The Central Anatolia Region, located in the center of Turkey, covers approximately 19 percent of the land in Turkey, with a surface area of 151,000 km2. It is the second largest region in the country after the Eastern Anatolia Region. Nevsehir, Aksaray, Kirikkale and Kirsehir Provinces are entirely within the borders of the region, while some sections of other provinces are partly in the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Eastern Anatolia Regions.
Agriculture and animal husbandry are important sources of income in Central Anatolia. Approximately one-third of the grain production in Turkey is in this region. Wheat production surpasses the other types of grains. As far as wheat production in the region is concerned, Konya Province has always been in the lead followed by Ankara Province. Hard wheat, which is suitable for making macaroni, bulgur and semolina, is grown in the region. Of the leguminous plants, mostly beans, chickpeas and a small amount of lentils are sown. One-third of the production of potatoes in Turkey is also realized in this region. Of the industrial plants, sugar beets are grown the most. Konya, Ankara, Nigde, Nevsehir and Kayseri are significant for viniculture and fruit growing.
There are small and medium-size industrial facilities in Central Anatolia. Carpet weaving is concentrated in some areas of Kayseri, Sivas and Konya Provinces. The main industrial facilities in the region are concentrated in the centers, such as Ankara, Eskisehir, Kayseri, Sivas, Konya, Kirikkale and Corum.
Ankara, the Capital City
Ankara, the heart of the National War of Independence, has been planned in a modern manner and developed in a short period of time. In the research made related to the history of Ankara, the remains of the Hittites and Phrygians were encountered in the surroundings of Ankara, however, no settlement place was revealed inside the city. Ankara, with its known history, was first founded by the Celts. In the third century B.C., the Celts, who came from Europe via the Balkans and the Straits up to Central Anatolia, founded the Galatian State, with Ankara as their first known capital city. The city later experienced the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods.
The most interesting structure in Ankara is the Anitkabir (Mausoleum), constructed for Ataturk. The construction of the monument, on Rasattepe, started in 1944 and finished in 1953. In the same year, Ataturk was moved from his tem- porary grave at the Ethnographic Museum with great cere- mony to Anitkabir, his eternal place of rest.
The Ankara Citadel, rising on top of a hill which dominates Ankara, was first constructed by the Celts in the third century B.C. The walls of the Citadel, which are composed of two sections, the inner citadel and the outer citadel, are made of Ankara stone. The citadel which was restored during various periods, acquired its present day appearance from the Seljuks. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, that is one of the richest museums in Turkey, is located next to the citadel. Artifacts from the various civilizations in Anatolia, starting from the Stone Age (50,000 B.C., Middle Paleolithic Period), and periods until the Roman Period (second century A.D.) are displayed at the museum.
The Temple of Augustus, in the Ulus District, was constructed in the second century A.D. The written inventory of all the deeds accomplished by the Roman Emperor Augustus on the walls of this temple, is an important historical document. The baths, theater and Column of Julian are among the other remains of the Roman Period.
Among the mosques in Ankara, the Aslanhane Mosque, constructed in the thirteenth century, is famous for its turquoise tiled mihrab (niche), the Haci Bayram Mosque, built in the fifteenth century, is decorated with Kutahya glazed tiles and the Kocatepe Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Ankara, constructed between 1967 and 1987, are worth seeing. The city is also famous for its monuments. The most conspicuous of these monuments are the Republic Monument in the Ulus District, the Victory Monument in the Yenisehir District and the Hatti Monument at the Sihhiye Square. The Hatti Monument symbolizes the Hattis, the first known native society of Anatolia who lived between 3000 and 2000 B.C.
Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, is also the capital of culture and art. Winter nights in Ankara are very lively with the theater, opera, ballet, modern dance, classical and pop music performances. International art, music, film and children''s festivals enliven the city. The Cikrikcilar Street and the Bakircilar (Coppersmiths) Market are old and charming shopping areas where various copper and brass souvenirs are sold. Among the modern shopping centers in the city are the Kizilay District, Tunali Hilmi Avenue, Atakule Mall at Cankaya, Karum Mall at Kavaklidere, Ankuva Mall at Bilkent and Galleria Mall at Cayyolu. A panoramic view of Ankara can be seen from Atakule, a tower 125 meters high, which has a revolving restaurant, a cafe and an observation terrace.
Eskisehir meerschaum is known worldwide. Meerschaum, which is like a symbol of Eskisehir, is a rare claylike mineral. It is soft when it is extracted from the soil and it gets hard in time. Consequently, it has acquired the name of "White Gold" in the region. A Meerschaum Festival is organized in Eskisehir every year. The Meerschaum Museum, which displays how the meerschaum is extracted, processed and its various forms, is well worth seeing.
Eskisehir is virtually a city of students with, more than 250,000 students. Anadolu University, the largest university in Turkey, and one of the ten largest universities in the world, is in Eskisehir. Furthermore, the province has become a rapidly developing industrial and trade center in recent years. The "International Eskisehir Art Festival" is organized annually in the province where cultural and art activities have also been increasing. The festival, in which world-famous artists participate, is followed with enthusiasm by the people of the city.
The grave of Yunus Emre, a famous poet who lived in the thirteenth century, is in Sarikoy to the east of Eskisehir. Yunus Emre is one of the leading architects of the spiritual values of the Turkish nation. The peerless poet has played a significant role in providing unity to the Anatolian Turks. The emotions of love for human beings, close friendship, tolerance and unity are very influential in his poems. Every year an International Yunus Emre Culture and Art Week is organized in Sarikoy.
The Motherland of the Hittites
The lands of Corum Province, including the ancient cities of Hattusas (Bogazkoy), the capital city of the Hittites and Alacahoyuk, are within the Central Anatolia Region. However, the capital of Corum Province is located in the Black Sea Region. Hattusas, which is surrounded by large city walls, appears to be like a city of temples. Here, at the Yazilikaya Open Air Temple, there are reliefs of all the Hittite gods and goddesses. Alacahoyuk is another important settlement center of the Hittites near Hattusas. The ancient city is especially known for the sphinxes at the entrance gate to the city. Furthermore, Alacahoyuk was also an important city of the Hattis who lived in Anatolia before the Hittites. Bronze, gold and silver sun disks, statues symbolizing gods, wine containers, crowns, belts and earrings were found in graves which belong to this period (2500 B.C.) of the city. These precious works of art are exhi- bited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.
Sivas, which is on the route of international trade roads, is very rich in historical and tourist assets. The Grand Mosque, from the twelfth century, the Double Minaret, Sifaiye, Buruciye and Gok Madrasahs from the thirteenth century, the Guduk Minaret from the fourteenth century and the Sait Pasha Mosque, Tashan and Kursunlu Baths from the sixteenth century, are some of the works displaying the historical richness of the province. The carpets and kilims of Sivas have a fame surpassing the borders of Turkey, and they are known for the originality of their colors and designs, superior quality and matchless workmanship. Knitted and woven articles such as bags, saddlebags, belts, socks and scarves are among the leading handicrafts in Sivas. Silver items, combs and knives made of bone are also unique examples of the Sivas handicrafts.
The Balikli Cermik Thermal Springs, which are well-known in the world, are near Kangal County in Sivas Province. The thermal spring waters, at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, gush from the source, accompanied by fish that are 2 cm to 10 cm in length. The fish approach patients who have skin problems, such as chronic pimples, wounds, eczema and psoriasis, and clean and heal the wounds without causing pain to the patients. One of the most important centers for the cure of psoriasis in the world is here. It is possible to completely recover from psoriasis in 21 days.
The Goreme National Park
Goreme National Park has the most interesting and beautiful land formations in Turkey and is worth seeing. Hasan Mountain and Erciyes Mountain, the two largest inactive volcanoes in Central Anatolia, were active in earlier geological periods and the whole region was covered with tufa spewed from the volcano. The fantastic Goreme National Park, which was created by nature as the result of erosion from wind and rain over centuries, has formed the countless fairy chimneys, caves and beautiful rock formations, and the colors that used to be red, pink and brown were transformed in time into gray, yellow and green.
Goreme National Park, which was an official state during the period of the Roman Empire, was named "Cappadocia", which means "the Country of White Horses" in Persian. The region shelters a unique land structure and was used intensively as a religious center by the early Christians during the Roman and Byzantine Periods. The volcanic, soft tufa structures were carved easily by the early Christians and underground cities, monasteries and churches were built. Uchisar, with its panoramic view and citadel; Goreme, with its frescoed churches in Open Air Museum, pensions, hotels, restaurants and cafes; Zelve, with its monastery complexes; Avanos, with its workshops, which produce pottery and extraordinarily beautiful glazed tiles; Urgup, a center for shopping and spending the night; Kaymakli and Derinkuyu with their underground cities, are all worth seeing. Nevsehir Province is at the center of the volcanic plateau, Kirsehir Province is to the north, Kayseri Province is to the east, Nigde Province is to the south and Aksaray Province is to the west.
Haci Bektas Veli Kulliyesi (complex of buildings attached to a mosque) can be visited as a museum in Hacibektas County to the north of Nevsehir, surrounded by the Goreme National Park. The famous Turkish philosopher Bektas Veli, who was raised here, enlightened the Anatolians with his humanist ideas. Kirsehir Province, which has a rich culture, is located to the north of Hacibektas. The great Turkish philosophers and scientists transformed Kirsehir into a center where Turkish culture was kept alive. Caca Bey, Asik Pasha and Ahmet Bey enlightened the Turkish society with their works written in Turkish.
These great persons, who were raised in Kirsehir, taught Turkish at the madrasahs and played an important role in the "Turkification" of Anatolia and the founding of the Ottoman State. Ahi Evran, who was the leader of the Turkish tradesmen, and the originator of the concepts of cooperatives, workers unions and social security, also lived in Kirsehir. Seyfe Lake, where flamingos live on its banks, and the Hirfanli Dam Lake, are the most attractive recreation areas in the environs of the city. The Mikasonmiya Commemorative Garden, one of the largest parks in Turkey, is located near Kaman County. There are a total of 16,500 trees of 33 different species at the park.
Kayseri Province, located on the plains at the northern foot of Erciyes Mountain to the east of Nevsehir, is one of the most important industrial centers of the Central Anatolia Region. In particular, the textile industry, food industry, carpet weaving, copperworks and leather processing are of great importance. Most of the minerals are exported, such as iron, lignite and chromium, which are extracted from the lands of Kayseri which are rich in minerals. The rest are used in making metal goods.
There are numerous historical sites in Kayseri Province belonging to the Beylics, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods, as is the case in the other Anatolian cities. The ancient city of Kultepe is located to the north of the city. Kultepe (Karum), which was an important trade center founded by the Hittites around 2000 B.C., is known as the first city in the world where free trade was practiced. The first wandering merchants in the world were marketing the Anatolian goods they bought at Kultepe in Mesopotamia and they were selling the goods they bought at Mesopotamia, in Kultepe. Kultepe remains are exhibited at the Kayseri Archaeological Museum.
A City that is Filled with History Everywhere
Konya Province shelters the oldest and the most precious works of Turkish history. Konya takes its place along with Istanbul, Bursa and Edirne Provinces from the aspect of the richness of the Turkish architectural monuments. The city, which was the capital of the Anatolian Seljuks for more than 200 years, is unique concerning the richness of the architectural works belonging to this period. Mevlana, the famous Turkish philosopher, lived and died here. Mevlana, who was the most humanistic philosopher of all times, stated that success starts with the "Love of Human Beings", and his thoughts have continued to the present. The love for Mevlana is gradually increasing especially in the western countries. The Mevlana Museum is among the most interesting places in the city. In the Museum there are various Korans, vases, musical instruments and carpets belonging to the Seljuks, and various items belonging to the Mevlevis, and under the tomb, which is covered on the exterior with green glazed tiles, are the sarcophagi of Mevlana and his father. The tomb of Sems-i Tebrizi, the teacher and close friend of Mevlana, is covered with an octagonal pyramid and it is located near the Mevlana Museum.
Karaman Province to the south of Konya is an important center from the aspect of Turkish history and language. In 1277, the Turkish language was adopted in Karaman as the official language of Anatolia for the first time. Karaman Citadel was constructed by the Seljuks in the twelfth century. The Araboglu Mosque, which is interesting because of its dragon-head shaped gutter-pipes and original arches, was built by the Karamanogullari in the fourteenth century. Among other historical works which are interesting are the Nefise Sultan Madrasah, with its elegant decorations, the Karamanoglu Ibrahim Bey Kulliyesi, known for its richly ornamented minaret, the Mevlana Mosque (Aktekke), and the Emir Musa Pasha Madrasah. There are numerous monasteries and churches belonging to the early Christians in the surroundings, and at the summit of Karadag (elevation 2288 meters), to the north of the city, which was called "the Region of 1001 Churches" by the Christians in the past.