Underground Monastery Discovered in Cappadocia

A monastery hewn from the rock has been found during excavations and cleaning works in an underground city that was discovered in 2014 in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir during a Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) urban transformation project.

Excavation and cleaning works have been continuing on an area of 400,000 square meters that includes 11 neighborhoods around Nevşehir Castle, which is situated in the city center and has been declared a third-degree archaeological area.

At the beginning of the year, a historic church was discovered in the underground city. The church features frescoes depicting the ascension of Jesus to heaven as well as other important objects for the Orthodox community. There are also frescoes showing the apostles, the saints and prophets Moses and Elijah.

The latest discovery is a monastery carved from the rock that may date back to the fifth or sixth centuries.

Nevşehir Mayor Hasan Ünver said the discovery of new places in the underground city had provided great excitement to academics and archaeologists.

The discoveries have already begun to draw foreign and Turkish academics, as well as documentary makers, to the region. “Works in the field may result in things that are very important in the history of humanity,” he said.

Ünver said the first cleaning of the monastery was continuing. “Sensitive cleaning will also be made. We also find various objects here and deliver them to the museum.”

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