Cavusin Village and Zelve in Cappadocia Turkey,
A few kilometers to the north of Avcilar, Cavusin is important for its numerous convents. St. John the Baptist Church is a large basilica built on top of a hill, overlooking the whole area. The church had played a significant role in the religious history of the region. It attracts one’s attention with its paintings of the 5th century. The entrance is decorated with spiral ornaments. Its yard is rather large which is not very common in Cappadocia and there is a votive pit.
Some distance away there is a church known as the pigeon-house and dedicated to Emperor Focas after his visit to Cappadocia (964-965). To the south of the village, there are two valleys which were once inhabited by monks. There are 5 churches in Gulludere. In a double church, dedicated to St. John, 10th-century frescoes are painted over the middle age carvings. There are also beautiful frescoes in the churches of the neighboring valley of Kizilcukur.
Zelve is one of the most important centers of Rocky Cappadocia. Settlements of the Early Christian Age give us a clear idea about the bright days of monastic life. There are two basilicas of the early Monastic Age. From the sides of the cross painted above the entrance, we can see the fishes hanging. There are numerous oratories and chapels scattered on the hills. The only decorations are carved crosses on the walls. In one of the churches, various types of crosses of that age are painted near the entrance. No doubt this is closely related to the Iconoclastic idea which gave great emphasis to the cross. We understand that the inhabitants of Zelve were against the adoration of the sacred images long before the Iconoclastic crisis because in the iconoclastic churches of Zelve there are very few paintings. After the Christians migrated Zelve became a Moslem village. In 1952 the government moved the villagers away because of the increasing danger of the rockfalls. Zelve is also worth visiting for its photogenic scenery.