Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

The ruined church of Güllübahçe: urbex in Turkey!

We have this thing with abandoned buildings. That meant that we couldn’t skip a visit to the ruined church of Güllübahçe while on the way to Priene and Eski Doğanbey. The Aziz Nikolaos or Saint Nicholas church was built by the Greeks in 1821 on top of the remains of an older church. Its peaceful location high up in the village of Güllübahçe offers splendid views of the valley below, all the way to Lake Bafa at the far end of the horizon. The church ruins consist of two buildings, the church itself and an ossuary or charnel house located in the church’ gardens. A fascinating sight for urbex and non-urbex lovers alike!

Front Of The Church With The Bell Tower On The Narthex

Front Of The Church With The Bell Tower On The Narthex

It Must Have Been Majestic!

It Must Have Been Majestic!

A beautiful ruined church: Aziz Nikolaos in Güllübahçe

A lot of places in Turkey show the beauty of decay. Take Kayaköy near Fethiye, for example, which is a complete ghost village, and a great place to walk around in. The Aziz Nikolaos church in Güllübahçe may be just a church, but this ruined church is worth a small detour. The warning sign outside the church’ garden walls say it is forbidden and dangerous to enter the church, but the graffiti art everywhere shows that we’re not the first ones entering this place.

Peeping Through A Window

Peeping Through A Window

The church with two apses and two naves has a typical Greek bell tower on the front narthex. The garden is lovely and quiet and reveals a surprise when we spot some bones in a window opening of a separate building.

Outside The Church' Walls

Outside The Church’ Walls

At The Side Of The Church

At The Side Of The Church

Detailed ceiling paintings in vivid colors

Apart from the graffiti, you’ll get to enjoy plenty of well-preserved ceiling paintings. The contrast of the ruined church building, with debris all over the place and the delicate paintings, is striking. It’s not too difficult to imagine this church must have been beautiful before it fell to pieces. There have been talks about restoring the building, but the municipality lacks the resources for this huge undertaking. Even so, one can only hope the church will at least keep standing, waiting for more people to come and admire its undoubtedly once glorious interior.

Look At Those Domed Ceilings!

Look At Those Domed Ceilings!

Vivid Colors

Vivid Colors

A charnel house with human bones in it

As we were walking around the church gardens, we noticed some bones lying in the window opening of a separate building. Well, at least we thought those were bones. Upon closer inspection, we were proven right. The building was a charnel house or ossuary. This building on two levels was used to preserve human bones after they had been unearthed when digging new graves. The bones were kept on the lower level, while the upper level with some niches displayed sacred relics.

Both Levels Of The Charnel House With Plenty Of Bones Left Behind

Both Levels Of The Charnel House With Plenty Of Bones Left Behind

Human Bones In The Window Opening Of The Ossuary

Human Bones In The Window Opening Of The Ossuary

How to get to Aziz Nikolaos church in Güllübahçe

Güllübahçe is a small and pretty Turkish village between Söke and Priene where you’ll also find restaurants and even a bed for the night. You reach Güllübahçe by car following direction Söke after leaving the İzmir-Aydın main road. Drive on to Güllübahçe by following the brown road signs to Priene. Shortly after entering the village, just past the small bridge, you’ll notice a sign to the ruined church of Aziz Nikolaos on your left-hand side. If you’re relying on public transport, check public transport to Güllübahçe options here. This is a perfect day trip from Kuşadası, Didim, or Bodrum. Combine it with lovely Eski Doğanbey and a visit to Priene.

Would you like to visit the area with a local guide? It’s a great way to have a guided tour while enjoying a more personal approach. Check out local guides for tours to Priene and surroundings here.

Comment on Facebook
89 Shares

This is not your typical sightseeing spot. But if you’re into urbex and ruined buildings, you will love this place! Still unsure whether or not you should visit? Read these reviews on TripAdvisor to make up your mind! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Check out our interactive map of Turkey for more things to see and do in the area. We loved Priene and eski Doğanbey. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Some guesthouses are more special than others. Bahab Guesthouse combines a lovely setting with distant views and beautiful and clean rooms in a restored stone house. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

This is not your typical sightseeing spot. But if you’re into urbex and ruined buildings, you will love this place! Still unsure whether or not you should visit? Read these reviews on TripAdvisor to make up your mind! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Check out our interactive map of Turkey for more things to see and do in the area. We loved Priene and eski Doğanbey. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Some guesthouses are more special than others. Bahab Guesthouse combines a lovely setting with distant views and beautiful and clean rooms in a restored stone house. If you like a lovely sunset dinner, we loved the fresh fish at Gümrük restaurant!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You may also like these posts:

You may also like these posts:

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US