Monday, March 14, 2016

Kokar Kilise, Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia

Kokar Kilise (The Smelly Church) is located in the first quarter of the Ihlara Valley between Ihlara Village and main entrance. It can be entered through a ruined apse. The original entrance has been blocked by a landslide. The Church was designed in a single nave. The frescoes in the Church building date to between the 9th and the 11th centuries AD.

There are many frescoes covering the walls of Kokar Kilise. On the left side, you can see the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Proof of the Virgin, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi scenes. On the right, the visitor can see the Last Supper, the Betrayal, Jesus being Led Away, Jesus before Annas and Caiaphos, the Crucifixion and the Entombment. On the door facing the entrance there is a Deisis above, with scenes of the Flight to Egypt and The Last Supper below was badly damaged when openings were made at a much later date for windows and a door leading into the burial chamber. On the ceiling you can see the Ascension and the Pentecost together with a large Greek cross with the hand of God giving benediction in the centre. On each side of the lower parts of the vaulting there are frescoes depicting the apostles standing and seated.

As is evident through the pictures, it is unfortunate how many have felt the need to write on top of these ancient icons, destroying them for ever. Leaving aside the religious importance these icons and churches have for the Orthodox, and generally the Christian World, it seems that the people who wrote on them had no sense of their significance on many levels, i.e. religious, cultural, historic, artistic etc. Nevertheless, we are still able to see their beauty and past glory, despite these carved writings. 

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