Çanlı Kilise

Çanlı Kilise, meaning "bell church" or "church with a bell", is a Byzantine-era ruin site located about 15 km southeast of the city of Aksaray in Turkey.: xix, 6  It consists of a large rock-cut settlement surrounding a prominent masonry church which lends its name to the whole site.: 6  A rare masonry church from the historical region of Cappadocia, the church is one of the best examples of Byzantine masonry architecture in central Anatolia and is frequently cited in textbooks on Byzantine architecture.: 17  Surrounding the church is a series of rock-carved houses carved into the south side of a hill (locally called Manastırtepe, or "monastery hill") over a distance of about one kilometer.Read more

Çanlı Kilise, meaning "bell church" or "church with a bell", is a Byzantine-era ruin site located about 15 km southeast of the city of Aksaray in Turkey.: xix, 6  It consists of a large rock-cut settlement surrounding a prominent masonry church which lends its name to the whole site.: 6  A rare masonry church from the historical region of Cappadocia, the church is one of the best examples of Byzantine masonry architecture in central Anatolia and is frequently cited in textbooks on Byzantine architecture.: 17  Surrounding the church is a series of rock-carved houses carved into the south side of a hill (locally called Manastırtepe, or "monastery hill") over a distance of about one kilometer.: 7 : 302  Across the broad valley to the south, the peaks of Hasan Dağı are visible.: 7  Çanlı Kilise is accessible by a road winding its way from Akhisar, 4 km to the west on the plain below, up through a rugged hilly area en route to Çeltek, which is 6 km north of Çanlı Kilise on the same road.: 7 

Based on its architecture and the styles of the paintings, Çanlı Kilise appears to primarily date from the 10th and 11th centuries.: 302  It then went into a period of gradual decline before being abandoned altogether, perhaps as late as the 14th century.: 302  There is a high concentration of large "courtyard" houses, indicating that it was a prosperous agricultural settlement or kome, with many affluent landowners.: 302  Çanlı Kilise is the best-known example of these houses, which probably represent mansions belonging to members of the landed military nobility in Cappadocia. Today, some of its rock-cut complexes are used by local farmers as shelters for livestock.: xix 

Although now somewhat remote, the settlement at Çanlı Kilise was close to important sites during its heyday and thus would have been relatively well-connected.: 8–9  Nearby Aksaray was then called Koloneia and served as an important crossroads for the region, while the major episcopal center of Mokissos lay a short distance to the southeast at the foot of Hasan Dağı.: 8–9  Most importantly, at the old site at Akhisar (above the present-day village), there are traces of a fort which has been identified with the Hisn Sinan of contemporary Arabic sources.: 8–9  Guarding the entrance to the Cappadocian highlands, Hisn Sinan was the most strategically important Byzantine fortification in the region, and one of the most critical defense points in all of Asia Minor.: 8–9  Given how close the two were, the settlement at Çanlı Kilise must have been closely associated with the one at Hisn Sinan.: 8–9 

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