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An update from Evaneos

Zelve (Turkey)

Practical information about Zelve

  • Encounters with locals
  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Countryside
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Archaeological Site
  • Museums
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Essential
5 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
1 hour and 15 minutes by air from Istanbul
When to go
May through October
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Zelve

Timothée D. Travel writer
285 travel articles

Once a troglodytic monastery, nowadays, Zelve is an open air museum of traditional buildings with a magnificent religious complex that was carved from the rock.

My suggestion:
If you are going to Zelve then you should also visit Pasabagi, one of the most beautiful of Cappadocia's valleys of chimneys.
If you want to familiarize yourself with traditional troglodytic houses in Cappadocia, then the open air museum at Zelve is a great placeto go, especially as it has some architectural and historical marvels. In the heart of valleys that have been empty of people since they were evacuated for security reasons in 1952, Zelve monastery was actively inhabited from the 9th to the 13th century. Zelve is a little less impressive than Goreme monastery, which has extraordinary wall paintings, but is nonetheless worth a visit if you happen to be in Cappadocia.
Typical Cappadocian countryside around Zelve
Elif Karaman Travel writer
13 travel articles

A must-see in the Cappadoce, Zelve is in the Nevşehir region. The area is famous for its fairy chimneys. Many of its residents were forced to leave their homes due to problems with erosion. 

My suggestion:
Don't forget your hat - the sun is scorching!

If you decide to spend two days in Zelve, I suggest you spend the first in the valleys and the second exploring the ancient town of Zelve and its open air museum.

To reach the valleys, I started out on my walk from the town of Ortahisar and finished three hours later in Çavuşir, a small village that's home to an old mill. As it gets really hot during the summer in Cappadoce, it's pleasant to walk under the shady trees and stop off at chapels along the way. I remember that the apricots and plums we picked straight from trees were delicious and juicy!

The ancient town of Zelve is small and beginning to crumble. I loved exploring its churches and houses where the earliest Christians once lived. Some dovecotes are still in use and if you clap your hands, you'll see all pigeons fly off! When you're ready for a break, try some gözleme - a pastry that's stuffed with cheese, potato or mincemeat - washed down with some ayran, a yoghurt-based drink.

I ended my tour of Zelve with a visit to the open air museum , where you'll find religious drawings, churches and fairy chimneys.

View of fairy chimneys
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