“ Sightseeing Type: Churches / Temples „
On a trip to Cappadocia in Turkey in 2004, I stayed at a hostel in Goreme and spent each day walking or hitch hiking to somewhere in the immediate neighbourhood, as there are quite a lot of travellers either in their own car or a rented car, it's normally pretty easy to end up having a ride to the most interesting sights!
Myself and my hitchhiking partner at the time from Canada used this method and visited plenty of interesting places in the immediate area of Goreme, Eski Gumus was the one thing which was a bit further away that we wanted to see but it was also easy to get there and back with two or three rides each time. Around 8-10km north of the town Nigde, there is a junction with a road to the left which goes to Eski Gumus, this road is completely dead with basically no traffic at all and so we walked the 4km to the awaiting cave monastery.
Eski Gumus was a spectacular feature, cliffs with rather large caves which after some inspection appear to be rooms, we had problems to find the entrance but eventually found an old man who led us to a thick metal door and told us that the place was closing in 30 minutes, so we only had pay the entrance fee for one person. This was in fact ample time to look around because the monastery was quite small, even though there was a labryinth of different changes, even the dubious Canadian didn't get lost! What was evident though was that the works done in the 10th century were incredibly bright still and not destroyed and graffitied by the Greeks like the majority of churches in the Ihlara Valley.
The paintings depicted the usual churchy scenes - Mary, saints, angels and a rather nice painting of the nativity. Having read about it, I now that "the other funky characters" were Deesis and the Apostles. Whilst I certainly wouldn't class this as amazing, it's interesting enough to merit a visit if it's not too far out of your way and you are journeying around the region. If you aren't travelling by car, then it's really better to head there when the heat is not at it's hottest as it would make the 4km walk a bit tiresome, I imagine.
A monastery church carved from the rock in Gumusler, Turkey.