In Ihlara Valley, Purenli Seki Church is one of the first churches that you would come across upon entering the valley. It’s within the first quarter and to reach it, you have to climb 24m over the stream bed. From the Kokar Church, that’s also located in the valley, it’s located on the north side. The church has four sections carved out of solid natural rocks. There are two naves, and both are covered with barrel vaults. There is an entrance, a double naos, and a crypt. Pillared arcades having apses separate them.
From the entrance, you reach the hall, from where you can enter the other sections of the church. On the west end of the nave, grave rooms are located. The church has many dark-colored frescos, with very significant descriptions. These frescoes are said the be painted between the 10th century and the 12th century AD.
The best practice to visit and understand the Ihlara valley is to spend a whole day here. According to us, it’s a place that makes you keep traveling. The reason being, there are many locations here as well as structures like the Purenli Seki Church. The valley is an astonishing place, and its visit takes you on a magical journey. Even when you are done, it won’t be like you saw some historical places and now you are done, it will stay with you. There are many phrases that are associated with this valley and describe its significance, for example, it’s called the magic of Cappadocia.
The valley is situated in Aksaray city, which itself has a significant past. It hosted many prominent figures who continued their monastic life here, for example, St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Their practices to spread the religion was different from what was being followed in Syria and Egypt. They didn’t try to separate themselves from the society and preached their religion to even to those communities that spoke other languages.
The church is in the Ihlara Valley, which is located in the district of Guzelyurt, Aksaray. If you are traveling in a private car, you need to first get to the Aksaray city center. From there, you can follow the signs to reach Ihlara Town. You can also reach the valley by bus. Several bus services operate from Aksaray to Ihlara town.