Goreme Open Air Museum Overview

Visit this unique outdoor museum in Turkey that comprises the remnants of several churches that were carved out of the famous Cappadocia stone. Particularly noteworthy are the several frescoes that you can witness during your exploration of all the structures here. The UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases impressive Byzantine artistry that is situated about 1 km uphill from the Goreme’s center.

The Göreme open air Museum is situated in the ancient, historical district called Göreme, in Nevsehir province of the Cappadocia region of central Turkey. These are rock-cut monasteries with beautiful frescoed walls and ceilings built by the Cappadocians in the early 10th century. Explore this remarkable site as part of your Turkey holiday packages, immersing yourself in the rich history and stunning artistry of these rock-cut monasteries in the heart of Cappadocia.

The entire location of Cappadocia is a geographical wonder owing to the volcanic eruption of Mount Erciyes, several million years ago in the history of earth. Small peaks were formed from the volcanic lava which were later weathered to form chimney like structures abounding the province. These later came to be known as the "fairy chimneys" in Göreme. 

Although, historical evidence shows that the first human settlement in Göreme began in 1800 BC, the modern day rock-cut churches were being built since the tenth century by the local communities. These people saw the possibility of carving monasteries, houses and sheltered spaces in the soft rock peaks.

Thus they sculpted several storeyed churches and monasteries, which is referred to as the Göreme Open Air Museum, and has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985. There are 11 communal halls attached to each church and the church benches are carved out of rocks too. 

These beautifully decorated, frescoed churches, houses and pigeon homes, carved out of the soft lava rock, attract many tourists to the heart of Turkey. Some of the famous churches here are - Karanlik Kilise, Tokali Kilise where the relics of ancient Byzantine art can be viewed.

Although the weather, time and cave occupants had impacted the churches, yet they have stood the test of time. The frescoes are remnants of the art of the ninth century cave dwellers who sought refuge here to lead lives of austerity.

How To Reach

By Air:

There are regular flights from Istanbul and Ankara to Kayseri Erkilet Airport in Kayseri and the Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport in Nevşehir Province. Göreme can be reached from the Kayseri Airport and the Nevsehir Airport by shuttles plying from the airports to Göreme.

Another way to travel is to take a bus from the Istanbul Airport to Göreme or Nevsehir and it takes about 12 hours one way. Alternatively, a bus from the Ankara International Airport to Göreme takes about five hours only.

The Kayseri Railway Station is connected through rail routes from across Turkey and is easily accessible. One can take a train to the Kayseri station (if already in Turkey) and from there a bus can be taken to Göreme.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Cappadocia is during the spring and the fall, that is between April and May or between September and October. The Open Air Museum gets exceptionally hot and dry during July and August and even if one is visiting during that time they must target early hours to see the churches as it gets extremely hot in the arid region of Göreme.

In the winter months there is a good chance of precipitation (rain or snow) and hence not ideal for the Open Air Museum or the hot-air ballooning that happens in Göreme.

Other Essential Information

The Göreme Open Air Museum is situated in Nevsehir province in Cappadocia. The site is just a fifteen minutes walk from the heart of the Göreme village. 

Timings: The Goreme Open Air Museum is open everyday from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm and by 5:30 pm in the winter.

Tips on visiting Goreme Open Air Museum

One must not visit the Göreme Open Air Museum without attempting to do the Hot Air Ballooning that takes off from the Göreme village. Therefore it is best not to visit in the early April or late October as it gets very windy during these times and the ballooning schedule gets impacted and may even be stopped. Early May and late September is good to avoid the rush and enjoy the serenity. 

- Certainly keep water bottles and small snacks on you while travelling to the museum because there are no eateries nearby. Although the visit takes not more than an hour and half (if visiting only the monasteries) and the walk back to the village is twenty minutes at the most, however the place is dry and arid so it is best to stay hydrated. 

- It is best to target the early hours (start at 8:00am) from the village to visit the monasteries and there may be time to hike around before it gets too hot.
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Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
08:00 AM to 05:00 PM

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