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Ihlara Valley

The Ihlara valley, 25 km south-east of Aksaray, is a canyon 14 km long and 100 m -120 m deep,possessing a wild natural beauty. In the past it was called Peristremma Valley. İt became famous  more as a religous centre then a settlement. The oldest information about this valley has been obtained through a letter dated 374 AD  written by Bishop Gregorius of Nazian. The geological formations in the Ihlara Valley make the area suitable as a place of refuge, and it therefore become an ideal place of seclusion and worship for monks and prests. All the settlements of the valley are small villages. These are the Belisirma , Ihlara, Selime and Yaprakhisar villages. An inscription found on a fresco within the Kirkdamalti Church in Belisirma, writes that settlements within  the valley continued to exist until the end of the 13th century. The churches and monasteries of this valley have been carved into soft tufa rocks. The only exception is the Karagedik Chruch, which was built with hewn stones.

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