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Church of St. Barbara

Destinations in Cappadocia

The church is carved out to the rear of the outcrop containing the Elmalı church, in the open-air museum of Göreme. It is cruciform in plan with two free-standing pillars carved out of rock, and two partially engaged at the corners of the carved out walls. Much of the decoration of the church, which is dated to the 11th century, is in the form of red ochre daub painted directly onto the rock surface, which has led to the church being seen as typical of those carved out and decorated during the iconoclastic period. The daubed motifs are mainly the symbols of Christianity. The triple cross motif over the right-hand apse is notable, the central cross being contained in a nimbus. This represents the figure of Christ. Four red studs between the arms of the cross represent the nails of the Cross and the two flanking crosses represent the two thieves crucified with Christ. A Deisis and part of the figure of a saint executed in fresco may also be seen to the left of the entrance. The colours of these frescos are dull and the figures crudely drawn. Red is the dominant colour.

The figure of Christ Pantocrator is to be seen in the apse, while the patron of the church, St. Barbara, is represented on the northern wall alongside the figures of the warrior saints, Theodore and George, who are portrayed on horseback, facing each other.

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