The Red Church: Cappadocia Off The Beaten Track

History Of The Red Church

It was built in the name of St. Gregory, a 4th century saint, who was one of the founders of Orthodoxy. He spent his last days in a farm house in the Güzelyurt Region and was buried there. Back then, the Red Church served as a stop and place of worship for Christian pilgrims. It is one of the oldest churches in the Cappadocia Region.

Architectural Features Of The Red Church

Architectural features and frescoes suggest that the church was built in the 5th or 6th century.  Large and well-cut stones were used both inside and outside the church and it was built in free-cross plan. It was named “Red Church” due to the fact that red stones were used in during the construction. Due to the abundance of cross carvings above the doors and windows, it is also called the “Church with Crosses”.

There are three entrances to the church. With all its features, it is similar to early Cappadocian masonry buildings. Horseshoe apse has five facades. The dome is built of stone and it rises on four tromps. It has a very high hoop. There are frescoes of saints inside a medallion on the apse hoop. Moreover, there is a small chapel located 100 meters northwards of the Red Church.

Many sources indicate that St. Gregory spent his last days in a farm house there. The structural remains of a priest house near the church support this claim.

In 2008, the Red Church was named in the “List of World’s 100 Most Endangered Historic Buildings” by World Monuments Fund. The restoration of the church started in 2011. The dome has been completed, and the rest of the church is still being restored.

Where Is The Red Church?

Argun Konuk
Argun Konuk

I am a 24 year old Turkish travel & history enthusiast, sharing my travel experiences in Turkey and different parts of the world!

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