Ihlara Valley, which is within the boundaries of Güzelyurt District of Aksaray Province, is an important city among the canyons in the world.
18 km. Ihlara Valley, which has an area of 150 meters in depth, 200 meters in width and thousands of living spaces in its structure, has the distinction of being the largest canyon in the world where people live in past periods, unlike other canyons. Melendiz River, which shapes the Ihlara Valley and gives life to the valley, is the main source of life here. Hundreds of churches and rock carvings, which were formed by the carving of the rocks surrounding the valley, have made Ihlara Valley one of the most important centers of culture and civilization in the world.
The Ihlara Valley was formed as a result of tectonic elevations and erosion of the Melendiz Stream that progressed over the collapsed area after the eruption of the Hasandagi volcano for thousands of years. Melendiz River, along the Ihlara Valley, forms a magnificent and striking beauty throughout the valley by cutting the land deeply and steeply. The small streams, which take their resources from the Melendiz Mountains, merge into the southeast-northwest direction and reach the Mamasın Dam. Melendiz creek draws close to 30 menderes along the valley. Although the distance between Ilisu and Selime is 10 kilometers, the actual distance is 18 kilometers due to the flow of menderes.
Another striking feature of the Ihlara Valley is its nature. On the edge of the water at the base of the steep, deep and narrow valley, like the wall, there is an intense foliage strip of vineyards and gardens. As if nature has hidden itself in the valley. In the valley around the steppe-looking and undersized vegetation is dominant. When you come to the slopes of the valley, you will see a rich green piece of nature hidden in the valley. This hidden state has determined the special place of the valley. Unlike the continental climate in the region, there is a climate close to the Mediterranean climate. Valley is a natural microclimate area with this feature. Accordingly, a wide variety of plants, mainly pistachio nuts are grown in the valley floor.
We have preserved the frescoed churches carved into the rocks in the Ihlara Valley and has survived as a history treasure. These frescoed churches and settlement places, which were formed by the excavation of the rocks from the first years of Christianity, take place in Ihlara Valley which continues from Ihlara to Selime for 14 kilometers. The earliest examples of these churches in the Ihlara Valley, where natural history and history coexist in the middle of the Cappadocia River (Patamos Kapadokus) in the first ages, were carried out in the IV. century is seen. The painting technique of churches can be divided into two parts. Churches in the vicinity of Ihlara are known as "Cappadocia Type". Examples include Eğritaş, Ağaçaltı, Kokar, Pürenliseki and Yılanlı Churches. The ones found in the Belisırma section are decorated with "Byzantine Type" pictures.