St Gregory Church/Mosque

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St Gregory Church as Mosque, Guzelyurt, Cappadocia, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Durability of Sacred Space

The Cappadocian town of Güzelyurt (Karballa, Gelveri) was populated predominantly by ethnic Greeks from ancient times. Their Church of St Gregory of Nazianzus was first built on this spot in 385, though the large building in the picture dates only from 1896.

During the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey after World War I, the ethnic Greeks of Karballa moved to a new village near Kavala in Greece, and ethnic Turks from the Greek towns of Kozan and Kastoria moved here in their place.

With the Christians gone and Muslims arrived, the great church became a mosque.

Güzelyurt is not far from the fascinating Ihlara Valley, filled with its own small centuries-old churches. Beneath the main street in Güzelyurt is a small Underground City.

You can see it all on a full-day excursion taking you to the Underground City at Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu, the Ihlara Valley, and the medieval Seljuk Turkish Ağzıkarahan caravansaray. More…

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