Kayakoy, in the Mediterranean hills of southwest Turkey, was populated until the first part of the 20th century, when changing world events saw all Greeks depart for the western side of the Aegean Sea. Greek settlements like Kayakoy became ghost towns, their religious buildings empty monuments. The Lower Church shown here was built in the 17th century; frescoes of saints and carved crosses preside over crumbling plaster and a congregation long gone.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/10, 1/15 sec. (handheld, 18-200 Canon IS lens @ 18 mm)
Tarsus, Turkey. The church actually has little relation to St. Paul except for being built in his home town. Built on an 11th-century foundation, the current structure was built and decorated by the Eastern Orthodox in the 18th century.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/8, 1/160 sec.
Originally a chapel built in the 1300’s to commemorate St. Gregory in his hometown village of Guzelyurt, Turkey, this building was later converted to a mosque. Today it stands out as one of the most visible structures in a land of invisible structures: the Monastery Valley in the Cappadocia region of central Anatolia. The length of the valley is dotted with Byzantine Orthodox monastery cave chapels, carved from the soft volcanic stone in the valley.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi
Turkish Anatolia today is almost entirely Muslim, but it wasn’t always that way. This Byzantine era cave cell dates from a time when Eastern Orthodox monasteries dotted the central and eastern Anatolian plateau. In Göreme and other parts of Cappadocia, the soft volcanic rock allowed dozens of churches, bedrooms, stables and kitchens to be dug into the mountainsides. Many of these were decorated with frescoes that have been well preserved by the cool, dark cave air.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-100, f/10, 1/40 sec.