Zelve Open Air Museum: Zelve Valley

Zelve Valley, one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia, is also one of the points where Christianity began to spread in Cappadocia. For this reason, it is possible to see many monasteries and churches in Zelve Open Air Museum. The area where Zelve Valley is located was used as a village for a while after the end of the Christian era. Even a mosque was built in Zelve Valley during this period.

The people who stayed here until 1950, when the area was evacuated, had to move to their new village called Aktepe, located 2 km away. Since then, Zelve Valley has been serving as an archaeological site in Avanos.

Zelve Valley, which ranks first in terms of the density of fairy chimneys, is one of the largest valleys and this place is also a trekking trail. It is possible to proceed in 3 different ways. Zelve Valley I is 170m long, Zelve Valley II is 250m long and Zelve Valley III is 1km long.

If you want to cover these routes, be sure to take water with you before entering the museum. You will need a lot of water especially in hot weather. Since this is a hike, I don’t need to tell you that your shoes should be suitable for your feet and not hurt.

The existence of vineyards, which is the occupation of the local people, allows us to answer the question of what is Zelve. Zelve takes its name from the hard and sturdy sticks that are passed around the necks of oxen and used to plow the vineyard garden.

Kapadokya Zelve Vadisi Gezi Notlari
Kapadokya Zelve Vadisi Tas Peribacalari

Apart from the hollows carved by the inhabitants as rooms, there are also pigeon nests in the region, just like the pigeon houses in the Güvercinlik Valley. They have worked on the production of pigeon dung, as they have a better production in their vineyards by utilizing the dung of pigeons.

Kapadokya Zelve Vadisi Trekking Parkuru Manzarasi
Zelve Vadisi Trekking Parkuru

What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Zelve Valley?

Zelve Valley ranks high among the places to visit in Cappadocia. Especially tourists are heading towards Zelve Valley after Göreme Open Air Museum.

Free entrance to the region, also known as Zelve Paşabağlar Ruins, is possible with MuseumCard. When you reach Zelve Valley, there is a paid and large parking lot depending on the valley.

Where is Zelve Valley and how to get there?

Zelve Valley is 8.6km (13 minutes) from Goreme Open Air Museum. When traveling from Goreme towards Avanos, you need to turn right by seeing the brown signs of Zelve. For visitors coming from Avanos, the distance is 6km (8min).