wine cave church in cappadocia

This amazing medieval church, dating from the 10th century, is carved from stone in Cappadocia, an ancient Byzantine province. The church is known in Turkish as “Üzümlü Kilise,” or the “Grapes Church,” after the grapes that appear in one of the magnificent frescoes. Yes, the Byzantines loved wine as much as modern people do, and much of it was made in monasteries such as the one this church was associated with.

Üzümlü Kilise was founded by, and evidently the home of, Nicetas the Stylite, an ascetic who was revered by the Orthodox Church. As there are numerous churchmen named Nicetas in Byzantine history, it’s not entirely clear to me which Nicetas this was. There was one who was martyred in Russia in 1186 (there was much cultural intercourse between Byzantium and Russia), but I’m not 100% sure this is the same one.

Definitely look at the full panorama on to explore the frescoes, especially the ones on the ceiling. It would be amazing to see this place in person!

This photo was taken by Heiner Straesser on August 11, 2013.