Friday Photo: Down in the Valley

Ihlara ChurchToday’s Friday Photo is a view of one of the rock-cut sanctuaries in Ihlara Valley, in Turkey. Christians began living in the canyon during the 4th century, a time when Egyptian ideas of retreat into the desert were being popularised throughout the Levant. Although cut from the walls of the canyon, these sanctuaries often mimicked the arches and other decorative elements found in self-supporting churches. Thanks to the dry and secluded nature of this place, many frescoes have been preserved within the chuches. Today, however, it is tourists rather than monks that enjoy the natural beauty of the place.

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