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Goreme Open-Air Museum
Goreme Open-Air Museum

Goreme Open-Air Museum

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Merkez, Muze Cd., Cappadocia, Turkey

The Basics

Known as the Land of the Three Saints—in reference to theologians St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus—the Göreme area gained attention in the Middle Ages when various religious groups formed monasteries, churches, and chapels out of rock. At the UNESCO-listed Göreme Open-Air Museum, you’ll find a multitude of sacred spaces, many of which have exquisite paintings and frescoes inside. Just outside the museum’s gates, the oldest church, Buckle Church (Tokalı Kilise), is covered from floor to ceiling with religious stories and symbols. The museum’s most famous structure, however, is the Dark Church (Karanlık Kilise), whose frescoes have remained vividly preserved because the church lacks light.

To benefit from the insight of a guide—and to optimize your time—consider joining a tour of the museum.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Allow at least two hours to explore the Göreme Open-Air Museum.

  • A good amount of walking is required to see the entire site, and there are some inclines and stairs.

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How to Get There

The Göreme Open-Air Museum is roughly a 15-minute walk from the town of Göreme, or a short drive from Ürgüp.

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When to Get There

For the most pleasant weather, visit Cappadocia in April, May, September, or October. If you’re there in summer (peak season), get to the Göreme Open-Air Museum early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the midday heat and crowds. Hours vary depending on the season.

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Pigeon Valley

A short car ride south from Göreme lies Pigeon Valley, a wind-sculpted series of valleys and rock formations that make a dramatic backdrop for photo ops. The geological site is known for the pigeon houses that were carved out of some of the tall fairy chimneys (hoodoos).

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