After hiking through a portion of the Ihlara Valley we hopped back in our car and stopped at a small store. A friendly Turkish gentleman spoke with us at the store, and when he found out we hadn’t gone to Selime Cathedral, he strongly urged us to do so—we’re so glad we did, I can’t believe we almost missed it! An added bonus was that the entry fee for Selime Cathedral is covered by the Ihlara Valley ticket (8 TL per person). (For a map of the general area click here.)
Selime Cathedral along with numerous other rock-carved buildings sits at the northern end of the Ihlara Valley just across a highway. This area is “other worldly” and was the inspiration for part of the location set in Star Wars Episode 1, the location where Anakin Skywalker’s “pod race” took place, if you saw that movie.
Selime Cathedral does not look like a cathedral in the traditional sense. The main church is the largest of its kind (carved out of rock) in Cappadocia, and the site contains numerous other caves and rooms for the monks (living quarters, kitchens, chapels, etc.) in the side of a mountain. Most of the structures here are from the 13thcentury.
Allow at least an hour to visit this site. Hiking up to the caves does involve some scrambling along the narrow and steep rock trails.
Due to its easy access from the road, Selime Cathedral was far busier that the Ihlara Valley itself.