Koramaz Valley

Koramaz Valley

Koramaz Valley is situated in the heart of Anatolia's Kayseri Province and spans 12 kilometers to the east and west. It is a fault line with a base elevation of 1500 meters on the east edge and rises to 1665 meters on the west edge. Numerous streams flow through the valley, some of which form their own valleys, while others seep underground and resurface as fountains. All of these streams eventually converge at Koramaz Stream.

The valley is home to seven residential areas, as well as several abandoned settlements from ancient times. The valley still contains various structures, including pigeon lofts, columbaria, mausoleums, tumuli, underground defense works, caves, temples, and churches that date back to the first millennium AD. These buildings have significant historical importance, especially during the Pagan-Christian conflicts in the Roman Empire. The valley's unique design and the daily lives of its inhabitants have remained in harmony.

Koramaz Valley

The region has 42 rock churches and seven different hamlets. The largest chapel measures 1.5 by 4 meters and dates back to the middle of the first millennium AD. Some of the chapels were later converted into storehouses and pigeon coops. Out of the 42 rock churches, only four still have frescoes, while others have tunnel vaults with horseshoe-shaped apses.

Koramaz Valley, located in modern-day Kayseri Province in central Anatolia, served as an ideal burial location due to its strategic position on the outbound road and its proximity to the city center. As a result, 21 columbaria were constructed in the valley, serving as mass graves for non-elite Roman citizens' ashes in ceramic cups after cremation. Of these, 14 feature domed architectural elements, with at least 100 and 200 bays located at the beginning and end of each columbarium, respectively. The presence of graveyard niches on the walls distinguishes these structures from other graves.

Collegia were social membership groups that organized burial operations in the valley. However, with the transition from Paganism to Christianity, these group burial sites lost their significance and were converted into pigeon lofts by installing pipes on the ceilings.

The valley is also home to hundreds of ancient stone houses, six historic stone bridges, 26 historical fountains, five historic watermills, and five tumuli dating back thousands of years. Many of the stone dwellings were constructed atop caves that were previously used by humans.

In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Koramaz Valley was added to the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2020.