The Ihlara Valley contains many churches, and Agacalti Church is one of the best-preserved churches. It has beautiful pictures as well as a towering central dome. You can have a good view of the ceiling paintings, due to the thick layer of dirt. The cruciform church is said to be constructed around 800AD.
As soon as you enter the Ihlara valley, you can see the Agacalti Church, situated on the base of the main entrance. The church is at a distance of 13.6 km from the center of Guzelyurt town. This church is definitely among the interesting and unique churches of this region.
The structure of the church is very interesting; there is a central domed area having three barrel-vaulted arms. On the east side of the church, there is an entrance, created when the apse fell. Even though the rear tunnels were used to enter the church originally, they are no longer used now. As people enter in the opposite direction, standing under the central dome.
The church’s defining features are lively colors and traditional iconography. The images contain bright and attractive colors: navy blue, gold yellow, orange-red, and jade green. Through less in numbers, these colors put great focus on the brilliant interior. The scene’s background cuts at head level, which makes it look like the earth’s horizon. The robes are colored light sky blue and contain straight lines.
The whole church is an example of great architecture, but the most significant aspect is the irregular, bright central dome. The architecture style of the multilayered dome is something you would see in the eastern Mediterranean. There are four arches in a square, and beginning with them each register turns into a more rounded figure.
A range of arranged geometric and floral patterns feature on the west arm. The large patterns are cheerful in nature. The upper vault features a thick cross, which can be seen in other churches of this valley as well.
The patterns are trimmed, and if you want to get an idea of how they were made by the artist, you can get an idea from the markings on the large circles. After drawing an unswerving red line on the plaster, he carved circles using a compass. The process of painting was guided by these markings.
If you are on a tour to Cappadocia, and you visit Ihlara Valley, the Agacalti Church could be the first structure that you explore. The church is easily accessible, so it’s often crowded, but it’s worth a visit.