Buckle Church (Tokali Kilise)Just outside the museum exit on the right is the Buckle Church, the largest of the cave churches atGöreme. It can be entered with the same ticket as the main complex and should not be missed. Thefrescoes are also the finest in Göreme, with the richest colors and the most detail. It dates from the10th and 11th centuries and was restored in the 1960s. Crucifixion, early 10th century fresco in the Tokali ChurchThe Buckle Church is comprised of fourchambers, which are known as the OldChurch, New Church, Paracclesion and LowerChurch. The OldChurch (10th century) has asingle nave with a barrel vault. The frescoesgive a comprehensive account of the life ofChrist, from the Annunciation through theBaptism and Miracles and ending with thePassion, Resurrection and Ascension. TheTransfiguration is painted over the entranceand the vault has portraits of saints. Holy Marry and Baby Jesus
The Old Church now acts as a narthex for the NewChurch, which was added to the formers east sidearound 990-1010 AD. Its barrel-vaulted nave tells the story of Christ in deep red and blue hues. Thetransverse nave has frescoes of saints, scenes from the life of St. Basil, and the miracles of Christ.The largest church in the region, it is situated on a slope a few hundred metres from the group ofchurches within the Göreme open-air museum. The entrance, today, opens onto a long, barrel-vaulted atrium which leads to a transverse nave, somewhat larger in scale. The nave is separatedfrom an apse by a series of four columns supporting five arches. The apse is high and narrow. Thenarthex and atrium are known as the “old church” and the large flanking nave as the “new church.”Both parts of the church date from various periods, as do the frescos. Those on the walls of the oldchurch are dated to the beginning of the 10th century and are executed in a primitive provincialstyle. The frescos of the new church, which date to the second half of the 10th century, however,possess a quite well-developed realism. The use of blue pigment as in these frescos isiconographically unique for the region.The walls are decorated with frescos of scenesfrom the New Testament, in frieze form,particularly scenes from the life of Christ.There are also representations of saints andscenes from the iconography of the saints.Among the frescos are those illustrating anaccount of the life of Basilius, archbishop ofCaesareia.