We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Goreme?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Goreme is a national park in Turkey. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has been since 1985. Goreme is the name of the town in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, and it contains a number of amazing geologic formations.

Mount Erciyes, a nearby volcano, erupted thousands of years ago, and covered some 8,000 square miles (about 20,700 sq. km) in lava, which eventually formed beautiful soft rock formations over the entire area. Most of the rock was eroded over time, leaving only the harder caps to survive, making the structures that are today referred to as fairy chimneys.

In the 4th century, Goreme began to be settled by small Christian communities. They discovered that the soft rock could be easily carved, and so dug out churches, sanctuaries, houses, monasteries, and cells. Earlier structures that were built, which were dug during the iconoclastic period, were sparsely decorated, but later construction had elaborate frescoes.

The Churches of Goreme are one of its three attractions, and are more or less unique in the world. The Tokali Kilise is the largest of the Churches of Goreme, dating from around the 9th century. The frescoes in this church are stunning, with vibrant use of color and beautiful depictions of various saints, the apostles, and scenes showing the life of Jesus Christ.

Barbara Kilise is a church in Goreme celebrating the life of Saint Barbara. She was an Egyptian saint, who practiced Christianity in spite of being imprisoned by her father to try to prevent her faith. When he discovered her, he tortured her and killed her. Yilani Kilise celebrates Saint George slaying the dragon, and also contains depictions of the Emperor Constantine. Other churches in Goreme include the Karanlik Kilise, the Elmali Kilise, and the Carikli Kilise.

Tunnels and underground cave dwellings are another of the major attractions of Goreme. The oldest evidence for settlement in caves in this region dates back to the 4th century BCE, when Xenophon the Greek wrote about seeing underground storage facilities when passing through Cappadocia on the way to Persia. The caves were favored as dwellings in part because of the protection they offered from the elements. In the 13th century, Skutariotes the Byzantine wrote about the balanced temperatures dwellings in Goreme offered year-round.

The underground dwellings of Goreme are unique in the world in part because of the unique fairy chimneys that dot the landscape. This allowed for the construction of dwellings not only deep beneath the surface, but well up above the base level of the surrounding plains. This lead to a sort of otherworldly architecture, in which natural skyscrapers seem to spring up hundreds of feet in the air.

Goreme is one of the major tourist attractions in Western Turkey, and contains enough remarkable sights to keep almost everyone busy for days on end. There is something for everyone, with remarkable natural formations providing stark beauty to those who love the natural world, beautifully adorned early-Christian churches granting a religious tranquility and reverential presence to those of a more spiritual bent, and unique dwellings showing one of the most intriguing ways humans can live for those who are interested in archeological sites.

The entire site is easy to get to, with buses running regularly from Istanbul, and there is a good tourist infrastructure throughout. Paths crisscross the valley, and are free to all visitors. Maps are offered at most hotels, and show a number of routes to take through the valley. Balloon rides are also offered by a number of providers, and last for around 45 minutes, taking you through the valley as the wind blows.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon175454 — On May 12, 2011

Wow, so interesting. I love subscribing to WiseGeek. Something wonderful/interesting/new every day!

By anon175438 — On May 12, 2011

Those chimneys could easily be interpreted in another way. I will leave it to the imagination of the reader as to what way.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.