The Dark Church ( Karanl?k Kilise )


It is one of the churches with a dome made over four pillars. It has a big apsis and two small ones on each side. It is one of the most beautiful churches built in the 11th century. The paintings are still lively and the colors have not faded because very little sunlight penetrated inside. It only has a small window giving on the outside. Because of this the church is gloomy and was named "Dark Church"..
The facts related in the Gospel were represented beautifully by pictures on the walls of this church. The sanctification of Jesus, the last supper.Three Kings giving presents to Jesus, this help to sinful people, his baptism and crucifixion, treachery of Judas one of the Apostles, the figures of Mark and John and of the Apostles are fres¬coes attracting attention to the dome.

Karanl?k Kilise:

The Dark Church or Karanl?k Kilise is perhaps the most interesting cave church in Göreme because it was part of an important monastery which included several rooms and a refectory. A long table and benches were carved out of the rock here. It has fan-like vaults and a ruined iconostasis. In this one the frescoes, which are among the best-preserved in the .region, do not follow a chronological order, unlike most of the other churches. The paintings are from the 13th century and are more realistic than those done earlier. The lack of windows of the Dark Church is the main reason that the frescoes have been so well preserved. Both the depiction of the Ascension in the narthex of this church and the Nativity in the nave are exceptional.

This church, lighted only by a small window in the Narthex, is very dark and has therefore been called «Karanl?k Kilise», the «Dark Church». Owing to this lack of light, its paintigs are in a wonderful state of preservation, and though they are not perhaps the finest examples of this Cappadocian art, they have made the church famous throughout the region.
The ornamentation is extremely rich and varied. As regards the general style of composition, the paintings do not differ much from those in other churches; the difference lies in the method of execution, especially in the sombre tones used.
This church built in the side of a rock face, a few yards above ground-level, includes a rectangular Narthex which one reaches by a spiral staircase and a Naos buüt on four columns, flanked by a triple apse.
The Narthex is of irregular dimensions, approximat¬ely 12 feet long by 9 feet wide. It is transversal to the church, with the entrance on the left hand side. On the right, there is a large Arcosolium with three graves.

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