Photo courtesy of Veronica Kalas

The largest and most sophisticated of the Peristrema Valley complexes, the Selime Kale, was hollowed out of the cliff face nearly 300 feet above ground level. A tunnel leads from ground-level stables and granaries up through the rock into the first of two central courtyards. To the west of the courtyard is a kitchen; to the east is the entrance to one of two large halls (see photos of Selime Kale’s halls). A tunnel at the end of the first hall leads into the second hall, at the northern end of which is a room, perhaps a sleeping chamber, with a cross carved into the ceiling. The southern end of the hall opens onto the second courtyard. Among the rock-cut spaces around the perimeter of this second courtyard is the complex’s church, which has been carefully positioned so that its apse faces east.