- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
This is a very beautiful natural site: a spectacular canyon containing some remarkable ancient ruins. The forces of erosion have not transformed this geological scar into fairy chimneys, but instead cut a monolithic and vertically sheer canyon into the Anatolian plateau The rock walls bordering the Melendiz River here rise to over 100 metres on average.
The Perestrema Valley is particularly sheltered and difficult to reach, with no steps cut into the rocks nor hidden paths. This is where Christians from the Arab countries to the east of Egypt sought refuge in the 7th century as they fled the Arab conquest, with Cappadocia still a Byzantine and Christian land at the time. They ended up building cave churches and villages into the very rock itself. Two groups of these are still quite well preserved today. With their holes dotted around the rock surface, some of which are inaccessible, they are quite fascinating: how did those men and women back then get to them?
The Ilhara group is the best preserved, with its sculptured church façade and the rock frescoes in the interior rooms. The Belisirma one is also fascinating, its façade looking almost like a Greek temple.