Zelve was the name of a village in the valley of Zelve, inhabited until the 1950s. For its high possibilities of collapse, the population of this settlement was moved to what have been called Yeni Zelve (New Zelve) and the former village is kept like an Open-Air Museum, with three canyons intersecting at the entrance.

Open- Air Museum

To the first canyon, you can access to the right by a path between the other two, through the Geyikli Kilise (the Church of the Deer), with paintings of a cross, fishes and deer. Particularly, fish paintings are very common in Cappadocia, and symbolize the faithful (called pisiculis), who became members of the church being baptized in the pool (L-shaped pond). The acrostic for the Greek word “Peces” (Fishes), formed the phrase Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. A cross in a circle with fishes on both sides, symbolizes the faithful who believed in Jesus Christ.

In the first canyon, to the left, there is a mosque, built from an old church. Towards the end of the canyon, two sides of rock embedded in a honeycomb of caves, houses, lofts, a monastery, storage rooms, chapels and tunnels that lead to the second canyon. It is recommended that visitors do not climb to the caves nor pass through tunnels.

The Uzumlu Kilise (Church of the grapes) and a living room with storage compartments and stone wheels to grind the beans are in the third canyon. Here, the grape juice is represented as the blood of Christ.

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