Formed by the Melendiz River thousands of years ago and more than 100 meters deep, the scenic Ihlara Valley is fourteen kilometers long, beginning in Ihlara and ending at the Selime Monasery. Hidden all along the valley and its walls are more than four thousand dwellings and one hundred churches, dating from the sixth through thirteenth centuries. An ideally secluded retreat for monks, the valley also sheltered local people during times of invasion. Many of the churches contain beautiful frescoes, some displaying more Asian influences, others more Byzantine in style.
Hiking the full trail between Ihlara village and Selime makes for a wonderfully scenic walk. Much of the path is blissfully serene, with farmers tilling their fields and shepherds grazing their flocks.