Aynalı Mağara

Useful Information

Location: 05000 Yuvacık/Amasya District/Amasya, Türkiye.
(40.672490, 35.849250)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Tomb SubterraneaMonlithic Church
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Aynalı Mağara, 05030 Ziyaret/Amasya District/Amasya.
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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2nd century BC built as grave of Mitra Priest Tes.
11th century used as a Christian church during the Byzantine era.


Aynalı Mağara (Mirror Cave) is one of the Pontus Kralları Mezarlari (Tombs of the Kings of Pontus) located high above the city Amasya. However, it is on a separate location on the northern side of the city. These tombs were used to venerate the Pontic kings, but this one was later used as a chapel by the Byzantines. So it was transformed into a cave church. Obvious hints for this use are the frescoes inside the tomb. The reason why this tomb was chosen is obviously its location, unlike the others it is not high up on the cliff. It is located on road level and easily reached.

Güzelce Kız (Bautiful Girl) was the daughter of a king, and she was so beautiful that people who saw her fainted as if struck by lightning. That's why the young girl always wore a veil and couldn't show her beautiful face to anyone. When her father thought that the time had come to marry her off, he sent messengers in all directions. Whoever could open his daughter's veil and see her beauty without fainting, he would give his daughter to. Princes, viziers' children, worldly rich, brave men, scholars, in short, all those who trusted their youth and strength came to Amasya when they heard this call. Güzelce Kız waited in a specially set-up area in the square of Amasya. Confident young men approached her, but when they tried to lift her veil, their hands trembled and their knees became weak. These scenes went on for days. One day, a poor but brave, truly beautiful and charming young man said: "I would also like to try my luck", and approached the throne. Under the astonished gaze of everyone, he lifted the veil of Güzelce Kız without wasting any time. At that moment, there was such an illumination, like a flame or fire surrounding the place. No one understood what was happening and the people in the square fell to the ground in fear. Then, in eternal silence, the two were burnt to coals and lay side by side. The bodies of the two young people were buried in two separate rooms in a rock tomb near the vineyards and gardens close to the town. The outside of this rock tomb began to glow like the face of Güzelce Kız. Because of this glow, the name of the rock tomb later became famous as the "Cave of Mirrors".

The tomb is said to be the best processed and completed rock tomb in the city. Its width is 9.8 m and its height is 13 m. The facade of the cave shines when the sun hits it, so it was called Mirrored Cave. It is said to be the monumental tomb of Mitra Priest Tes, who lived in Amasya in the Hellenistic Age in the 2nd century BC. The burial chamber is rectangular in shape, and there is a grave niche and pit or trough on the right side. There are colorful paintings on the walls and the inscription "Great Priest Tes" on the pediment. But more than a millennium later, the site was reused as a Christian church during the Byzantine era. There are colorful murals which are sometimes called frescoes, although that's obviously nonsense. Without "fresh" plaster no "fresco", the paintings were painted on the rock of the monolithic church. They depict twelve apostles in the vault section, six on the right and six on the left, so they are obviously of Christian origin.

While there are no restrictions on visiting the site, it was some years ago fenced in, so it is not possible to enter the church. As far as we know, there is actually no possibility to see the inside.