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Yilanli Church

Destinations in Cappadocia

This is two-celled church with an elongated, flat-roofed nave fronted by a barrel-vaulted atrium. It is thought to be a small funerary chapel. It is in the Göreme open-air museum. The apse has been carved out of the left-hand wall. The church may be dated to the end of the 11th century. There are some daubed red ochre geometrical shapes as well as a number of frescos in the church.

On the vault over the apse are depicted St. Onesimos,followed by the two warrior saints, George and Theodore, facing each other on horseback. St. George on a white horse carries a lance, as does Theodore on a red horse, and both are engaged in slaying the dragon at their feet. Next to them stand the figures of Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337 A.D.) and his mother, Helena. Both are portrayed with auras, indicating their acceptance as saints. Between them they hold the True Cross.

On the opposite vault wall are depicted three saints figures, St. Onophrius, purported to have been a sinful woman, and on repenting to have changed into a man. This figure is depicted naked. Flanking this is the figures of Thomas in a benedictory pose, and St. Basil bearing the Holy Book.

At the opposite end of the vault stands Christ Pantocrator in the lunette, flanked by a small, anonymous figure.

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