Cennet ve Cehennem Çökükleri

Heaven and Hell Pits - Cennet Cehennem - Narlıkuyu Mağarası


Useful Information

Location: Atakent, near Narlıkuyu. 21 km east of Silifke at the coast road. 1 km from Hasanaliler, Içel.
(36.451897, 34.106116)
Open: APR to SEP Mon-Fri 10-19.
OCT to MAR Mon-Fri 10-16.
[2021]
Fee: Combi Cennet ve Cehennem and Astım Cave: Adults TRL 35.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave KarstTiankeng KarstCollapse Doline
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Cennet: 250 m x 110 m, VR=70 m, St=426.
Cehennem: 70 m x 50 m, VR=128n.
Astim Magarasi: L=250 m, W=10 m, H=15 m.
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Cennet ve Cehennem Çökükleri, Narlıkuyu Mahallesi Hasanaliler Mevkii, Tel: 03247141019.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History


Description

Cennet Cehennem (Heaven and Hell) are two dolines, located very closely, near the small fishing village Narlıkuyu. They are places of worship since prehistoric times.

The Greek believed this to be the place where the giant Typhon lived, who was killed by Zeus, with the help of Pan and Hermes. Typhon was father to the hellhound Kerberos. So this place was also said to be the entrance to the underworld. At the bottom of Cennet doline, at the southern wall, a cave entrance leads to the Korykian Cave, which is mentioned in the same rather complicated legend.

Cennet Çökügü (Heaven) is a huge pit 250 m long, 110 m wide, and between 60 and 70 m deep. Quite a strenuous visit, as it is entered on a limestone staircase of 426 steps. The floor of the pit is full of trees with birds nests. Cool air announces the cave entrance, which is also the place of a 5th century Virgin Mary cave church, or better a cave chapel. The rectangular church is oriented est-west, on the long sides it has six arched windows. The entrance door on the western wall has a four-line inscription which tells that the church was built by a pious man named Paulus in honor of Virgin Mary. The apse and the monks' rooms on both sides are covered with a vault. The apse is decorated with frescoes showing Christ and his apostles. The cave behind the church leads to an underground stream of cold water, which the path follows to a sump. Here at the far end is a Temple of Zeus located, dated to the Hellenistic Period. The names of 130 priests who served during the Hellenistic and Roman period are written on the stones on the north wall The temple was built in Doric style and in the Christian Era it was converted into a church.

Cehennem Çukuru (Hell) is located 75 m northeast of Cennet. It is 60 m wide and 120 m deep, an almost circular daylight shaft. Because of its lesser diameter it is said to be smaller, but it is much deeper and obviously was rather frightening for the locals. This may be the reason for the name hell, and obviously the chapel is the reason why the other pit is called heaven in contrast. It is also possible to visit this pit on a steel ladder, but this is rather dangerous and not recommended for the average tourist.

300 m to the southwest of Heaven is the Astim Magarasi (Asthma Cave) or Dilek Magarasi (Wishing Cave), also called Narlıkuyu (Pomegranate Spring). The cave air is thought to be a cure for asthma, so according to legend the locals used it for therapy. This seems to be a traditional use of speleotherapy, nevertheless the cave is not used for speleotherapy, today it is just a name. The reason for the name Dilek Magarasi is the legend, that wishes become true if you tie a cloth to a tree around the cave entrance. Actually the trees are full of cloth pieces.

The cave is entered down a 15 m deep iron spiral staircase. It is well developed and lighted and the most easy to visit of all three caves. It shows impressive speleothems, like stalactites, stalagmites and all forms of calcite crystals. The cave is 250 m long and 10 m to 15 m wide and high. This main passage leads the visitor to four huge chambers and many small side passages.

But even more interesting than the caves is the karstic phenomenon of submarine sweet water springs in the bay of Narlıkuyu. The bay with its small restaurants and cafes looks like all the others, but when you first put your feet into the water you will see that it is much colder than what one expects from the Mediterranean Sea. Sometimes you may even see locals bending over to actually scoop up and drink the seawater. Cold karst water, sweet water from the cave systems behind, wells up from the floor of the bay, dropping the temperature and creating pools of fresh water in the sea. The water is the same you have seen as a cave river at the end of Cennet.

At the entrance to the bay are the remains of a 5th century Roman bath. Even the people of that time knew about the value of those springs. Most impressive is probably a mosaic on the floor depicting three bathing nymphs who smile at us across the centuries. Its the reason why the bath is called Kızlar Hamamı (Girls Bath). They are quite famous, because they only wear a necklace.