Situated within a monastic structure, the Direkli Church is located in the Ihlara Valley, Belisırma Village. The church has four large columns that are covered by huge standing figures. The church is the biggest structure in the Valley and it’s attached to other rooms with ample space.
Direkli Church gets visitors rarely, as the tours to Ihlara Valley don’t include it, which means you can have fun exploring it all alone or with just a few other visitors. Furthermore, the church has an asymmetrical structure. Two stacked apses suggest that it was a two-story building. The second floor and corner staircase were created later. It was a usual practice by the carvers of this region to extend spaced back into the living rock. But, with this church, they preferred using direct lighting. The entrance was the middle arch, but not it’s blocked by rocks. From the sidewall of the hall, two rooms extended. The entrance to main church, side chapel or other sections is from the back corner.
As we mentioned before, the church has four huge columns, and these columns support the tall dome. The church is named after these columns. The pillars are somewhat octagonal, with almost eight sides each, and each side having a different pattern. The interior appears to be tall and narrow, mainly because of the tall pillars. Instead of having a designated space, the nave has small chambers. The tall apse is another feature of the irregular design.
Close by the main church is a small side-church. The nave features a large apse and several entrances. It also has graves and a burial niche. There are no remains of the painting, and geometric lines can be considered the only painting. There is also molding dividing the conch.
If we talk about the background of the painting, it’s believed that it was painted around 1020AD. The artist plastered the structure completely but painted only the two apses. There was another artist who worked later on and finished the work on columns using stark tones and dark colors.