Zelve Monastery

Zelve Monastery is a Christian religious complex situated 10 km (6 mi) Northeast of Nevsehir in Turkey. The closest settlements to this Christian complex is Paşa Bağlari about 1 km away and Göreme about 10 km away.


Location: 10 km (6 mi) Northeast of Nevsehir Map

Active: 9th- 13th century

Open: May- Oct: 8:30am- 7pm daily

Nov- Apr: 8:30am- 5:30pm daily


History of Zelve Monastery

Zelve Monastery was constructed in the Early Medieval period in the 9th century AD. Byzantines civilians were forced to abandon their homes on the plains due to violent attacks of Arabs and Persians. They moved here to escape enemy troops and over a course of several centuries erected numerous underground tunnels in the hills of Anatolia. Zelve Monastery was created largely by monks from nearby monasteries. They constructed a seminary, cells for monks and several churches. This include Direkli Church, Balikli Kilise (Fish), Üzümlü Kilise (Grapes) as well as a ruined church of Geyikli Kilise (Deer church). Additionally you might see a series of small holes in parts of the canyon where Zelve Monastery sits today. It was carved by the monks to invite nearby birds to nest here. It was done for practical rather than esthetic purposes since bird droppings actually served as a natural and cheap fertilizer for the fields that surrounded this religious complex.