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IHLARA VALLEY

The Ihlara Valley, 25 km South-east of Aksaray, is a canyon 14km long and 100m – 120m deep, possessing a wild natural beauty. In the past it was called Peristremma valley. It became famous more as a religious centre than 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 for refuge, and it therefore become and ideal places of seclusions and worship for monks and priests. All the settlements of the valley are small villages. There are the Belisirma, Ihlara, Selimeand Yaprakhisar Villages. An inscriptions found on a fresco with Kırkdamaraltı Chuch in Belisırma, writes that settlement within the valley continuedto exist until end of th e13th centuryThe chuchesand monasteries of this valley have been carved into soft tufa rocks. The only excepton is the Karagedik Church which was built with hemn Stones.