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Eski Gümüşler Manastiri (Eski Gümüşler Monastery)
Eski Gümüşler Manastiri (Eski Gümüşler Monastery) Review
Some say the 11th-century Eski Gümüşler church inside this monastery complex has the only picture of a smiling Virgin Mary in the world. Others say that this is due to an error made during the church's restoration. Whatever the case, the frescoes inside, though dark, are beautiful and amazingly preserved. (The "smiling" Virgin is in a rock niche in the back left corner of the church.) Parts of the monastery were carved as early as the 7th century but most frescoes are from around the 11th; they were later painted over by local Turkish Muslims, who considered the depiction of human beings idolatrous. The paintings were cleaned and carefully recovered in the 1960s. In a room above the church are frescoes of animals, thought to be depicting scenes from Aesop's fables—an unusual example of nonreligious art in this region. The monastery also contains a kitchen, rock-carved monks' chambers around the central courtyard, and two levels of underground rooms that may have been used in part as a water reservoir. The sign for the monastery will be one of the first things you'll see as you approach Niğde; it's about 4 km (2.5 miles) down the road from there.
- Address: 9 km (6 mi) northeast of downtown Niğde, east off Rte. 805, in village of Gümüşler, Niğde
- Phone: No phone
- Cost: 5 TL
- Hours: Summer, daily 8–12:30 and 1:30–6; winter, 9–12:30 and 1:30–5
- Location: Niğde
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