Central Anatolia     

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The central Anatolian plateau forms the heartland of Turkey: ochre-hued, cleft by ravines and dominated by volcanic peaks. The boldly contoured steppe has a solitary majesty covered with wheat fields framed by rows of poplars.

Tuz Golu (Salt Lake)

This plateau was also a cradle of human civilization. At Catalhoyuk, remains of settlements as old as the eighth millennium B.C. have been unearthed. Here in the homeland of many civilizations and the historic battleground between East and West, the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans all fought for their sovereignty and established their rule. In the 11th century, migrating Turks from the east made the plateau their own.

Ankara (Angora) Cat

During its turbulent history, Central Anatolia has endured invasion by great conquerors, such as Alexander the Great and Tamerlane. In the course of ten millennia of habitation, the denizens of the area have reflected the dramatic contours of the surrounding landscape in their art, from the compelling paintings of Catalhoyuk and the confident lines of Seljuk architecture, to, more recently, the impressive modern form of Ataturk's mausoleum.


The city of Ankara lies in the center of Anatolia on the eastern edge of the great, high Anatolian Plateau, at an altitude of 850 m. The province is a predominantly fertile wheat steppeland, with forested areas in the northeast. It is bordered by the provinces of Cankiri and Bolu to the north, Eskisehir to the west, Konya and Aksaray to the south, and Kirikkale and Kirsehir to the east.


The region's history goes back to the Bronze Age Hatti civilization, which was succeeded in the 2nd millennium B.C. by the Hittites, in the 10th century B.C. by the Phrygians, then by the Lydians and Persians. After these came the Galatians, a Celtic race who were the first to make Ankara their capital in the 3rd century B.C. It was then known as Ancyra, meaning "anchor," one of the oldest words in the language of the sea-loving Celts. The city subsequently fell to the Romans, and to the Byzantines. Seljuk Sultan Alparslan opened the door into Anatolia for theTurks at the victory of Malazgirt in 1071. Then in 1073, he annexed Ankara, an important location for military transportation and natural resources, to Turkish territory.


The city was an important cultural, trading, and arts center in Roman times, and an important trading center on the caravan route to the east in Ottoman times. It had declined in importance by the nineteenth century. It again became an important center when Kemal Ataturk chose it as the base from which to direct the War of Liberation. By consequence of its role in the war and its strategic position, it was declared the capital of the new Republic of Turkey on October 13th, 1923.


Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum): Located on an imposing hill in the Anittepe quarter of the city stands the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive, fusion of ancient and modem architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment of modem Turkish architecture.

There is a museum housing a superior wax statue of Ataturk; writings, letters and items belonging to him, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and in the establishment of the Republic. (Anitkabir is open everyday, and the museum every day except Mondays. During the summer, there is a light and sound show in the evenings).


The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is close to the citadel entrance. An old bedesten (covered bazaar) has been beautifully restored and now houses a marvelous and unique collection of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, and Roman works and showpiece Lydian treasures. (Open every day, except Monday. During the summer, the museum opens every day).

Painting and Sculpture Museum

The Ethnography Museum is opposite the Opera House on Talat Pasa Boulevard. There is a fine collection of folkloric artifacts as well as artifacts from Seljuk and Ottoman mosques. (Open every day, except Monday).

The Painting and Sculpture Museum is close to the Ethnography Museum and houses a rich collection of Turkish art from the late 19th century to the present day. There are also galleries for guest exhibitions. (Open every day, except Monday).

The Liberation War Museum, diagonally across the street from Ulus Square, is in what was originally the first parliament building of the Republic of Turkey. There the War of Liberation was planned and directed as recorded in various photographs and items on exhibition. In another display are wax figures of former presidents of the Republic of Turkey. (Open every day, except Monday).

The Museum of the Republic, close to the Liberation War Museum, is housed in what was the second parliament building of the Republic. The exhibition here records important events in the early republican period. (Open every day, except Monday). Ataturk's House is on the grounds of the Presidential Palace in Cankaya and was Ataturk's house after the founding of the Republic. The house is much as it was in Ataturk's day, and exhibits photographs that record important events. (Open Sundays and on religious and national holidays, 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm).

The Natural History Museum can be found on the grounds of the MTA (Mineral Research and Exploration Institute) on the Eskisehir road in Ankara. The exhibits record the evolutionary development of the world. (Open every day except religious holidays).

PTT Museum collections were begun between 1880 and 1888 by then Postal Director Izzet Efendi.

The Museum in Altindag was opened in 1982, and contains postal, telegraph, telephone, stamp displays (Open weekdays).

The TRT Museum (Turkish Radio & Television Broadcasting) has exhibits from the beginning of radio in Turkey, including antique phonographs and radios. It is located in the TRT General Directorate building in the Oran district. (Open Mon.,Wed., Fri., 11 am - 3 pm).

Cultic Figure from Alacahoyuk,Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

Mehmet Akif Ersoy Museum, on the Hacettepe University Central Campus, commemorates the famous national poet who, in this house, wrote the text of the Turkish national anthem, as well as songs of independence, and many poems. (Open weekdays from 10 am - 12 pm and 2 pm - 4 pm).

The TCDD Open-air Locomotive Museum, near the railway station by Celal Bayar Blvd., traces the history of steam locomotion through the locomotives on display. (Open weekdays).

The Cartography Museum, located in the Harita Genel Komutanligi building in the Cebeci quarter, has old and new maps. (Open Tues. and Thurs. from 9 am - 12 pm and 2 pm - 5 pm).

Mother goddess from Catalhoyuk, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

The Meteorology Museum on Sanatoryum Ave. in Kalaba, chronicles the history of meteorology in Turkey. (Open weekdays).

The Education Museum follows the history and technology of education in Turkey. It i's located in Ankara Gazi University, in the Besevler district. (Open weekdays).

The Toy Museum in Cebeci houses toys of all kinds made of wood, metal, porcelain, paper, etc. (Open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm).

METU Museum on the campus of Middle East Technical University has archeological artifacts and ethnographic displays. (Open weekdays, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm).

T.C. Ziraat Museum at the Ulus branch of the bank displays a rich collection of coins and money in a building of architectural beauty. (Open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm)


Ankara Citadel: The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop, and completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuks made restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel, being the oldest part of Ankara, contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. There are also lovely green areas in which to relax. It is well known that the Ankara region was the cradle of wine in Hatti and Hittite times around 2000 B.C. Many restored traditional Turkish houses in the area of the citadel have found new life as restaurants, serving local and international dishes and wine.

Roman Theatre: The remains, including pro-scene (stage), and scene (backstage), can be seen outside the citadel. Roman statues that were found here are exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. The seating area is still under excavation. Temple of Augustus: The temple is in the Ulus quarter of the city. It was built by the Galatian King Pylamenes in 10 A.D. as a tribute to Augustus, and was reconstructed by the Romans on the ancient Ankara Acropolis in the 2nd century. It is important today for the "Monument Ancyranum," the sole surviving "Political Testament" of Augustus, detailing his achievements, inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. In the fifth century the temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines.

Ataturk Museum

Roman Bath: The bath, situated on Cankiri Avenue in Ulus, has all the typical features: a frigidarium (cold room), tepidarium (cool room) and caldarium (hot room). They were built in the time of Emperor Caracalla (3rd century A.D.) in honour of Asclepios, the god of medicine. Today only the basement and first floors remain.

Column of Julian: This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362 A.D., probably to commemorate a visit by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf decoration on the capital.

Monument of the Republic: Erected in 1927 in Ulus Square, it is a symbol of the
struggle for independence on the part of Ataturk and the Turkish people in the War of Liberation.

Kocatepe Mosque

Monument to a Secure, Confident Future: This monument, in Guven Park, was erected in 1935 and bears Ataturk's advice to his people: "Be proud, hardworking, and believe in yourself."

Victory Monument: Erected in 1927 in Zafer Square in the Sihhiye quarter, it depicts Ataturk in uniform.

Hatti Monument: Built in the 1970's in Sihhiye Square, this impressive monument symbolizes the Hatti gods and commemorates Anatolia's earliest known civilization.

Guven Park


Haci Bayrarn Mosque: This mosque, in Ulus, next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the early 15th century in Seljuk style and was subsequently restored by Sinan in the 16th century, with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in honor of Haci Bayram Veli, whose tomb is next to the mosque.

Aslanhane Mosque: This Seljuk mosque, near the citadel, was built in the 13th century. The mosque has a mihrap (prayer niche showing the direction to Mecca) of Seljuk tiles, and an unusual double colonnade of wooden columns. Next to the mosque is the tomb of Ahi Serafeddin.

Ahi Elvan Mosque: Found in the Ulus quarter near the Citadel, this mosque was built and finished during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. The finely carved walnut mimber (pulpit) is of particular interest.

Alaaddin Mosque: This mosque is inside the Citadel walls. It has a carved walnut mimber, the inscription on which shows that the mosque was built in the 12th century by the Seljuk ruler, Mesut.

Yeni (Cenab Ahmet) Mosque: This is the largest Ottoman mosque in Ankara and was built by the famous architect Sinan in the 16th century. The mimber (pulpit) and mihrap (prayer niche) are of white marble, and the mosque itself is of Ankara stone (red porphyry), an example of very fine workmanship. Yeni Cami is on Ulucanlar Avenue.

Presidential Symphony, Orchestra

Kocatepe Mosque: This is a 20th century mosque of great size in classical Ottoman design with four minarets. Built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter, its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark.


Ankara has many delightful parks and open spaces established in the early years of the Republic in accordance with Ataturk's belief in the importance of trees and natural beauty. The most important of these parks are: Genclik Park (which also has an amusement park), the Botanical Garden, Segmenler, Anayasa, Kugulu, Abdi Ipekci, Guven, Demetevler, Cemre, Kale, Anit, Kurtulus (for ice skating) and Altin Park (Fairground).

Ataturk Orman Ciftligi Ataturk Farm and Zoo) is now within the growing city and is a pleasant place to spend a day. There is also a replica of the house where Ataturk was born in Salonica, an excellent restaurant, and some cafes. Visitors can sample such famous products of the farm as its excellent beer, old-fashioned ice cream, yogurt, milk, and meat rolls.


Erkeksu Ciftligi has a nine-hole golf course set in a lovely, peaceful countryside environment located 40 km west of Ankara via Sincan.


Ankara is a center for opera, ballet, jazz and modem dance, as well as home of the prestigious Presidential Symphon Orchestra. Ankara benefits from a large number of theatres staging many ambitious productions. In addition to public and private galleries throughout the city, exhibitions are also held at the Ataturk Cultural Center. The city also has many cinemas showing the best Turkish and foreign films, and there are a number of film festivals with various themes throughout the year, in particular the International Film Days in March. Every year in April and May the city hosts the Sevda Cenap And International Arts and Music Festival with performances by the finest Turkish and foreign musicians. The Children's Festival on April 23 is also quite an event, with groups of children from all over the world taking part. There is also an International Cartoon Film Festival and the Asian-European Arts Biennial scheduled sometime in the spring or summer. Altin Park is home to the Ankara Fairgrounds where lovely fairs are held year-round.


Visitors to the city usually like to visit the old shops in Cikrikcilar Yokusu near Ulus. The street of copper workers (Bakircilar Carsisi) is particularly popular, and many interesting old and new items, not just of copper, can be found here, such as jewelry, carpets, costumes, antiques and embroidery. Walking up the hill to the citadel gate, you find many interesting shops selling spices, dried fruits, nuts, and all manner of produce; the selection is huge and very fresh. Modem shopping areas are mostly found in Kizilay, on Tunali Hilmi Avenue, including the modern mall of Karum, and in the Atakule Tower in Cankaya. From the top of Atakule (125 meters) there is a magnificent view over the whole city. There is also a revolving restaurant where the complete panorama can be enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion. The Galleria, in Umitkoy and Bilkent Center are other contemporary shopping opportunities.



Twenty-five kilometers to the south of Ankara on the Konya road is Golbasi Lake, a popular place to visit for its attractive scenery and its fine lake side restaurants. Incek, 15 km southwest of Ankara, is a favorite rest area for locals, with its lovely fruit trees, green areas and picnic sites. Another favorite place for picnics is Karagol Lake, 68 km north of the city on the airport road, for which one should take the turn off for the town of Cubuk.

The three dams around the city, Cubuk (15 km on the Cankiri Highway), Kurtbogazi (50 km on the Istanbul Highway) and Bayindir (15 km on the Kirikkale Highway) are pleasant places to visit for swimming and picnicking. There are also restaurants, and at Bayindir, good camping facilities. Other dams in the Ankara province include Sariyer, Kesikkopru, Hirfanli, Asartepe, and Camlidere.

Atakule Mall

Walkers will delight in exploring the three main forests around Ankara. South of the city, on the Kirsehir Highway (54 km), is the Beynam Forest, while to the north, on the Istanbul Highway (82 km), is the Kizilcahamam Soguksu National Park and farther along in the same direction (110 km), is the Camkoru Forest. All are delightful retreats from the clamor of the city, and each provides many lovely places for picnics.

Elmadag Mountain (1,855 meters), some 23 kilometers east of Ankara, can be seen from most parts of the city. The first snowfall on the mountain heralds the start of winter and the beginning of skiing, and other winter sports to be enjoyed at the pleasant resort center there.


In the province of Ankara there are six thermal centers: Kizilcahamam Kaplica 80 km to the north, Haymana Kaplica 72 km to the south, and to the northwest are Ayas Kaplica (57 km), Dutlu Kaplica (85 km) Meliksah in Cubuk (30 km), and Malikoy in Polatli (80 km). All offer comfortable facilities in which to soak away your cares. The thermal baths have beneficial properties and are, of course, altogether pleasurable.


At Gavurkalesi, 60 km from Ankara on the Haymana Highway near Derekoy, the remains of an open-air Hittite temple, a tomb and two reliefs of Hittite gods can be seen.

Sphinx gate, Alacahoyuk, Corum

The most important Phrygian sites in Anatolia are to be found in the provinces of Ankara, Eskisehir and Afyon. Yassihoyuk (Gordion), 105 km southwest of Ankara on the Eskisehir highway, was the capital of Phrygia and the place where Alexander the Great cut the Gordion Knot to gain the key to Asia. The tumulus of King Midas, who turned whatever he touched to gold, can be visited here. Nearby, the remains of the ancient city Gordion. still under excavation, and a small museum are worth a quick tour. Farther along the same Ankara-Eskisehir road is Ballihisar (Pessinus), an important Phrygian religious cult center. The most important remains are those of a temple to Cybele, the mother goddess whose worship was at the heart of the Phrygian culture. The small open air museum has some interesting sculptures and tombstones.

At Midas City (Yazili Kaya), between Afyon and Eskisehir, two enormous facades cut into a rocky promontory once held cult statues for the worship of Cybele in their niches. Throughout the area rock tombs, cave- like openings, pierce the sand colored stone. An underground passage leads from the site to the valley below.

Twelve Gods in Yazlikaya - Hattusas, Corum

Aslantas and Astankaya were both centers of cult worship in Phrygian times. The former, 34 km north of Afyon, has two monumental lion reliefs; the latter, 52 km from Afyon, comprises a temple and a lion relief. Other Phrygian monuments can be explored at nearby Doganlikale, Kumbet and Deveboynu.

Eskisehir was founded by the Phrygians in the first millennium B.C. on the banks of the Porsuk River. Significant architectural monuments include the 13th century Alaeddin Mosque and the 16th century Kursunlu Complex. All four of the city museums are worth visiting: the Archeological Museum has Phrygian artifacts and sculptures from the area; the Meerschaum Pipe Museum displays pipes and other meerschaum works; the Yesil Efendi Ottoman House Museum, a fine example of 19th-century domestic architecture, houses a collection of local ethnographia as well as fireplaces where meerschaum is cured; and the Ataturk Culture Museum has a photographic exhibition taken from Ataturk's life, a number of personal effects and a display of items made of meerschaum. The world's best meerschaum comes from mines in the area surrounding Eskisehir. Pipes and other objects can be purchased in the city souvenir shops. Sakaryabasi, a spring- fed lake surrounded by beautiful park land, draws many visitors who want to enjoy the fresh air and eat fresh fish in one of the restaurants there.

Seyit Battal Gazi Mosque Complex, Eskisehir

Sivrihisar's charm derives from its many typical Ottoman houses which imbue the town with an air of bygone elegance. The 13th-century Ulu Mosque, formerly a caravanserai, and the Alemsah Mausoleum are very interesting and worth a visit. Connoisseurs of carpets and kilims know that kilims from Sivrihisar are particularly prized. Near Sivrihisar, in the village Nasrettin Hoca, the Nasrettin Hoca Museum has ethnographical displays as well as amusing stories and pictures about the famous fabler.

Relief of God and King in Hattusas, Corum

On the hillside above Seyyit Battal Gazi stands the imposing 13th-century mosque and tomb complex built in memory of the "warrior of Islam," Seyyit Battal.

Yunus Emre Village (Sarikoy) is the burial place of Yunus Emre, the great 13th century poet. His poetry lives today, with its message of love and humanity as relevant as ever. Commemorative celebrations au held in the town every May. In addition visitors to his grave can see a small museum, dedicated to his life and works.


The third-century B.C. Galatian settlement of Gangrea is the foundation of present day Cankiri, 135 km from Ankara. The earliest evidence of civilization are dated at about 3000 B.C. There are important tumuli (burial mounds) in this province, as well as artifacts from various civilizations in the Cankiri Museum. The ruins of an 11th-century fortress overlook the city. In town, the Ulu Mosque (Sultan Suleyman), completed in 1558 by Turkey's greatest architect, Sinan, recalls the years of Ottoman culture. The Cavundur thermal spa has bathing and drinking water beneficial for rheumatic and inflammatory diseases. The waters flow from the ground at 54 C at a rate of 47 liters/second. Tas Mescit, or Cemaleddin Ferruh Darulhadisi, a medieval hospital built in 1242, lies just outside the city. North of Cankiri is the beautiful Ilgaz National Park and Ski Center. In the park, Kadin Cayiri is a particularly lovely rest area with pools, green areas and cafes. Near Eldivan, 15 km southwest of Cankiri, is Bulbulpinari, a picturesque rest area with lush greenery and picnic spots.


Kirikkale is a rapidly expanding industrial center on the major highway that leads east out of Ankara to the Black Sea. Passing by Kirikkale is the Kizilirmak River, known in ancient times as Halys, where you can spend a pleasant afternoon relaxing in one of the restaurants, set in the pastoral landscape, or visit the restful Celal Bayar Park. In Kirikkale, the Gun Museum displays different types of guns that are made in Kirikkale's gun factories.

Decorative ceiling in Merzifon, Amasya

After the highway divides, the eastern fork leads to Yozgat, 217 km from Ankara. Founded in the 18th century by the Ottomans, this city has two important buildings from this period, the Capanoglu Mosque and the adjoining Suleyman Bey Mosque. The 19th century Nizamoglu Mansion, an attractive example of domestic Turkish architecture, now houses ethnographical exhibits. The Yusuf Karslioglu Mansion Archeological Museum has Hittite, Phrygian, Roman and Byzantine artifacts. Camlik National Park is a few kilometers south of the city.

All the major early-Hittite sites lie in the province of Corum in Bogazkale National Park, between Yozgat and the city of Corum. Impressive double walls running past the Royal Gate, the Lion Gate and the Yer Kapi (an underground tunnel), ring the Hittite city of Hattusas, known today as Bogazkale. The more than 70 temples in the city made this the Hittite religious center and gave it the name, "City of Temples". The largest ruins are those of the great temple to the storm god Teshup. The Acropolis contained government buildings, the imperial Palace and the archives of the Hittite Empire. In 1180 B.C. the Phrygians devastated the city. After thorough excavations at the site, the city walls are now being extensively restored.

Tokat Ceramics

Yazilikaya, an open-air rock pantheon dating from the 13th century B.C., contains fine reliefs of all the Hittite gods and goddesses. Alacahoyuk, north of Bogazkale on the road to Corum, was the center of the flourishing Hattian culture during the Bronze Age. The magnificent Hattian gold and bronze objects in the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara were found in the Royal Tombs dating from this period. All the standing remains at Alacahoyuk, however, such as the Sphinx Gate, date from the Hittite period. Important Hittite settlements in the province of Corum include Alisar and Masathoyuk, as well as Sapinuva in the county of Ortakoy, which is situated in beautiful countryside along the Cekerek River. Sapinuva was the second most important Hittite city in the kingdom. Between the Abdullah and Kargi Plateaus is the village of Hacihamza with interesting regional architecture.

Corum, an important city on the road from central Anatolia to the Black Sea, produces the finest chickpeas in Turkey. Significant historical buildings include the 13th century Ulu Mosque and the 19th century clocktower. The tower, which was built in the shape of a minaret, is 27.5 m high, 5.3 m in diameter, and has an eight-sided base and is ascended by an 81-step circular staircase.

Historical Houses

The small town of Merzifon, 49 km northwest of Amasya, has several Ottoman monuments, including the 15th century Celebi Sultan Mehmet Medrese (theological college), the 17th century Kara Mustafa Pasa Mosque, and the 19th century clock tower. There are also sights worth seeing in Gumushacikoy, 22 km from Merzifon, including a 19th century bazaar, the 15th century Haliliye Medrese, and 18th and 19th century Yakup Pasa Darphane, and Maden mosques.

Set in a narrow gorge of the Yesilirmak (Iris) River, Amasya dates from the third century B.C. The ruins of the citadel rise from the craggy rock and contain an Ottoman palace and a secret underground passageway. Hewn into the rock face above the city, are impressive Roman rock tombs that are illuminated at night creating a spectacular image. The beauty of the natural surroundings and the splendid architectural legacy have combined to endow the city a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. Among the sights of interest for visitors are the 13th-century Seljuk Burmali Minare Mosque, the Torumtay Tomb, the Gokmedrese Mosque, the 14th century Ilhanid Hospital with lovely reliefs around its portal, the 15th century Beyazit 1 Mosque complex and the unusual octagonal Kapi Aga Medrese.

Tashan (Voyvodahan), Tokat

Traditional Turkish wooden mansions, or konaks, on the north bank of the Yesihrmak River in the Hatuniye quarter (Yaliboyu), have been restored to their former splendor, and some of these have been turned into guest houses. The restored 19th-century Hazeranlar Konagi, one of the loveliest, now houses an art gallery on the first floor and the Ethnography Museum on the second. The Archeology Museum has an interesting collection of regional artifacts including mummies of the Ilhanid Mongol rulers of Amasya. Cafes, restaurants, tea gardens and parks line the riverside and provide tranquil spots from which to enjoy the city's romantic atmosphere. From the top of Cakallar Hill you have a beautiful view of the city.

Excellent places for relaxing are located near Amasya. Set amid magnificent mountain scenery, Borabay Mountain Lake is one such popular place for day trips. It is 63 km northeast of Amasya at an elevation of 1,050 m. Seven Swans Bird Heaven is a refuge for migratory birds 32 km from Amasya. And Terzikoy Thermal Spring, with hotel and motel facilities, is 36 km away.

The whole province of Amasya is filled with orchards, which produce some of the world's most delicious apples.

Tokat, also on the Yesilirmak River, has many Seljuk and Ottoman monuments which lend a picturesque yet solemn aesthetic to the cityscape. Among the main historical buildings are the ruins of a 28-tower castle, the 11th century Garipler Mosque and a Seljuk bridge. The 13th century Pervane Bey Darussifasi (Gok Medrese), one of Tokat's finest buildings, is now the Archeology Museum. A regional commercial center, Tokat has retained many of its old commercial warehouses, including the Tashan, Suluhan, Yagcioglu Ham and Gazi Emir (Yazmacilar) Ham. A walk down Sulu Sokak in the city center, a street lined with inns, mausoleums, bazaars and baths, provides an excellent overview of the city's architecture. In the Gazi Emir (Yazmacilar) Hain you can find many specimens of block-printed cloth, a 300 year-old tradition for which Tokat is famous. A tradition of carved and painted wood decoration and painted murals give the konaks (mansions) of Tokat a particular elegance. The 19th century Madimagin Celalin Konak and the Latifoglu Konak have been restored to their former splendor to give a vivid picture of the good life in rural Turkey 100 years ago. The Ballica Cave in Tokat, containing many fossils, is also a must. It is 680 m long with five underground levels and eight large rooms. The air in this stalactites and stalagmites filled cave is beneficial for sufferers of asthma.

Gokmedrese, Sivas

In 47 BC, the Romans conquered the four cities of Komana, Zela (Zile), Neccaesarea (Niksar), and Sebastapolis (Sulusaray) which were included in the province of Pontus in the first century AD.

Niksar, 69 km northeast of Tokat, was once the capital of the Danismend Emirs. The town has a well-preserved citadel as well as early Turkish monuments, including the Coregi Buyuk Mosque, which boasts a very fine 12th century carved stone portal. It was in Zile, south of Amasya and west of Tokat that Julius Caesar, after a particularly speedy battle, quaffed a cup of Tokat's fine local wine, and declared his famous "Veni, vidi, vici." Beneath the citadel which guards the city stands the restored Ulu Mosque of 1269.

Sivas, an important commercial center during the Middle Ages, stood at the junction of the caravan routes to Persia and Baghdad. Between 1142 and 1171 it was the capital of the Danismend Emirs and a vitally important urban center during Seljuk rule. The remaining architectural monuments reflect this formerly prominent position. The Ulu Mosque dates from the Danismend Emirate. The Seljuk buildings include the 13th-century Izzeddin Keykavus Sifahanesi, which was a hospital and medical school, the beautifully decorated Gok Medrese, the twin minarets of the Cifte Minare Medrese and the Buruciye Medrese all of which reflect the aesthetic of the Seljuk period.

In 1919, the decision to liberate Turkey from occupying foreign powers was made by the National Congress which was convened in Sivas. Today, the 19th- century building where the congress was held has been restored as the Atatark and Congress Museum, with War of Liberation and an ethnographic exhibits. In the Buruciye Medrese, the Museum of Archeology and Stoneworks displays finds from local digs as well as Islamic tombstones decorated with reliefs. The 19th century Akaylar Mansion Museum is now an ethnographic museum. In town, there are excellent Sivas carpets for sale; the city has long had a reputation for fine weaving. And in Sivrialan Village, the Asik Veysel Museum commemorates the famous Turkish poet (1884-1973) who was born here and who lived and died here.

Sivas Kangal Dog

Kangal, 68 km south of Sivas, is the home of Turkey's most famous breed of dog - the kangal ("dog of the Galatians") which came with them in the 3rd century B.C. Used as sheep dogs, these golden-haired animals have also proven themselves in police and security work. Twelve km northeast of Kangal is the famous Balikli Kaplica spa. At 36 degrees Celsius the waters contain bicarbonate, calcium, and magnesium, and spring from the earth accompanied by scores of tiny fish that are said to aid in the cure of skin complaints. In the province of Sivas are the famous spas of Sicak Cermik (warm spring) and Soguk Cermik (cold spring).

Once a Byzantine outpost, Divrigi became the capital of the Turkish Mengucek Emirs in the 12th and 13th centuries. Although very much off the beaten track, visitors come to Divrigi to see the Ulu Mosque and Medrese of 1229. Seljuk stonework reached its most exuberant expression in the animal and flower carvings on the portals. UNESCO has declared this one of the world's leading cultural heritage sites.


Founded in ancient times, Kirsehir became, in the Middle Ages, the center of the Ahi Brotherhood, a Moslem sector whose moral and social tenets played an important role in the spiritual and political life of Anatolian towns. Among Kirsehir's many fine Seljuk buildings are the Cacabey Mosque of 1272, the Alaeddin Mosque of 1230, and the Ahi Evran Mosque, near the tomb of the founder of the Ahi sect. Out of town, on the road toward Kayseri, is the attractive Asik Pasa Mausoleum which was built during the period of Mongol rule, in 1333. The Kirsehir Archeology Museum houses objects mostly from Kalehoyuk.


Cacabey Mosque, Kirsehir

A major archeological center at Kalehoyuk, in Kaman county, in the province of Kirsehir is still being excavated. Near Kalehoyurk in a center of what were Hatti and Hittite settlements, is located one of the largest parks in Turkey, the Mikasonmiya Ani Bahcesi which contains 16,500 trees of 33 different species. The road to Nevsehir and Cappadocia passes through Hacibektas, the town where Haci Bektas Veli settled and established his Bektas Sufi order in the 14th century. The whirling dervishes who followed principles of love and humanism were housed in the monastery, which includes a mausoleum and mosque. The complex is now a museum open to the public. Honey and rose-colored onyx, plentiful in the region, were used by disciples of this order. There are exquisite onyx souvenirs for sale. It is also worth stopping to take in the interesting Archeology and Ethnography Museum.

Nevsehir, a provincial capital, is the gateway to Cappadocia. In the town itself are the hilltop Seljuk castle, perched on the highest point in the city, and the Kursunlu Mosque, built for the Grand Vizier Damat Ibrahim Pasha. The mosque is part of a complex of buildings which includes a medrese (theological college), hospice and library. An ablution fountain in the courtyard still bears its original inscription. The Nevsehir Museum displays local artifacts.

Violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3,916 meters) and Mt. Hasan (3,268 meters) long ago covered the plateau surrounding Nevsehir with tufa, a soft stone comprised of lava, ash and mud. The wind and rain have eroded this brittle rock and created a spectacular surrealistic landscape of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in colors that range from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys. Locals call these fascinating capped pinnacles "peri bacalari" or "fairy chimneys." Goreme National Park, known in Roman times as Cappadocia, is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend unobtrusively into the natural surroundings. Dwellings have been hewn from the rocks as far back as 4,000 B.C. During Byzantine times, chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of the rock, their ochre-toned frescoes reflecting the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even today, cave dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tufa merge harmoniously into the landscape.

Ortahisar, Nevsehir

Urgup, a lively tourist center at the foot of a rock ridge riddled with old dwellings, serves as an excellent base from which to tour the sights of Cappadocia. In Urgup itself you can still see how people once lived in homes cut into the rock. If you wish to buy carpets and kilims, there is a wide selection available from the town's many carpet dealers, who are as colorful as their hares, offering tea, coffee or a glass of wine to their customers and engaging in friendly conversation. If sightseeing and shopping haven't exhausted you, the disco welcomes you to another kind of entertainment. At the center of a successful wine-producing region, Urgup hosts an annual International Wine Festival in October.

Leaving Urgup and heading south, you reach the lovely isolated Pancarlik Valley where you can stop to see the 12th century church with its splendid frescoes, and the Kepez church, which dates from the 10th century. Continue on to the typical village of Mustafapasa (Sinasos), where traditional stone houses with carved and decorated facades evoke a former age. Travel on in a southerly direction, just past the village of Cemil, where a footpath on the west side of the road leads to Keslik Valley where you will find a monastery complex and the Kara and Meyvali Kiliseler (churches), both decorated with frescoes. Back on the main road you find the village of Taskinpasa where the 14th century Karamanid Mosque and Mausoleum Complex, and the remains of a medrese portal on the edge of town make for a pleasant diversion. The next village is Sahinefendi where the 12th-century Kirksehitler church, adorned with beautiful frescoes, stands at the end of a footpath 500 meters east of the village.

Soganli Valley, 50 km south of Urgup, is picturesque with its innumerable chapels, churches, halls, houses and tombs. The frescoes, from the 8th to the 13th centuries, trace the development of Byzantine painting. Four km north of Urgup is the wonderful Devrent Valley, where the weather has eroded the stone into peaks, cones and obelisks called fairy chimneys.


Two km west, in the Catalkaya Valley, the fairy chimneys have a peculiar mushroom-like shape, which has been adopted as a symbol of the town.

The Goreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with frescoes, is one of the best-known sites in central Turkey. Most of the chapels date from the 10th to the 13th centuries (the Byzantine and Seljuk periods) and many of them are built on an inscribed cross-plan with a central cupola supported by four columns. In the north annexes of several churches are cut-rock tombs. Among the most famous of the Goreme churches are the Elmali Church, the smallest and most recent of the group; the Yilanli Church with fascinating frescoes of the damned entwined in serpent coils; the Barbara Church; and the Carikli Church. A short way from the main group, the Tokali Kilise, or Buckle Church, has beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the New Testament.

The town of Goreme is set right in the middle of a valley of cones and fairy chimneys. Some of the cafes, restaurants and guest-houses are carved into the rock. For shoppers, rugs and kilims are plentiful.

Continuing on the road out of Goreme you enter one of the most beautiful valleys in the area. Rock formations rise up before you at every turn and entice you to stop and wonder at their creation. For those who climb the steps to the top of the Uchisar fortress the whole region unfolds below. Rugs, kilims, and popular souvenirs can easily be purchased from the shops which line Uchisar's narrow streets.

Karanlik Church, Goreme, National Park

At Cavusin, on the road leading north out of Goreme you will find a triple-apse church and the monastery of St. John the Baptist. In the town are chapels and churches, and some of the rock houses are still inhabited. From Cavusin to Zelve, fairy chimneys line the road. Unfortunately, it is dangerous to visit the churches in the Zelve valley because erosion has undermined the floors.

The charming town of Avanos, on the banks of the Kizilirmak River, boasts attractive local architecture and is known for its handicrafts. Every August the town hosts an Art and Tourism Festival where a creative, friendly atmosphere pervades.

Pottery is the most popular handicraft and it is usually possible to try your hand at making a pot in one of the many studios. Rug weaving and knotting is also making a come-back. Leaving Avanos in a southerly direction you come to an interesting Seljuk caravanserai, Sarihan.

Akmedere, Nigde

On the Nevsehir - Urgup road you can't miss Ortahisar and its carved-rock fortress. The churches in the Balkan Valley are some of the oldest in the Goreme region. In the neighboring Hallac Valley, the Hallac Monastery displays decorations from the 10th and the 11th centuries. North of Ortahisar, the Kizilcukur Valley is breathtakingly beautiful, especially at sunset. in the valley is the 9th-century Uzumlu church.

The underground cities of Kaymakli, Mazi, Derinkuyu, Tatlarin, and Ozkonak were all used by Christians of the seventh century, who were fleeing from persecution. They sheltered from the iconoclastic strife of Byzantium as well as other invasions in these safe and well-hidden complexes. These cities were a complete and self-sufficient environment, areas for grain storage, stables, sleeping chambers, kitchens and air shafts. Today they are well-lit and an essential and fascinating part of a Cappadocian tour.

West of Avanos, Gulsehir has Hittite rock inscriptions, and nearby, at Gokcetepe, there is a bas-relief of Zeus. South on the Nevsehir road is the 13th-century church of St. John, and farther along is Aciksaray, where the carved rocks hide churches and chapels. West of Cappadocia, over the mountains, lies Kayseri, known as Caesarea in Roman times. The city spreads out at the foot of the extinct volcano, Mt. Erciyes (3,916 m). In the winter months the ski center has excellent runs for downhill skiers, and several pleasant hotels that cater to them. Close to the Byzantine fortress, the 13th-century Huand Hatun Mosque and Medrese, with the Mahperi Hatun Mausoleum, comprise the Huand Hatun Complex, the first Seljuk complex in Anatolia. The Medrese is now an Ethnography Museum. South of the complex, stands the beautifully decorated Doner Kumbet of 1276, a Seljuk mausoleum of classic simplicity. A major Seljuk city, Kayseri was an important center of learning and consequently, there are many medreses among the remaining historic buildings. Those interested in the Seljuk architecture should see the Cifte (Giyasiye and Sifahiye) Medrese, the first Seljuk school of anatomy, which is now the Gevher Nesibe Medical History Museum. Nearby is the lovely Sahabiye Medrese. Near the city's bedesten (covered bazaar) is the restored 12th- century Ulu Mosque. The Haci Kilic Mosque, north of the Cifte Medrese, dates from 1249. In the Cumhuriyet quarter, the 19th-century Resit Aga Mansion houses the Ataturk Museum which displays Ataturk's personal belongings.

Across from the Ataturk Museum, the historic Gupguoglu Mansion is now an Ethnography Museum.

South of Kayseri, in Develi, stand three more important Seljuk buildings: the Ulu Mosque, the Seyid-i Serif Tomb and the Develi Tomb. The nearby Sultan Marshes are the habitat of many bird species, of interest both to ornithologists and nature lovers.

North of Kayseri, Kultepe, known in ancient times as Kanesh or Karum, was one of the earliest Hittite commercial Cities. Dating from 2000 B.C., Kultepe was also one of the world's first cities of free trade. Today, however, only the foundations remain. Many of the finds can be examined in the Kayseri Archeological Museum.

On the same road is Sultanhan, a caravanserai built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the early 13th century and a favorite stop for tourists.

Ala Mountains, Nigde

Kapuzbasi Waterfall is 76 km south of Kayseri. In this beautiful natural site, seven different springs on the mountain face fall from heights ranging between 30 and 70 m.

Kayseri is one of the most important carpet and kilim production centers in Anatolia. Bunyan is the most famous carpet production center and Yahyali is the most famous kilim production center. Rugs woven in finely knotted floral patterns continue a centuries-old tradition. Local productions can be purchased in any of the Kayseri carpet shops.

Nigde, Nahita of Hittite times, lies in a valley flanked by volcanic peaks commanding the ancient trade route from Anatolia to the Mediterranean. Nigde's castle owes its present form to the Seljuks, and the elegant Alaeddin Mosque dates from the same period. From the 14th century era of' Mongol rule are the Sungur Bey Mosque and the Hudavend Hatun Mausoleum, an excellent example of the Anatolian tower-tomb. The 15th-century Ak Medrese now houses the Archeology Museum.

Ten km out of town is Eskigumus, a Byzantine monastery and church with massive columns and frescoes. These frescoes, dating from the 10th and the 11th centuries, are among the best-preserved in the region.

Bor, south of Nigde, was once a Hittite settlement, The town's historic buildings include the Seljuk Alaeddin Mosque and the Ottoman bedesten. Farther on, in the same direction, Kemerhisar is the site of the important Roman city of Tyana. A few more kilometers brings you to some Hittite ruins and a Roman aqueduct. The beautiful Aladaglar (Ala Mountains) National Park, perfect for mountain climbing, trekking and relaxation, is 50 km southeast of Nigde. One of the highest peaks is Demirkazik (3756 m). The best place to start your excursion in the park is Cukurbag.

Most of the historic buildings in Aksaray, such as the Ulu Mosque, date from the 14th century. The Kizil Minaret is noted for its attractive decorative brickwork.

Two of the most famous caravanserais from the Seljuk period are in the area: 40 km west of the city is the well preserved Sultanhan Caravanserai built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat, and 15 km towards Nevsehir is the Agzikarahan Caravanserai.

Mevlana Museum, Konya

The Melendiz River, at IhIara Valley, has eroded the banks into an impressive canyon. Byzantine rock chapels covered with frescoes pierce the canyon walls. Some of the best known are the Agacalti (Daniel) Church, the Yilanli (Apocalypse) Church and the Ala Mountains, Nigde Sumbullu (Hyacinth) Church.

Guzelyurt is another valley with dwellings dating from prehistoric times. You can see the beautiful silhouette of Mt. Hasan rising like a crown above the town. The valley's underground cities, buildings carved into the rock, interesting architecture, churches, chapels and mosques embody all of the characteristics of Cappadocia and give visitors a sense of historical continuity. Guzelyurt is a popular tourist destination with hospitable residents, extensive accommodations and numerous restaurants ensuring a pleasant stay. The rest area of Evren by the Hirfanli Dam Lake offers fish restaurants, a beach and swimming.


Konya, one of Turkey's oldest continuously inhabited cities was known as Iconium in Roman times. The capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries, it is one of the great cultural centers of Turkey. During that period of cultural, political and religious growth, the mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi founded a Sufi Order known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. The striking green-tiled mausoleum of Mevlana is Konya's most famous building. Attached to the mausoleum, the former dervish seminary is a museum housing manuscripts of Mevlana's works and various artifacts related to the mysticism of the sect. Every year, in the first half of December, this still active religious order holds a ceremony commemorating the Whirling Dervishes. The controlled, trance-like turning or sema of the white-robed men produces a fascinating performance.

Mevlevi Sema Ceremony, Konya

Alaeddin Mosque was built on the site of the ancient Konya citadel in 1220, during the reign of the great Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat and commands the Konya skyline. To one side of the mosque are the remains of the Seljuk Imperial Palace. The Karatay Medrese, now a museum, displays bold and striking Seljuk ceramics. On the other side of the mosque, the Ince Minareli Medrese of 1258 is remarkable for its marvelous baroque Seljuk portal. Other Seljuk works include the Sircali Medrese and the Sahip Ata Complex. Visitors find Konya's Archeological Museum of exceptional interest. The collection of the Koyunoglu Museum is a varied one, from natural history to antique kilims. Within the museum complex, the restored Izzettin Koyunoglu house illustrates the way of life of a prosperous Konya family in the last century. Sille, 10 km north of Konya, has the Byzantine Aya Eleni church and several rock chapels with frescoes. Aksehir, to the northwest, is known throughout Turkey as the birthplace of the 13th-century humorist Nasrettin Hoca, whose mausoleum stands in the town. The 13th century Ulu Mosque and the Altinkale Mescidi are other monuments worth seeing. The Sahip Ata Mausoleum has been converted into the town's museum.

On the way south to Beysehir, stop at Eflatun Pinar next to the lake to see this unusual Hittite monumental fountain. Several interesting Seljuk buildings are scattered around lovely Beysehir, on the shores of Lake Beysehir, Turkey's third largest lake. In its southwestern region is the pristine wilderness of Lake Beysehir, National Park. Among the monuments are the Esrefoglu Mosque and Medrese, and the Kubad-Abad Summer Palace across the lake. Another medieval palace stands on Kizkalesi Island, opposite the Kubad-Abad Palace. Haci Akif island also offers relaxation and recreation to visitors.

Catalhoyuk, 45 km south of Konya, is a fascinating Neolithic site dating from the eighth millennium B.C., which makes it one of the world's oldest towns. Archeologists have determined that holes in the roofs of the mud houses were their entrances. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara houses the famous temple (reconstructed), along with mother-goddess figures and Neolithic frescoes from the original site.

Reliefs in Ivriz, Konya

Surrounding Karapinar, 96 km east of Konya, are numerous crater lakes; the most famous is the lovely Meke Crater Lake, seven km southeast of Karapinar. On the north side of the road to Eregli, eight km from Karapinar, lies Aci Crater Lake. In the center of the lake is an island, which is a natural wonder. Surrounding Eregli, one of the largest counties in the province of Konya, are yellow cherry trees. The Eregli Archeological Museum displays many Hittite, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk artifacts.

At Ivriz, a Hittite site 168 km east of Konya and 18 km south of Eregli, you can see one of Turkey's finest neo-Hittite reliefs of a king and god of bountiful crops.

Karaman was once the capital of the Karamanid Emirate, the first Turkish state to use Turkish, instead of Persian, as its offical language. Fittingly, Yunus Emre, the first great poet to write in Turkish, lived here in the 13th century. The surrounding fortresses date from Seljuk times, although the town's most significant buildings, the Araboglu, Yunus Emre and Aktekke Mosques and the Hatuniye Medrese, were all built during the Karamanid reign.

There are also the 4th-century remains of a monastery, church and a chapel complex; called the Angel Michael Complex. A beautiful view is another attraction.

Visitors can still see the remains of churches and chapels at Madensehir, 45 km from Karaman, on the northern slope of Mt. Karadag.

Derbe, 30 km north of Karaman, was an important early Christian site-, one of the many where St. Paul preached the gospel.

Near Taskale, 48 km east of Karaman, on the rocky northern slope of Yesildere Valley, are the remains of the fascinating historic city of Manazan. Built during Byzantine times, the entire city of narrow lanes, houses, squares, storage facilities, chapels and cemeteries (occupying an area approximately three kilometers long and five stories high) was carved into the rocky hillside of the valley. Today, parts of the city are still used for storing wheat.

South of Karaman up a steep narrow road are the remains of a beautiful Byzantine monastery, Alahan. Much is still standing, and there is some fine stone carving to admire. This magnificent location offers a breathtaking view.



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