As Karballa, or Gelveri, Güzelyurt was
a prosperous Ottoman-Greek town specializing
in farming and goldsmithing.
of Nations population exchange following
World War I took its hundreds of
Greek-speaking families to Greece,
where they founded the town of Nea
Karvali. The exchange brought Muslim
families from the Greek towns of Kastoria
and Kozan to re-populate Karballa,
now renamed Güzelyurt ("Beautiful
As with many such exchanges, the number
of Muslim families who came to Güzelyurt was far fewer than what the town could
absorb, so many buildings went unused.
This was fortuitous, as those buildings
were not expanded or modified, but
kept their traditional appearance.
Today Güzelyurt is preserved
by law from modern development that
does not fit its character. Local
stone must be used, and buildings must be
appropriate to the town.
Most prominent among local monuments
is the Great Church Mosque (Büyük
Kilise Camii),built in 1896 as
of St Gregory of Nazianzus to
replace a much older church built on
this site in 385. More...
On your way between the underground
cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu
to the east and the Ihlara
Valley to the
west (map), stop in
a glass of tea, a meal, or even overnight.
Güzelyurt has its own small underground
city beneath the town center,
churches converted to mosques,
and a dramatic setting beneath
the snow-capped summit of Hasan Dağı.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Above, Güzelyurt's Great
Below, dining room at the
once a monastery refectory.