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Karadağ: the city of a “Thousand and One Churches”

Nestled 45 kilometers from the bustling city center, amidst the Konya-Karaman border, lies the dormant volcanic marvel of Karadağ. While its geological magnificence may capture immediate attention, it’s the surrounding historical treasures that truly unveil the essence of Anatolian culture.

Karadağ is home to numerous churches, monasteries, and tombs forming what is famously known as the “Thousand and One Churches,” and is sometimes referred to as the ancient city of Barata, although its ancient name is not definitively known.

On the slopes of Karadağ, which has been home to many civilizations for thousands of years, traces of dozens of civilizations from the Hittites to the Ottomans can be seen.

The churches of Karadağ are not merely structures; they are portals to understanding the religious and cultural mosaic of Anatolia. Their architectural styles bear witness to the influences of various civilizations that once thrived in the region, from Byzantine to Seljuk and beyond.

Among the most notable structures is the Church of St. Stephen, a testament to Byzantine craftsmanship with its domed ceilings and finely crafted mosaics.

Adjacent to the churches lie the remnants of monastic complexes, where devout monks once sought solace and enlightenment. The echoes of their prayers still linger in the air, creating an atmosphere of reverence and introspection.

Moreover, the tombs scattered throughout the area offer insights into ancient burial customs and rituals. Each tomb tells a story of lives lived, commemorating the departed in stone and mortar.

Beyond their historical significance, the “Thousand and One Churches” of Karadağ serve as cultural landmarks, bridging the past with the present. They remind us of the enduring legacy of Anatolian civilization and the importance of preserving our collective heritage for future generations.

Location Map

Further reading: Binbirkilise and Mount Karadağ

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Lyn Ward

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