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“It is worth to see” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zelve Open Air Museum

Zelve Open Air Museum
Merkez Goreme, Nevsehir Merkez, Nevsehir, Turkey
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Ranked #3 of 15 Attractions in Nevsehir
Type: Museums
Attraction details
istanbul
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“It is worth to see”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

The entrance is free. This is one of the good areas that you can take nice photos of the fairy chimneys. The souvenir salesmen around would not bother you. When I went there there were lots of tourist buses. The next morning I drove there myself, alone to do some photo shooting during the sun rise, the street dogs around was worrying as I there was nobody around and I was afraid to be bitten.

Visited October 2013
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68 reviews from our community

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Kahramanmaras, Turkey
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“2.5 km trip area with wonders of earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

its a really big area to walk this open air museum. You should give at least 2-3 hours to fully visit all places and taste views. there are very ancient historical buildings ie caves lie on the way. You should really see this place if u want to taste the older days of human being.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
53 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
“Fascinating Empty cave town”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

The collapsing rock structures of Zelve Open-Air Museum are all that remains of a thriving fairy chimney community who first settled here in 9th century. The ruins spread over three valleys and a tour around all these three valleys should take around 2 hours.

This amazing place is located 6 km from Göreme Open-Air Museum and 1km from Paşabağ (Monks' Valley) and 5 km from Avanos.

Starting from the first valley on the right and along the path, we encountered paintings on the rock surface of the rock - religious Christian symbols like the Cross, the deer and the fish, remains of the now collapsed Geyikli Kilise (Deer church). The Direkli Church (with Columns), situated at the bottom of the slopes, also dates back to the early years of monastery life in Zelve. We also saw in the first valley, a rock-cut mosque, with a lovely minaret. Another notable structure on the right is a Monastery in 4 levels and its large natural cupola. Entry to the second valley is by following the path in front of the mosque.

Some of the most important churches in the valley are the Uzumlu Kilise (The Church with Grapes) named after the bunches of grapes, a symbol representing Christ himself, in a country famous for its Dionysiac rituals and the adjacent Balikli Kilise (The Church with Fishes). On the apse are fading red paintings of fish, from where the church gets its name.
There are several dovecotes or pigeon houses (pigeories) in Zelve, often difficult to spot, and sometimes to be seen craning ones neck upwards. These contain excellent examples of Islamic art of painting in local style.

Before leaving this open-air museum, at the entrance of the third valley is a rock-cut mill whose entrance has collapsed. The grindstone here was in use till few decades back.

Zelve may not have the rich frescoes of Göreme and other Cappadocian locations, but free from tourist masses, this open-air museum allows the visitor to seep in and contemplate how fascinating a life the fairy chimney community lived 12 centuries ago.

Entrance fees 8 TL (May 2013)

Visited May 2013
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gagadju
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“Simply amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

The open air museum is well worth a visit. Beautiful religious paintings inside the caves. Simply stunning.

Visited July 2013
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Rakiura, Stewart Island
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“putting things in perspective - so take a torch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

We had seen the Goreme area as an historic area of historic interest. However by visiting Zelve we could appreciate the cave landscape of Cappodocia as a place where people of the C20th had lived, and therefore the historic landscape became relevant and alive. Whether it is the dovecotes, the ancient churches (Grape, Deer, and Fish), the mosque, the tunnel (hence the torch), the "cathedrals", the homes, paths or the rest which take your interest, you will no doubt come away appreciating how precarious life was within the cliffside caves - continued erosion has exposed more and more of the village.
We stayed in Goreme, but caught the bus to Cavusin from there. We got off at the Intersection to Zelve and walked there via Pasabagi. The latter is worth a fleeting visit only - don't believe the tour guide hype. The walk to Zelve is great - intriguing landscape, birds, reptiles, rock formations, ruins and "fairy chimneys" at Pasabagi kept us thoroughly entertained. We walked back from Zelve to Goreme via the Red and Pink Valleys - an amazing day of exploration and discovery. If you want to do the same, make sure you take PLENTY of water, lunch and a sun hat.

Visited May 2013
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