Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 12
Yesterday we visited the Open Air Museum at Goreme, in Cappadocia. There are a cluster of churches in this area, which were inhabited by monks and nuns. Much of the painting remains, although it may be difficult to view these photos, as many had to be taken without a flash. The sense of the sacred in this space was overwhelming, especially in regard to the acoustics in the small altar spaces within the caves.
There was a mixture of very simple shapes painted in a red/rust paint and the more elaborate frescos and paintings directly on the surface of the rock. One theory is that once the space was carved out into a worship space, there was a need to protect that space from invasion by evil spirits. Hence, the simple geometric/religious shapes. Later, then, the religious paintings would be added. Another theory is that the Christians were influenced by the Islamic code that prohibited images of humans and any living being. There was a period where icons were banned (iconoclast = broken icon), so this may have influenced the type of designs and paintings that were created in these cave churches. More later...
Last night we went to view a Sufi Whirling Dervish Ritual... I am overwhelmed by what we have seen and heard the past few days. This is our last full day in Cappadocia, so right now I need to get some protein in for the day's journeys...
May you sense the sacred in the everyday around you today...and may you carry that strong silence with you as you move through your morning into your night.

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