Açık Saray (Open Palace)
Açık Saray Harabeleri Nevşehir-Gülşehir yolu üzerinde, Gülşehir'e 3 km uzaklıktadir. Bu kucuk antik yerlesim yerinin Bizanslilar devrinde 10-11 yuzyilda yapildigi tahmin edilmektedir.
Bu donemde tuf kayalar icine oyularak, ortasindan bir dere ile ile ayrilan iki ayri mekan yapilmistir.
Yol kenarindaki birinci mekanda daha cok hayvan ahirlari yapilmis olup, dinsel mekanlara pek rastlanmamistir. Burasinin 964/65 yillarinda bolgede konaklayan Bizans Imparatoru Nikephoros Phokas'in ordusu tarafindan kullanildigi tahmin edilmektedir.
Imparator Phokas'in zyaretindene sonra bu bolge 100-150 yil daha Bizanslilarin egemenliginde kalmis, ancan bu donem 1071 yilinda Turklerin Malazgirt zaferiyle Anadolu'ya girmeleri ile son bulmustur.
Cok sayida hayvan ve insani barindirabilecek bir mekan olmasi nedeniyle, burasinin daha sonra cesitli amaclarla kullanildigini, ve bir ticaret bolgesi haline geldigini iddia eden bilim adamlari vardir.
Derenin karsi tarafinda yapilan ikinci mekanin 10. yuzyil ortalari veya ikinci yarisinda yapildigi tahmin edilmektedir. Burasinin cok katli bir yerlesim alani olarak yapildigi, ve kaya icerisine oyulan kiliselere bakilarak onemli bir piskoposluk merkezi oldugu dusunulmektedir. Donemin din adamlari once burada konaklayarak Avrupa ve Asya'ya seyahatlerine devam etmislerdir.
Acik Saray'da, Roma Dönemine ait kaya mezarları da bulunmustur.
Acik Saray'i ziyaret etmek izin gunun en iyi zamani sabah saatleridir, cunku gunesin yansimasi, kaya yuzeyinin muhtesem guzelligini daha belirgin bir hale getirmektedir.
Aciksaray gibi diger Kapadokya yeralti sehirlerinin bir tasviri
Yeralti sehirlerinin en eski katlari genelde giris katlari olup, dha ziyade ahir olarak kullanilmistir. Bunun nedeni de hayvanlari daha asagi katlara indirmenin zorlugundandir. Gerek kisin gerekse yazin ilik olan yeralti sehirlerinde sirahaneler ve mutfaklar genelde ust kattadir. Yoreden elde edilen uzumlerin islenerek sarap haline getirildigi sirahaneler, uzumlerin kolay tasinabilmesi icin daha cok ust katlara insa edilmislerdir.
Katlar arasinda mekanlari birbirinden ayiran, savunma amacli surgu taslari bulunmaktadir. Bu taslarin disaridan acilmasi asla mumkun olmayip sadece iceriden acilabilmektedirler. Surgu taslarinin agirliklari 200-500 kg’dir. Ortalarinda yealan delik kapiyi acip kapamaya yaradigi gibi, arkadan gelecek dusmani gormeye de yaramaktadir. Yani modern zamandaki kapi delikleri gibi.
Katlar arasinda odalarin tavan ve taban kisimlarinda iletisim maksadiyla yapilmis, capi 5-10 cm’yi gecmeyen haberlesme delikler bulunmaktadir. Bu delikler sayesinde yeralti sehri halki uzun yorucu tunellerden gecmek zorunda kalmamakta, olaganustu zamanlarda ise kolay ve cabuk bir sekilde savunma tedbirlerini alabilmektedir.
Tuvalet konusu henuz tam olarak aydinliga kavusmamistir. Sadece Tatlarin ve Guzelyurt (Gelveri) yeralti sehirlerinde tuvalet bulunmustur.
Open Palace Ancient Underground City -The Cradle of the Christianity
15 km outside Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir-Gulsehir road (route 765), you will come across a deserted cave-village with rock-cut dwellings and chapels, to which the local inhabitants have quite recently given the name Aciksaray (Open Palace). The village is remarkable for its facades and the weird-looking formations, some resembling huge mushrooms, trees, even human faces.
A mushroom shaped rock in Acik Saray
This small settlement can be dated back to the 10th or 11th centuries. It covers an area of one square kilometer and contains eight complexes gathered around three-sided courtyards, each with a decorated main facade.
The first complex on the right when you enter Aciksaray from the Nevsehir-Gulsehir road has one of the best elaborate facade in Cappadocia. The complex has two irregular rooms and one rectangular, in which a large equal-armed cross is carved on the interior wall above the entrance. Their heads are lost, because a window-like opening has been cut on the wall. The motif of the bull, which is regarded as sacred by the Neolithic communities in Anatolia and the Hittites, can only be seen in Aciksaray.
History of Open Palace Ruins
Gülsehir Open Palace Ruin has been the centre of the christianity for centuries.
As it was stated in the bible the apostle St. Paul has mignated with his supporters to the Cappadocia after fighting with the Jews in Tarsus. First, they have settled Petrus, Philipus, Mathaus and Jacobus is the evidence how the Open Palace is an important settin place. The apostles had begun their mission journeys from here to Europe and Asia.
For the each apostle, a church, which was made larger and more beatiful time after time, has been built here.
There are twelve niches in all of the churches which are carved from the sixth century till the tenth century. Although they all kept their originality, they dropped in the erosion.
The south of the town is Aciksaray (Open Palace), a multistory underground monestry. Instead of frescoes relief designs are the usual forms of decoration. Directly adjacent stand two churches, one on top of the other. The upper Church Karsi Kilise has some smoke-darkened 9-13th century frescoes, while below is a small cruciform church.
This important area of ruins is situated 3km from Gülşehir. There are numerous rock cuttings including Roman tombs, and churches dating back to the 9th 11th centuries in this important bishopric.
Rock formations in the shape of mushrooms are unique to this area.
An illustration of a Cappadoccian underground city
It is preferable to visit the place in the morning when the sun shines on the remarkable facades and the weird-looking formations.
You have to set time yourself if you want to have unforgettable travel to the past, to discover the new churches and the monasteries, to get the unforgettable memories and to see the past how wonderful it is.
Acik Saray in Cappadocia and Byzantine Travellers
by Alexander Grishin, Australian National University
The site known as Acik Saray (Turkish for Open Palace) in Cappadocia has long attracted the attention of Byzantinists.
Early scholars including Rott (1908), de Jerphanion (1925-42), Verzone (1962) and Kostov (1972) have interpreted this large sprawling complex as a series of monasteries, similar to those found at Goreme, Gullu Dere and Soganli Dere.
Rodley, in her valuable account published in 1985, discussed Acik Saray in the context of her category of courtyard monasteries, but sounded a note of caution in the lack of identifiable ecclesiastical structures and hinted at a possible secular function for this complex.
Bryer, in his review of Rodley's book, made the passing comment that Acik Saray was possibly the site of an annual fair, on the lines of the nearby Seljuk one of Yabanlu at Pazaroren.
Based on a fresh survey of the site which I carried out in 1996/97, it appears that Acik Saray, far from being a single enormous complex, can be convincingly divided into two quite separate complexes, physically divided by a stream.
The complex which runs along the course of the old road, one which now links the Turkish towns of Nevsehir and Gulsehir, is characterised by a large number of rock-carved stables and living quarters and while obviously belonging to the Byzantine period, has no obvious monastic function. In Byzantine Cappadocia, monasteries are characterised by a proliferation of churches and burial sepulchres.
Internal chronology suggests a date for this complex towards the middle or second half of the tenth century. There is ample evidence that the complex was built with great haste and all at the same time. In structure it appears to be designed to house a large number of people with their horses, in short, possible a staging point for an army.
Through literary sources we know that Emperor Nikephoros Phokas brought his army to Cappadocia and here they spent the winter of 964/65. A few kilometres down the road, at Cavusin, in a huge carved church, in the prothesis apse, there is a painted monumental depiction of the emperor. It seems quite possible that this part of Acik Saray was hastily excavated to house part of the imperial Byzantine cavalry.
The second complex, located on the opposite side of the stream, appears to date from the eleventh century and conforms to a typical Byzantine ecclesiastical settlement in Cappadocia. A careful examination of the site reveals the existence of several churches (most previously unnoticed) and the possible remains of others.
There is also evidence of numerous burials. From the archaeological evidence, the relationship between the two complexes is unclear and it is also uncertain as to whether the first complex remained a military post after the emperor's victorious swoop through Anatolia.
Following Nikephoros Phokas' visit, Cappadocia became a secure inner province of the empire for almost a hundred and fifty years until the disaster of Manzikert.
There is little physical evidence for the prolonged occupation of the first complex, with only limited wear on the stone in the living quarters and stables and only a modest accumulation of soot in the kitchens. This does open up the possibility that the complex was subsequently used periodically, possibly for something like a trade fair.