UNESCO Cities of Design

The depiction of Seljuk Sultan Mesud II with a turban and kaftan on Kırkdamaltı Church at Ihlara Valley in Aksaray province, known as the “gate to Cappadocia,” is gaining attention. Sultan Mesud II is praised with the words “The holy of the holiest” on the church walls.

Aksaray Municipality Culture Center’s Manager Mustafa Fırat Gül noted that Ihlara Valley was home to various civilizations and added, “Ihlara Valley is not only a piece of heaven in the middle of a steppe. It has been home to various beliefs. We can notice that many civilizations and nations lived here together. The Kırkdamaltı Church has different characteristics.”

“We witness that the ruling state respects and shows tolerance to another religion. Seljuk Sultan Mesud II, who was ruling at the end of the 13th Century, had shown respect especially to Orthodox Christians.” he added.

“Seljuk Turks tolerated different beliefs and allowed them to worship. Therefore, non-Muslims reciprocated to this gesture and showed respect to Sultan Kılıçarslan and the ruler he assigned and they have depicted them on their churches. We would like everyone to see this scene, which has welcomed visitors for 700 years,” he said.