old city of Avanos overlooks the longest river the Turkey,
the Kizilirmak (Red River). Located 18 km north of Nevsehir,
the ancient name of this city used to be Venessa. The most
famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant
and very visible today, is its production of earthenware
The 13th century Sarihan caravanserai and the Ottoman Aladdin
mosque are interesting pieces of architecture in the area.
In Avanos we also find interesting examples of housing architect
Avanos is known for the art of pottery by using
kick wheel since the Hittites. This craftsmenship has come
to this day by passing on from people to people and from
father to son. Soft and oily clay soil gathered from Avanos
mountains and old beds of Kızılırmak is sifted and is turned
into mud after a neat pugging. The desired pottery is created
by shaping the mud with some skill on a bench called kick
wheel and steered by using your feet. After the potteries,
which are created in workshops called işlik, are dried
first in the sun and then in the shadow, they are fired into
the ovens that burn with straw and chippings between 800
and 1200 degrees with great care.
Food dishes, water jugs, pots and jars for preserving food for
winter, water jars are some kinds of potteries. Avanos is known
as the The Craftsmenship and Shopping Center of Cappadocia.
- Historical Sites
On the banks of the Kizilirmak, near to
Avanos, a marble sarcophagus was afound in a Roman
necropolis. It is particularly interesting as it is the
first sarcophagus to have been found in the area. The sacrophagus
was discoverd in 1971, but unfortunately someone had already
opened the gable roof lid and stolen the contents. After
pathological and paleonthropological tests on the body
and sarcophagus it has been established that the body belonged
to a woman, whose hair was dyed with henna.
Also see (Whirling
Derviches Ceremony at Sarihan caravanserai)
county of Avanos lying by the Kızılırmak River is a center
attracting attention with a very important caravanserai and
two mosques. The structure is 2 km from Avanos, yet
its date can not be established since the inscription is
missing. The Sarıhan caravanserai consisting of a courtyard
and closed sections is a Seljuq work of fine masoary with
extraordinary rich ornamentation. Researches have indicated
that it was built during the reign of Sultan İzeddin Keykavus
II. This struc ture is based on 2.000 sqare metres and its
main door at the eastern side is an extending mass which
has been heavily ornamented. The facade and the sides have
compositions mainly of geometrical designs and the enterance
turning inwards with a large arch of two coloured keystones
shows a continuation of the same ornamentation with the niches
on the sides. Passing inside through the low arch which has
a richly decorated profile we come to the vaulted room over
which lies a small mosque.This small ached from interiors
through a strairway adjacent to and it has a cap which is
cylinderical at the ınside and outside, making a rising on
the general composition of the After the vault covered room
near the courtyard the main througha large door. The stables
arealso fully closed withrong arch placed on 16 supports.
Sarıhan is one of the outst works of Middle Anatolia with
heavily ornamented work entrances and its coloured stones.
mosque which is belived to be built by Alaeddin Keykub has
been altered by the many restorations in different perio
stone dome at the eastern side of the niche which is supported
es and it is belived that the vaulted section is an adition
by Mehmet in the l6th century. The mihrap and minber have
nal character since they were repaired and painted so many
tangular room at the north is reached through a passage
dome and it is quite a recent addition. The minaret at
the sout added in the year 1950.
Avanos Ulu Camii (mosque) which is also known as the
(Underground Mosque) is an Ottoman work from the l8th sructure
which has a rectangular plan is reached down from level
through a stairway. It is a stone structure covered with
a ported vault. The daylight enters through the four windows
wall as the niche and the whole interiors have been plastered
is a simple niche and the minber is in the form of a tribune
Avanos we find interesting examples of housing architect
monumental structures, such as the mansions of Dr.
Hacı Cafer Ağa. The region is also famous with its potteries.
The speried by the Kızılırmak river and the clay beds in
the envoirme place an ideal zone for ceramics. The mud
used in this wo from the locations of Gedik, Kurubayır,
Cinderesi, Kızılöz and turned into a very suitable material
for ceramics after vario The oily red mud takes its final
form in simple workshops.
These workshops are named "işlik" or "çanakhane" by
the loc and are vault covered simple rooms. The floors of
the shops are and there are 1-4 tools in each one. The tools
are placed near point which takes maximum daylight and are
caled "çıkrık".The mud begins to turn on the wheel
which is set into motion the artisan and in a few minutes
the plastic mass gains unbeli Tourists crowod around to see
what the artisan can make hands in a dim light.
The mud is kept in water to get the suitable
density, and the be produced is chosen according to the characteristics
whether it is soft, oily, hard, silted or etc. The various
material artisan to produce ceramics of different dimensions.
The fort from the wheels with care and left to dry on an
airy bank nam.After being painted and glazed they are placed
in ovens desired hardnessat 600 - 700 C. The paints as well
as the formı for various purposes. The traditional production
consists of post ,jugs and cooking utensiles ranging from
20 cm to 1.5 metres. They are fully func "gebece" and "yağdan" according
to the their general form and the form of their handles.
In the recent years artisans have been producing works for
the giftshops imitating ancient Hititian and Frigian forms.
There are presently 30-35 masters among the craftsman in
Formerly known as the MonksValley (Rahipler
Vadisi), Pasabaglari is situated about 2 km from Avanos .
Many fairy chimneys with multiple stems and caps some housing
chapels and living areas can be found here, this style being
unique to this area. A chapel dedicated to St.Simeon, and
a hermits shelter is built into one such fairy chimney with
three heads. The entrance of the cell, which can be reached
with antithetical crosses.
St.Simeon was living in seclusion near Aleppo
in the 5th century, when rumours that he worked miracles
started to spread. Disturbed by all the attention, he began
to live at the top of a 2m high column, and later moved to
one 15m in height. From there he only descended occasionally
to get the food and drink brought by his disciples.
The hermits of Cappadocia distanced themselves
from the world by cutting into fairy chimneys rather than
living on top of columns. They hollowed out the chimneys
from to to bottom creating rooms 10-15m high. THey lay on
beds made form rocak, fed by locals via bucketed ropes to
their lofty perches.
is situated on the northern slopes of Aktepe, 1km from Pasabaglari
(Monks Valley) and 4 km from Avanos. The ruins at
Zelve are spread over three valleys, which also house several
pointed fairy chimneys with large stems.
The three valleys in the Zelve region are a
paradise for the rock climbers. It takes at least two hours
for a good trekker to walk through these valleys, which also
house the oldest examples of Cappadocian architecture and
Like the ones in Uchisar, Goreme and Cavusin,
it is not known when the rock dwellings in Zelve were first
inhabited but it was an important settlement and religious
area during the 9th and 13th centuries. The first beminaries
to priests were given here.
The Direkli Churc (with Columns), situated
at the bottom of the slopes, dates back to the early years
of monastery life in Zelve. The main decorations are high
relief crosses belnging to the Iconoclastic doctrine. Some
of the most important churches in the valley are Balikli
(Fish), Uzumlu (Grape) and Geyikli (Deer), belonging to the
The valley was inhabited until 1952. Apart
from monastreies and churches, houses, a tunnel joining two
of the valleys, a mill, a mosque and several dove-cotes are
found in the valley.
Balikli and Uzumlu Churches
Balikli and Uzumlu Churches are situated to
the east of a monastery courtyard, in the third valley in
Zelve. Above the entrance of the Fish and the Grape Churches,
which has partly collapsed, is the depiction of Enthroned
Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus. On the partly collapsed vault
are Archangels Gabriel and Michael holding up a Maltese Cross.
To the right of the entrance is the single
naved, barrel vaulted cell-like South Chapel with an apse.
Inside the chapel, on the sides, there are seating platforms.
On the apse, in a red frame, is Jesus standing and holding
a book in one hand and blessing with the other. The front
of the apse is decorated with series of simple triangles
and circles with dots in them and the vault with drawn Maltese
Cross and concentric circles. The chapel probably dates back
to the 10th century.
The Tumulus of Çeç
The city of Nevşehir and its neighborhood is
very enriched and famous for tumulus tombs. Because of some
of them becoming too flat, it is very difficult to understand
if it is a tumulus or not. In case of this, some of them
are just like a second magnificent mountain bulk. There are
lots of small tumuli tombs in Ürgüp, Avanos and Özkonak.
In addition to these places, "Tumulus of Çeç" which
is in the 1 km west of Avanos is very famous in these
Between 1968-1969 archaeological excavation
was made in some of the small tombs in the area, and seen
that, all these tumuli are built in different times and some
of them are built from soil and the others from stones. And
all these show different cultures.
In addition to all these things, we can see
the tumulus of Çeç as the biggest tomb of Nevşehir but there
is also some uncertainty surrounding the tombs. Because nobody
knows when or who built this tomb. The diameter is 300 -
350 and it's height is 30 m, and because it's that magnificent,
it's very important to history.
It is too difficult to understand some historical
mysteries in this area. Because there is only one tomb as
measures and stone blocks. According to the people who live
around this place: "years ago there was a king... " and
as understanding it was built for a king. Even this tomb
is a subject to some stories and legends. It may be the tomb
of King Andros. . . looking at its dimension it's understood
so easy. But all the scientific evidences are different from
each other. It is said, these tombs were a place for religious
meetings or a meteorological station to search the sky's
movements, as well as being a kings tomb. When you look at
this tumulus of Çeç, it is understood that it was built for
an important man or thing and also that the death anniversary
was very important in those times.
of the oldest settlements in the area, Cavusin is sutiated 2
km from Avanos, on the road. The Church of St.John the
Baptist offers a panoramic view of the village. This church
and its paintigs date back to the 5th century, making the
oldest church in the region. It had a large courtyard which
is unusual for Cappadocia, this has been eroded away however.
Christian missionaries and communities once
lived in the old Cavusin valley, now in ruins. There are
5 churches at Gluludere, close to Cavusin. The Hacli Church
(with the Cross), near the valley, was also used for defence
against the Arab raiders.
Cavusin (Nicephorus Phocas) Church
The barrel vaulted Cavusin (Nicephorus Phocas)
Church, with one nave and three apses, is sutiated 2 km
from Avanos on the Avanos-Goreme road. Its narthex is
collapsed. The church was built around 964/965.
Scenes: On the vault are Annunciation, Visitation,
Proof of the Virgin, Flight into Egypt, Josephs Dream Ii,
Blessing and Mission of the Apostles, Adoration of the Magi,
Massacre of the Innocents, Pursuit of Elizabeth, Killing
of Zacharias; on the west wall are Entry into Jerusalem,
Raising of Lazarus, Healing of the Blind Man, Descent from
the Cross, Women at the Tomb; on the wall of the apse Transfiguraiton;
on the north apse Emperor Nicaphorus Phocas and his famill,
which held power and authority in Cappadocia.
Özkonak Underground City
Underground City Located 11 km northeast of Avanos,
this underground city was built on the northern slopes of
Mt. Idis in an area with lots of strata made up of volcanic
granite. The extensive galleries of the city are spread out
over a large area and connected to each another by tunnels.
Unlike the underground cities in Kaymakli and Derinkuyu,
there are very narrow (5 cm) and long holes between the different
levels of the city that used to provide communication between
the different levels of the city. The ventilation of these
neatly carved out rooms was provided by these holes when
the city was sealed up against enemies.