Guzelyurt (meaning “beautiful land” in Turkish) or Gelveri in Greek is one of the most interesting towns in Cappadocia. By the beginning of 20th century, the town had a composed population with many Christian Orthodox families. The houses were actively used until 1924 when population exchange had happened between Greeks and Turks.
All the Christian citizens from this town and all over Turkey had to leave their country to Greece as well as all the Turkish Muslim citizens in Greece had to move out from Greece to Turkey because of the same population compulsory. According to the officials, about 1.2 million Christians left Turkey while about 600.000 people came from Greece.
The people coming from Greece were accommodated in the houses of Greek villagers who left their villages. As the number of people arriving to the town was much less than the people left from the town, most of the houses were abandoned and nobody is still using these houses. Most of the houses were unfortunately left to the mercy of the weather for decades.
Guzelyurt has many churches, but the most important one is the Church of Saint Gregorius Ologos Nazianzus. The church is dating back to 385, which is proving it to be the earliest church ever known in Cappadocia region. St. Gregory or Gregorius was one of the three Fathers of Cappadocia who served to improve Christianity a lot in Ihlara Valley and Guzelyurt area. The church has been restored several times and finally converted into a mosque after 1924. It is possible to visit this church and see how big theChristian population was once in the town.
The town has two small underground cities and a very nice viewpoint where you can see St. Gregory Church and Mount Hasan, which is one of the volcanoes in Cappadocia. While climbing up to the viewpoint, you can also see Sivisli Church, which is dating back to 19th century.