One of the most important centers in Cappadocia is Urgup, 20 km to the east of Nevsehir. Like Goreme, Urgup also had different names in history; Osiana (Assiana) in the Byzantine Period, Bashisar during the Seljuk Peroid, Burgut Castle in the Ottoman Period and Urgup as of the early years of the Republic.
The earliest known settlement in the area was on the skirts of Mount Avla, to the north of Damsa river called as “Tomissos” in the antiquety. Though, the most important remains belonging to the later period are the Roman tombs found in the towns and villages near Urgup. Also an important religious center during the Byzantine Period, Urgup was a bishopric of the rock-cut churches and monasteries found in the villages, towns and valleys cut churches and monastreies found in the villages, towns and valleys around Urgup.
In the 11th century, Urgup was an important citadel connecting with Ni?de and Konya, important towns of Seljuks. The two buildings from this period are the Altikapili (Six Gates) and Temenni Tepesi (Wish Hill) tombs found in the town center. The 13th century Altikapili tomb, housing the remains of a mother and her two daughters, has six sides each with an arched window and no roof. Although researchers think that this is unlikely, one of the two tombs on the Temenni Hill is believed to belong to Seljuk Sultan Ruknettin Kilicarslan Iv, built by Vecihi Pasha in 1268 and is known as “Kilicarsalan Tomb” by the locals. The other one is believed to belong to Alaaddin Keykubat III.
Urgup became a part of the Ottoman empire in 1515. It was the first time in the 18th century when Damat Ybrahim Pasha, the Ottoman Grand Vezier, established the governorship in Nevsehir (Muskara). Urgup was then administered by the governorship making Urgup secondary in importance.
In his history and geography book “Kamus-ul Alam” written between 1888 and 1890, Semseddin Sami mentions 70 mosques, 5 churches and 11 libraries in Urgup.
Pancarlik valley lies to the south of Ortahisar, and to the right of the road leading from Urgup to Mustafapasa. The Pancarlik Church has one nave, one apse and a flat ceiling. The frescoes in this church are well preserved, and most of them are painted on a green background. At first glance it appears that two different artists were responsible for the paintings, but on closer inspection it is apparent that the same artist painted all the frescoes. Yn the church, the scenes from the Bible follow one another in sequence and portraits of saints in insets border these scenes on both sides. The churc dates back to the first half of the 11th century.
Tagar Church (Of St.Theodore)
The village of Yesiloz, which houses the Tagar Tagar Church (Of St.Theodore), lies to the right of the urgup-Kayseri road, about 8.5km from Urgup. The dome of this “T” planned church is now covered in glass, the original having collapsed. The upper floor galerry is reached by a stairway, and this is the only example of such churc architecture in Cappadocia. The generally well preserved frescoes were painted by three artists, all in their own style. This church, devoted to St.Theodore, dates back to the 11th-13th centuries.
Mustafa Pasa (Sinasos)
Mustafapaşa 6km to the south of Ürgüp, was inhabited by Greek Orthodox families until the beginning of the 20th century. The houses dating back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries display fine examples of stonework. The Gömede valley, to the west of Mustafapaşa, resembles a small version of the Ihlara valley. As at Ihlara, the walls of the valley house churches and shelters carved from the rock, and a river runs through the valley.
The important churches and monastreies around Mustafapaşa are, the church of Aios Vasilos, the Church of Constantine-HNelene, churches in the Monastery Valley and, the Church of St.Basil in the Gömede valley.
There is also a caravanserai built during the Ottoman period and displaying fine examples of stone masonry and woodcraft.