Cappadocia has many centuries-old churches and monasteries, but Yuksek Church is a relatively new church built in the 19th century. The church is located on top of a rocky hill, and that’s how it got its name. The church’s legitimate name was Analipsis, but as it’s built on natural rocks, the locals started calling it the Yuksek Church. As the church is located high, it offers a great view of Mount Hasan and landscapes of greenery. It also has a beautiful view over the Guzelyurt Pond.
When you read the history of Cappadocia, it dates back to the initial civilization eras, with one of the most intense periods being the introduction of Christianity to this region. During the early years of Christianity, many churches and monasteries were built, but Yuksek Church was built quite later. The complex has an inscription that tells that it was built in 1894 and was part of a small monastic structure. There is a chapel and a small structure, which is said to have monastic cells (used by nuns), at the top. However, there is not much evidence to support this and it can’t be said for sure that it was a nunnery. There are also several cisterns and small rooms and it’s possible that some of these were used as store-rooms. The church is not located in a backward area, as there are parks, restaurants, living facilities, and a hospital. There is also a university campus.
How to reach the Yuksek Church
Located in the district of Guzelyurt of Aksaray province, Yuksek Church is at a distance of around 3.1 km from the town center. From the city center of Aksaray, it’s at a distance of around 38 km. Situate on the top of a hill, the church overlooks Guzelyurt Pond. It lies between the Ihlara Valley, Monastery Valley, and Mount Hasan.
If you are traveling from any city, you can get there through public transport or a private vehicle. You can also reach there on foot, as it’s only 1.4 km away from the town Centre of Guzelyurt. You will have to go through some fields and a small lake, and then go round the edge of the lake to reach the church that sits on a rock.
Details of the Yuksek church’s structure
The site, also known as Analipsis Hill has two parts; a church and a monastery. The church sits on a natural rock, 15 meters above. Stone walls surround the church. Around the church, there are encampments that date back to the Bronze and Iron Age, and they might have been used in Roman or later civilizations.
The church has a rectangular shape and has a single nave. The ceiling has a longitudinal dome of barrel vault and the roof is built from individual units. The entrance of the church has an engraving, which indicates that the church was built in 1894. When you examine the building of the church, you can see how different periods have had an influence on it. You can clearly see the dilatation lines and the eastern and western masses of the building have different materials. To the east, there is a cubic mass with a dome, which is said to be built earlier and is called the older church. Yuksek church is on the west.
The monastery building, consisting of two sections, has a rectangular shape. On the southwest wall, there is the entrance to the first section, which has five rooms, a meeting room, and a corridor. You can enter the second section from the entrance on the southeast wall. It only has two rooms. There are also two structures under this building. You can enter both locations from the outside. The floor between the stories is made of wood. The floor of these two structures is made of wood.