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Elmali Church

Destinations in Cappadocia

This is among the churches of the Göreme open-air museum. It has a typical cross-vaulted inscribed-cross plan, with four roughly-hewn columns and a square interior. A narrow passageway leads to the inner court, and from there one enters the church via a second narrow passage. The iconostasis before the main apse has been damaged. Otherwise the frescos decorating the walls and ceilings of the church have preserved their original vitality. They are dominated by the warm yellow ochre much used here. The paintings may be compared with those of the Karanlık church and the Çarıklı church which, like these, are dated to the 11th century. Flaked off in places, the red-dawbed Christian symbols of the iconoclastic period may be discerned beneath the painted surface.

In a medallion in the central dome is a painting of Christ Pantocrator, and a Deisis in the apes. Besides these are a number of scenes or related to from the Christ cycle, including the Journey to Bethlehem, the Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, the Transfiguration, the Raising of Lazarus, Entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, Entombment, Women at the Tomb, Christ on Mount Olives and the Ascension and the Hospitality of Abraham and the Three Hebrews. The scenes of the Baptism of Christ and the Crucifixion are relatively well preserved.

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