors must follow a steep and winding path that leads down into the valley. The path can be challenging for some visitors, but the views from the church and the surrounding area are well worth the effort. Visitors should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and sun protection, as the area can be quite hot during the summer months.

In conclusion, the Geyikli Kilise or Church with a Deer is a fascinating and unique historical and cultural site that offers visitors a glimpse into the rich and diverse history of the Cappadocian region. Its impressive rock-cut architecture, beautiful frescoes, and stunning location make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Turkey.

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