Virgin Mary Slept Here?

Before my stay in Kula, Turkey, I visited Cappadocia. (See previous blog.)

Cappadocia lies in the south central region of the country and is famous partly for its landscape and partly due to the fact that for thousands of years, humans have made use of the natural caves as storage, housing. military fortresses and for escape routes. The early Christians went there to live, at times to escape from groups who were persecuting them. They, like others before them, used the natural caves as dwellings and churches. Indeed, many tales are told to tourists about how Jesus’s mother, Mary, visited the area, so much so I began to flash on the “George Washington slept here” stories you get when you tour the states that made up the original 13 of the USA.

Whether you are interested in history, Biblical history or you’re just a fan of geology and scenery, Cappadocia will amaze and delight you.

Cappadocia2See? Here are some of the cave houses near Goreme.Goreme outside viewThese are of a place called the Fortress of Uchisar.

Below is one of the churches. The builders carved domes and built columns using the natural stone. Most of the Goreme churches date from the 11th to 13th century. These murals are dedicated to St. Gregory who died around 390. Some of the churches are very small and I was lucky to be able to stand inside a few of them without a big crowd. Normally, they let in at least one big tour bus of people at a time, but I’d arranged a guide with an Italian couple and he somehow got us in between the big groups, if only for very few minutes. Standing almost alone, in silence. in such an old and beautiful place made my skin tingle.

St. Gregory'sI found the most interesting frescoes to be those created during the period where images of the human body were forbidden. Artists developed special symbols, almost like a code, to represent Biblical figures and stories. Sorry, I wasn’t able to photograph those.

These formations are particularly weird.

Cappadocia1I arrived and left via public transportation. One of the roadside rest areas had these signs. I never found out what all of the symbols refer to. Anyone have any ideas?

Road signsThanks for coming on the tour. Please leave a comment, especially if you can decipher the road signs!

I am the author of two mystery novels, School of Lies and Deadly Traffic, published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. For information check the website: I’m also a contributing writer to the online serial novel, Rubicon Ranch: Secrets.

~ by mickeyhoffman on June 28, 2013.

8 Responses to “Virgin Mary Slept Here?”

  1. Sorry, can’t decipher the roadsigns, but I wanted to say that as usual, your pictorial tour was incredible. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have such memories!

  2. I did eventually get some good guesses, but why spoil the fun and tell?

  3. Hi Mickey,

    I found this blog about your visit to Cappadocia while using the internet to search for Christian carvings/paintings on stone in Turkey. I’m hoping I can ask you some questions about the images you saw in the Gerome caves, particularly the images you were not able to photograph.

    You mentioned in the early years Christians were not able to depict images of the human body. Were they able to use forms that in any way resembled a body? I have a specific symbol in mind that I’m wondering if you may have seen while touring the caves. If you’d be willing, maybe I could email you the image and you could let me know if you had seen anything that resembles it?

    I hope you enjoyed your visit to Turkey.

    Thank you for your time,

    Kelly Borgen

  4. Hi again,

    I realize this is long time past, and not sure if you wanted any feedback on the signs, but my two cents, top to bottom, left to right: Swimming, Entertainment (dancing,etc.), Lodging, Hospital?, Parking, Gas, Food, Coffee, Shopping, Salon. 🙂


  5. The images I’m interested in you may not have photographs of, as you stated you were unable to photograph many of the non-human-like images that were in the caves. I have an image of something I’d be interested in sharing with you (via email), if you’d be willing to take a look at it. I’m wondering if you recall seeing anything similar to it in the caves or if you have a photo of it. Would you be willing to take a look at this image I could send you?

    Thank you so much for your time and help. I really appreciate it.


  6. Surely, someone at a university would have copies of those images. They’re very famous because they were used as a “code” during the iconoclastic era. I remember seeing a Greek professor talking about them on some TV show.

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