On the south side of the Park of the Churches in the Göreme Valley, one can find Yilanli Kilise or otherwise named Church of Saint Onouphrios (Göreme Church 28). Its Turkish name, which in Greek translates as “the Church of the Snake”, is due to the depiction of the dragon slain by Saint George. The attribution to Saint Onouphrios, who appears in a mural, belongs in later years and is not relevant to the initial dedication of the church.
This particular church has given its name to a group of monuments in the Göreme Valley (“The Yilanli Group”) which includes the churches 10, 11a, 17, 17a, 18 (Saint Basil), 20 (Saint Barbara), 21 (Saint Catherine) and 27. A common feature is the absence of narrative scenes from their decoration, which is limited to linear patterns, the depiction of the enthroned Christ on the apse (sometimes surrounded by Panagia and John the Baptist) and the individual depictions of saints. The model for the decoration of Yilanli Kilise probably was Sakli Kilise (Göreme Church 2a), which is dated in the mid-11th century or the third quarter of the 11th century, without excluding the teaching relation between the painter of Saklin and the one of Yilanli.
The Church of the Snake comprises of a main long church with a door opening, covered with a semi-circular barrel vault, on the north side while on the south side there is another parallelogram space. The decoration program includes Deesis on the apse of the bema, the depiction of the enthroned Christ with a founder on the south lunette with eight other saints.
The church is dated in the second half of the 11th century, in an era when monasticism continues to exist in the area even though it was occupied by the Seljuks. However, the means for great and highly artistic deeds are absent.