Peristrema Valley is formed between the high slopes of a fertile canyon which curls along the river borned from the Melendiz mountains. It is 12 kms long and consists of greenish trachyte rocks. Its dearwaters, fairy chimneys and thermal baths add on the region a fascinating beauty. The thermal baths of Ciftehan, where the Egyptian Queen Kleopatra is claimed to have bathed, is said to be good for health. With its wild natural beauty and monastry atmosphere in search of tranquility the valley formed between Ihlara and Selime and Yaprakhisar is breathtakingly beautiful. The dreamy and grandsome fairy chimneys of Selime (Salamon) decorate the end of this long valley. A European traveler said that he had been traveling as if on the moon surface.
Peristrema Valley (Ihlara)
The term “Rock Churches of Cappodocia” is generally used for the villages and monastry churches built by hewing the volcanic roks of Erciyes and Hasan Mountains. Today these are like the Open Air Museums.
From the first ages the rocks in the region are used as houses. Churches, monastries and graves. They are especially clustered around Peristrema (Belisirma). Ihlara and Soganli Vallies and also around Göreme. Because the contents of these depict different pictures and figures they represent an unique historical treasure. When the extraordinary view of the nature is added tho this it displays a stunning portrait.
The couple Nicole and Michel Thierry who came here in 1958 had closely examined the churches that were investigated by H.Rott, Ramsey and BelL. It was difficult to search the churches between the pile of rocks. When they examined the things they could find they discovered new elements, which were difficult to explain, on the art tour of “Cappadocia Picture” named by R.P.Guillaume de Jerphanion.
According to Thierrys the churches in Belisırma (Peristrema) valley should be separated into two groups. aL Upper-end Church Pictures around Ihlara. The “Egritaş Church” (belonging the first Chistianity era) is arranged in accordance with the teachings of St. Bazilius and St.Greogrius. It also bears Egyptian and Syrian influences. The “Agaçaltı Church” which is of the 5th and and 6 th century plans, bears the influences of Rome and Sassani, and gives the fealing of a more eastern style. “Yılanlı Church”, “Kokar Church” and “Pürenliseki Church” are of the characteristics of the Middle Ages, and influenced by Syria. These have features which are not found around Göreme (Korama). The Bible scenes are shown in a symbolistic style. The sources of the evil is of the type of Satan and Woman. They bear Romanesque characteristics far from the Cappadocia style. b) The second group is that around Belisirma (Peristrema). Theyare clearly of the Byzantine St yle. Out of all only the dates of the two are determined. “Direkli Church” (976-1025) “St. George Church” (1283-1295).
The arab raids started in the 7 Th. century could not infiltrate into the churches and monasteries because of the hidden castles and high hills.
Recapturing of the region by the Byzantine in the middle of 10 th. century had caused an increase in the churches and monastries. These are: Bahaeddin Samanlıgı Church (end of 10 th. century), Sümbüllü Church (end of 10 Th. century), Direkli Church (begining of 11 th. century), Ala Church, Canlı Church and Karagedik Church (11 th. century).