Manazan Mağaraları

Taskale Tahil Ambarları

Useful Information

Location: Between the towns Yeşildere and Taşkale, along the canyon road.
Open: no restrictions.
Taşkale Tahıl Ambarları: all year daily 8-19.
Fee: free.
Taşkale Tahıl Ambarları: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House SubterraneaCellar
Light: n/a
Dimension: T=13-15 °C.
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Bibliography: C. Topal (2009): Karaman Kültür Envanteri, Karaman
Address: Manazan Mağaraları, 70000 Taşkale/Karaman Merkez/Karaman
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Manazan Mağaraları (Caves of Manazan) are a series of artificial caves cut into the steep cliffs along the canyon can be found for about 3 km along the road. The caves were used as churches, storage facilities, family homes and even cemeteries. The caves are not inhabited any more but many caves are still used to store wheat, cheese and other foods. The caves were dug during the Byzantine Empire some 800 years ago, when the valley was first settled.

The hotspot is in the city Taşkale, a part of the town was even built under the overhanging cliff. Here a wall with five levels of caves can be found, named Tahil Ambarlari (granaries or warehouses). The town has 252 of those granary caves. They used the soft marl, which was not only rather easy to dig, but also maintains an ideal temperature and humidity to store vegetables and grains. The granaries have an opening of some 60 cm by 60 cm with a door of juniper wood. The entrance is so small to avoid temperature exchange with the outside. The inside has 13 °C in winter and 17 °C in summer. Estimates are that grains stored here deteriorate with a rate of 5% per 100 years, which is quite exceptional. The people used the the warehouses to store food for famine years.

Steps were cut into the rock face so the owners had to climb up like a ladder. Then they opened the door and lifted sacks of grains with a rope attached to the spools on the door. Each cave has two separate rooms, with a total capacity of 12 tons of grain.

Today this area is quite poor, there is no industry and little tourism. Because of this the local government tries to make the caves more popular. After a tv documentary about the caves was made some years ago the number of tourists increased to 46,000 per year.