Hallac Hospital Monastery

Hallac Hospital Monastery

Hallac Hospital Monastery is a hidden gem located in a peaceful valley to the northeast of Ortahisar town in Nevsehir, Turkey. Despite its proximity to many popular tourist spots in Cappadocia, the monastery is often overlooked by visitors, except for those on Jeep Safari Tours.

The highlight of the Hallac complex is a charming three-sided courtyard with pigeon houses perched on elevated rock levels. Unfortunately, the courtyard has been neglected for decades, resulting in a buildup of over one meter of silt.

Hallac Hospital Monastery

As for the monastery's interior, behind the north façade, visitors can find two square rooms measuring 4 by 4 meters, which flank the long central hall. The three halls are interconnected via internal passageways. The west room was originally carved as an ornately decorated recessed area, which was later repurposed to house pigeons and other animals.

The central hall follows a basilica plan, featuring a barrel-vaulted room flanked by flat side-aisles. In the center of the building, five pillars support six short arches on each side, and the circular ceiling springs from a protruding molding along both sides. At each end of the space, an arch creates an apse, likely used as living spaces for people.

The Hallac complex features a smaller room (measuring 8 by 12 meters) on its west side, which is unfortunately in poor condition. The entrance on the northwestern corner leads into an L-shaped cross-in-square arrangement with a central dome, resembling the nave architecture of many other churches from this period. Unlike those other churches, however, this space lacks any east apse or aisle structures, making it more like a large private chapel. The room is accessible through doorways both outside and inside of its walls.

One notable feature of this room is a very strange figure of a person hanging from the east arch. This is the only human figure carved into the rock in all of Cappadocia. The figure wears a tunic robe and pointed hat, suggesting that it may have been created by a Georgian mason who immigrated to Cappadocia during the construction of this church. Alternatively, it may have been the work of local artists who were influenced by Georgian architecture in the area.

On the south side of the complex is a large room that was once used as a kitchen. Unfortunately, much of it has eroded inward over time. The square space features a cone-shaped ceiling and a chunk of burnt rock that allowed smoke to escape. Rooms are lined along the upper level.