Infancy cycle, Chapel 16, Göreme
Original Country
Sorting Title
Infancy cycle, Chapel 16, Göreme

Portion of the Infancy Cycle: the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Proof of the Virgin and Presentation

Creation Date
Style Genre
Work Type
Format Medium

Red and yellow ochre painted directly on rock

Original Location

Chapel 16, Göreme.

Specific Location

South side of church.

Historical Context

Chapel 16 is part of a large network of rooms, including a refectory, irregularly shaped rooms, and multiple chapels. Scholars refer to this entire complex as unit 9. Based on the fact that one of the chapels is named Kılzar Kilise, or “girls’ church,” scholars believe that this complex was once a female monastery. The monastery is 6-7 stories tall, and the various levels of the monastery are connected by tunnels. “Millstone doors” were used to close off the tunnels if necessary.

Chapel 16 was a transverse-barrel-vaulted chapel with three apses. Only the south part of the chapel remains, specifically, part of the main apse, the south apse, and the south end of the barrel vault. At one time, the church was fully painted with an infancy cycle. Only a portion of the infancy cycle has endured the test of time. The remaining scenes include the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Proof of the Virgin and Presentation. The vault had a band of medallions along its crest, of which the medallions of Moses and Elias are still in situ. On the south wall are scenes of the life and martyrdom of St. George. The apse was once decorated with a Deesis, part of which can be seen today.

Current Repository

Open-air Museum of Göreme (Outside of Göreme Center on the road to Üçhisar).

Secondary Sources

Cave monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia, Byzantine wall painting in Asia Minor, Les églises byzantines de Cappadoce : le programme iconographique de l’abside et de ses abords, Etudes cappadociennes, Sacred art of Cappadocia : Byzantine murals from the 6th to 13th centuries, Les saints et leur sanctuaire à byzance : textes, images et monuments, La Cappadoce médiévale : images et spiritualité, Caves of God : Cappadocia and its churches, Caves of God: the monastic environment of Byzantine Cappadocia, Spätbyzantinische Wandmalerei in den Höhlenkirchen Kappadokiens in der Türkei, The Byzantine wall paintings of Kiliçlar Kilise : aspects of monumental decoration in Cappadocia, Byzantinische Apsisnebenräume : Untersuchung zur Funktion der Apsisnebenräume in den Höhlenkirchen Kappadokiens und in den mittelbyzantinischen Kirchen Konstantinopels, Templonanlagen in den Höhlenkirchen Kappadokiens, The liturgical planning of Byzantine churches in Cappadocia, Kapadokya kaya kiliselerinde üç gün, Upper-Story Chapels Near the Sanctuary in Churches of the Christian East,
The Problem of Provincialism: Byzantine Monasteries in Cappadocia and Monks in South Italy, Survey of the Byzantine Settlement at Çanh Kilise in Cappadocia: Results of the 1995 and 1996 Seasons, Middle and Later Byzantine Wall Painting Methods. A Comparative Study, Apostolic Monasticism at Tokalı Kilise in Cappadocia, Haut Moyen-Age en Cappadoce, Une nouvelle province de l’art byzantin : les églises rupestres de Cappadoce, Les Femmes et le monachisme byzantin : actes du symposium d’Athènes, 28-29 mars 1988 = Women and byzantine monasticism : proceedings of the Athens symposium, 28-29 March 1988, Painted Sources for Female Piety in Medieval Byzantium

Photo Credit
Dina Boero
Dina Boero
Image of Infancy cycle, Chapel 16, Göreme.