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Zelve Open-Air Museum

Zelve (Pasabap)  center of the Fairy Chimmeys


Life in the Zelve Valley, which was one of the important settlements in the region from the fourth until the thirteenth ceturies, continued until 1952. It is generally acknowledged that the variety of large, small, conical, pyramid-shaped, pointed or blunt fairy chimneys in Zelve are the most beautiful in the region. Zelve presents a Picture of abandonment of a village that stil existed until a short time ago, with a Seljuk-type mosque and adjacent homes carved from the rock, some of which stil resist the ravages of time.

Although their frescoes are in a very decrepit state, the churches of Balıklı, Üzümlü and Geyikli are the important ecclesiastical structures that are stil standing in this valley. Balıklı Kilise is dedicated to the Syrian Saint Simeon Stylites who spent a large part of his life as a hermit atop a column. It is said that during the fifth century, the Hermit Simeon spent his life of seclusion in the Paşabağ’s forest of fairy chimneys, i a tiny cell at the very top of one of these natural wonders with three crowns. On the walls of Balıklı Kilise one can also see saints, young Daniel among the lions and the youth thrown into the furnace, and on the ceiling, Constantine(holding a cross in his hands ) and Helena and the prophets David and Solomon.

Zelve Open-Air Museum