Church History Tours
Come and explore the rich Christian history of Cappadocia on a custom tour. The historic church in Cappadocia extends from the New Testament era (Acts 2:9; 1 Peter 1:1) until the 20th century. Three of Christianity’s most significant concepts—justification by faith, the Trinity, and communal monasticism—were all developed in this region. Today, the surreal landscape preserves hundreds of medieval cave churches and monasteries. We invite you to experience the story of Cappadocian Christianity.
The custom Church History Tours introduce you to Cappadocia’s rich legacy. Most tours in Cappadocia simply drop you off at sites to take selfies, then transport you to a Turkish carpet store where they earn kickbacks. However, Christian History Tours avoid the tourist traps and visit only the most beautiful and important sites in Cappadocia. The tours are designed for academics, practicing Christians, and anyone interested in Cappadocia’s history.
All tours include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, transportation, a professional guide, entrance fees, and lunch.
Church History Tour (Day 1)
Kaymaklı Underground City
Soğanlı Valley Churches
Göreme Open Air Museum
St. John the Baptist Church
Overview: This tour includes the top destinations in Cappadocia. You will visit an underground city, the two most important monastic valleys (Soğanlı Valley and Göreme Open Air Museum), and an isolated cave church. This itinerary allows you to experience a variety of architectural styles and centuries of history. Your tour guide will explain the history and meaning of Cappadocian sites.
Itinerary: The guide picks you up by 9 am. You drive through the provincial capital, Nevşehir, passing the newly discovered underground city and 17th-century town center. The first stop is Kaymaklı Underground City. Here, you experience Cappadocia’s finest underground settlement with a small church. Then you travel to the peaceful Soğanlı Valley to encounter several cave churches and monasteries. For lunch, you will enjoy a traditional Turkish meal at a garden café in Soğanlı Valley. In the afternoon, you return to the Göreme Open Air Museum to see Cappadocia’s finest and most important cave churches, such as Dark Church, Buckle Church, and several others. The final stop is an isolated cave church with stunning views of Cappadocia’s landscape. (The final visit varies for each tour—e.g., Grape, St. John the Baptist, Zindan, Pancarlık.) The guide drops you off at your hotel around 5 pm.
Church History Tour (Day 2)
Güzelyürt and Red Church
Tatlarin (Underground City and Double Church)
Overview: Embark on a second day to visit even more of Cappadocia’s amazing sites. You will encounter Cappadocia’s most impressive structures, hike a beautiful river valley, and visit a unique underground city.
Itinerary: The day starts at 9 am and you drive straight to the famous Ihlara Valley. During this early-morning hike through a deep gorge, you visit several of Cappadocia’s finest cave churches. Then you climb up Selime Castle, Cappadocia’s grandest cave settlement. You will enjoy a Turkish lunch in the beautiful community of Güzelyürt, Cappadocia’s most famous Greek village. After lunch, you visit Red Church, a stunning fourth-century masonry church. The final stop at Tatlarin includes an isolated double-church and an extended underground city. You arrive back at your hotel around 5 pm.
Half-Day History Trips
Half-day tours can be in the morning (9 am–1 pm) or afternoon (1 pm–5 pm). They include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel, transportation, a professional guide, and entrance fees. Lunch is not included in half-day tours.
Göreme Open Air Musuem—Take an in-depth tour of Cappadocia’s most famous site. The compact area includes Cappadocia’s four finest churches (Dark, Buckle, Sandal, and Apple), chapels, and refectory halls. Then escape the crowds and visit one of Göreme’s lesser-known churches, such as Aynalı, Durmuş Kadir, or El Nazar (depending on the season).
Özkonak—Özkonak is an ancient Turkish village 20 kilometers beyond Avanos. Visit the Underground City, one of the most enjoyable underground cities to walk through. Then explore the rock-cut Özkonak Monastery and Belha Church, one of Cappadocia’s oldest cave churches.
Soğanlı Valley—This beloved valley contains spectacular rock-cut churches and monasteries, yet receives few tourists. With stunning views and running water, this peaceful valley still has a monastic aura. The valley is one hour from Göreme and Ürgüp, so the half-day tour involves two hours of travel and about two hours of hiking to various churches around the valley.
Red Valley Hiking Trip—Hike five kilometers through Cappadocia’s stunning Red Valley, where you will encounter remote cave churches and hermitages. The hike starts at the panoramic view overlooking all of Cappadocia. This descends along Grape Church, Column Church, Cross Church, Three Crosses Church, and Rose Valley Monastic Area. Then visit St. John’s Church in Cavuşin. Because of Cappadocia’s arid climate, we recommend this hike in the spring or fall.
Mustafapaşa/Ürgüp—Orthodox Greek Christians resided in Cappadocia until 1924. Encounter Cappadocia’s modern Christian history in the quaint Greek town of Mustafapaşa. Visit the Monastic Valley and then the large St. Helena Church. Next, drive to Keşlik Monastery, Cappadocia’s largest monastic site, which local Greeks used until the 1920s. The day concludes with visits to the impressive Beet Church and Hallaç Monastery near Ürgüp.