https://www.artichaeology.com/ancient-sites-turkey
 
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SACRED IN SECRET
Old Byzantion Monastery carved into the Stone

In 1963, Some of Cappadocia's (Turkey) best-preserved ancient rock-hewn monastery and most captivating frescoes discovered as hidden within the rocks. The Monastery from the aerial wiew is a square structure from the surface to the underground level about 20X20 metres which was built by digging and carving the stone.

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The Monastery is covered with colourful Byzantine frescoes which were painted between the 7th and 11th centuries. The frescoe which depicts the elongated Mary giving a Mona Lisa smile is said to be the only smiling Mary depiction in the world.

The frescoe which depicts the elongated Mary giving a Mona Lisa smile

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Entrance of the Monastery

Although the frescoes are the monastery's most exciting feature, the warren of rooms are must to see  either. The complex is entered via a rock-cut passage, which opens onto a large courtyard with reservoirs for wine and oil. There is also a kitchen and a refectory. A small hole in the ground acts as a vent for a 9m-deep shaft leading to two levels of subterranean rooms. wisitors can descend through the chambers or climb to an upstairs bedroom.

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Above is the Armenian Cross in the monastery

 

Old Gümüşler Monastery is about 10 km northeast of Niğde province of Turkey. 

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OTHER SIMILAR EXAMPLES FROM THE WORLD

In many ancient countries of the world, such temples can be seen in rocks and underground. One of them is mysterious Kailasa temple located in Ellora Caves of Maharashtra in India. It is the largest monolithic building in the world without any doubt. It is said to symbolize Mount Kailash, Lord Shiva’s Himalayan abode, one of the most powerful Hindu deities, and it is only one of the 34 cave systems that have been excavated.

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THE CHURCH OF SAINT GEORGE

It is one of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela, a city in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Originally named Roha (Warwar), the historical and religious site was named Lalibela after the King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty, who commissioned its construction. He is regarded as a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

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