Rock-cut church Cappadocia

Turkey is an amazing place. Having gone there with few ideas or expectations, I ended up having the most amazing trip. Everyone has been there, history has swept over and over the land leaving traces in the architecture: Romans, Greeks, early Christians, Turks (obviously). It was such an amazing place. One highlight was Cappadocia. The land is geologically amazing. The Tufa stone (orTuff) made of volcanic ash is capped with basalt. The Tufa wears away with erosion but the basalt doesn’t, so the landscape is made up of Tufa pillars capped with basalt hats.

 Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia

Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia

We were lucky enough to go for a balloon ride in the dawn. Amazing. 100 balloons go up and that with the weird geology is really stunning.

 balloons at dawn over Goreme, Cappadocia

balloons at dawn over Goreme, Cappadocia

The fairy chimneys, made of Tufa, are an ideal rock for building. It’s easy to cut, cool in summer and warm in winter. The early Christians cut into the rock to make their homes and each family group had a small rock cut church. The oldest churches had red painted decorations and the more recent ones coloured. The internal architecture changed over time and the acoustics were amazing.

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Some of these rock cut dwellings are still used for summer homes or storage.

 rock cut church, Cappadoca

rock cut church, Cappadoca

This little church was built on many levels. Sadly a lot had fallen in, but we went inside and I watched my daughter disappear down a hole to a lower level with a degree of anxiety. I loved these amazing structures. They spoke of an earlier time and faith and human endeavour and hope. Sadly a lot of the interior paintings had been damaged over the years by children with slingshots but the places still spoke across the centuries.

I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Esterita Austin on painted landscapes, and I used this technique to paint the church.

 painting the image

painting the image

 image applied to organza

image applied to organza

 Rock cut church Cappadocia

Rock cut church Cappadocia

Concentrating on the image and recreating it makes me relive memories and re-experience them.