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Konya - Kilistra




Archaic city Kilistra is located 49 km south-west of Gökyurt / Hatunsaray.


The settlement in Kilistra is believed to be established first during the Hellenistik and Roman Times (BC the 2nd century - AD the 3rd century) according to result of the archaeological works.

During the excavation the name "Kilistra" was found inscribed on a Roman epitaph from the eastern grave being used as a threshhold stone. Kilistra, during the Byzantine age (BC the 8th century - AD the 13th century), also appears to have a rock-carved settlement similar to the ones in Cappadocia. Lystra, one of the Anatolian cities, is one the way between Ikonion (Konya) and Pisda Antiocheia (Yalvaç). It is on the famous King's Road. St. Paulos, whose name is mentioned in the Bible, is believed to have stopped by on his journey. Timotoes, to whom the messenger Paulos sent his letters, is also from Lystra.

The name given to the region, today "Paulönü", where the "Sümbül"ini church is located, is the evidence that his name is still being remembered.
The people of Lystra, who accepted Christianity during the Roman times, are believed to have chosen the mountainous terrain to protect themselves against assaults from the Paganish masses and looters. One of the most important hidden cities that are being explored is Kilistra.

Today the people of Gökyurt are settled on the archaic city of Kilistra. The excavations reveal that during the Byzantium period, Turks lived together with the natives of the Kilistra. There is also evidence that the nomadic tribes who raised mainly animals were forced to live there during the Ottoman period.


Agriculture and stock raising are the main activities of the people of Gökyurt village. Because of the geological features of the land, agriculture in some areas has to be carried out by animal power. Horses, donkeys and mules are used for this purpose. Squash is an important vegetable grown in the village, and it is an important wedding tradition to serve squash at the women's table.
Pickled azarole and wild plum, stewed wild pear, and a special drink made from wild grapes are typical ingredients for the cuisine of the vicinity. Viniculture is very common, and there is plenty of Pekmez (thick syrup made by boiling down the saccharine juice of any kind of fruit) production. Honey production using classical methods is of importance in the village economy. Women also contribute to the work in the field, stock rising, and stable works. The handicrafts and weaving have its traditional roots.


You can reach to Kilistra (Gökyurt) from the 15 km asphalt road by driving towards the southeastern of the Konya - Hakunsaray road which is about 34 km
It is also possible to go to Kilistra from the 15 km stabilized road by driving towards south from the 34th km of Konya - Antalya Highway.


You can reach the ancient city of Kilistra coming from the direction of Lystra (Hatunsaray) by following the King's route located in the east of Hatunsaray. Following the King's route allows you to view the undamaged stone flooring of that route. This route will lead you to the Devrek location with the observation tower and police station building controlling the city entrance. If you follow the antique road to the city centre, you can explore the meeting hall, typical caves, antique tombs and a number of other public buildings.

The cross - shaped chapel, Sandıkkay, in the south is an unique and interesting building with the interior and exterior carved from one piece of rock. Around the chapel are complementary buildings.

The other entrance of the King's route going over to the west also has an observation tower and police station. There is also a cistern where you'll find "Kapçı cave" which was used in pottery making in the latest periods. There is also village mension nearby in the village centre where you can get things such as food, drinks, etc.

The next main site is the Sümbül church, called the "Paulönü Location" by the villagers. It is south - west of the village mansion. To the west of the village mansion you can visit the cistern (Katirini), double - wine houses (must - house) in the söğütlü stream bed and irrigation trenches. In the Paulönü location one can view all the tones of green and see nature and history side by side in the valley.

While going to the grand cistern on the northern of the Ardıçlı Hill, you can see the monumental rocky tombs in the nekropal area.
The grand cistern (Katirini) is a three - naved, magnificent rock, one of the most attractive assets of the site. Turkish grape - houses along the stream bed and their water - channels on the western side of the cistern are also worth seeing as the buildings.


Kilistra archaic city was set up during early Byzantium ages on five different places in accordance with the natural rock formation in the region. Concealment is the main goal in the establishment costruction of the rock carved city. From the exterior, the settlement appears to be a natural rock but in interior there are large carved spaces. Illumination and ventilation had been provided by hidden loopholes. In the site there are religious buildings (i.e., chapels and churches), public buildings (i.e., houses, cisterns, fountains, wine - houses, etc.), and buildings for defence and security purposes (i.e., watch towers, garrison and shelters).

The living urbanized structure is slope style houses suitable to the topographic structures. While the people carry on using the ready - made old spaces in the architect carved in the rocks by changing their functions, they use the stones cut from the rocks as the main materials and shaped the buildings. The buildings are in stone from the bottom to the top, and have large rooms and flat roofs.


The rock formation, resembling fairy chimneys, formed by the volcanic tuff capped rocks still continues through the valley where the village is located. The valley is seen as if it were a forest of rocks, and gives panoramic views from the watching places in the settlement area. All tones of green are seen in the vicinity which is covered with vegetation that has local characteristics in the four seasons. The vegetation structure is scrub species mostly seen at tye foot of Taurus Mountains. The oak forests consisting of ash tree, Mediterranean medlar, wild pear, wild plum, oleaster and rose hip trees with walnut, almond trees give wonderful natural view.The wild life in the forest structure coutinues in full variety.

The scrub plant growing like a squat tree having wild grape - like fruit in bunches named by the villagers as "Gılabba" (Gilabori - Viburnum opulus) is consumed for health care purposes.


Gökyurt is a small lovely village that keeps traditional Turkish hospitality alive. The village mansion is suitable for accommodating groups. The mansion was a public building previously and has been restored, modernized and enlarged by adding another storey to the building.