As one of the vital settlement areas of Anatolia which has been the threshold and cradle for civilizations, Tokat has been the living and conquest place of various empires, states and principalities thanks to its rich/abundant natural resources and geo strategic location. With its series of different altitudes of plateaus, plains, vineyards, orchards and rivers that stretch out from Mid-Black Sea Mountains to the south through the interiors of Anatolia, Tokat still keeps the footprints of its vivid and rich past today.
Numerous Hittite and Phrygian settlement areas were founded along Tokat, Kelkit, Yesilirmak and Cekerek River between 4000 and 2500 B.C. had high level of culture and art life. After Roman and Byzantine eras, the DANISMENDS, SELCUKS, ILHANLIS and Ottomans became dominant.
After the haughty Persian kings that ruled over Tokat and ENVIRONS along with many parts of Anatolia with the help its SATRAPS from the mids of the 6th century B.C. to the ends of the 4th century were confused by the swift and ambitious invasion of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. and finally yielded, Hellenistic Age started in Anatolia. After this period of 300 years in which the art activities were at the peak Rome era began. With the collapse of the Roman Empire at the end of the 4th century, Byzantine Empire got the heritage of Rome.
Roman emperor Julius Caesar defeated the Persian army noted for being invincible after a five-hours’ bloody and arduous fight in Zile in 47 B.C. and said the famous words “VENI, VEDI, VICI” in other words “I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED” here. It is told that he had these words written on a column he had erected. Today there is a stone on which these words are written in Zile Castle.
Tokat and Niksar used to be the center of the episcopacy of Pontika KAPADOKYA. In the 12th century, Byzantine Empire starts to dissolve and lose its strength against the Turk-Islam states which were getting strong. Seljuk Turks that founded the greatest civilization of the era left their impressions in those places, as well, with their human appreciating cultures, art, prosperity, architecture and scientific works. Having beauty and patient in its essence, this civilization that we can encounter nearly everywhere in Tokat district could shortly spread out every corner of Anatolia.
Yildirim Beyazit invaded Tokat and all its vicinity to the Ottoman territories in 1932. Keeping on the reconstruction and culture activities from the point left by the SELCUKLUS, the Ottomans made Tokat a fundamental center of trade and culture.
There are mountainous areas named Deveci Dagi, Dumanli Dagi, Canik Daglari in Tokat having been founded between the valleys formed by Akdag and Camlibel mountains. Considerable scale of fruit and vegetable growing is carried out in the plains of Tokat. According to researches it was found that the most important gene sources of cherry and morello exist around Tokat district and a type of cherry called "Cerasus Inkana" is a plant unique (endemic) to the district. Tokat is under the effect of both Black Sea climate and Middle Anatolian continental climate.
The counties of the province Tokat are Almus, Artova, Basciftlik, Erbaa, Niksar, Pazar, Resadiye, Sulusaray, Turhal, Yesilyurt and Zile.
With the construction of Almus Dam Lake, the region reached a splendid scene; gives the image of heaven where the blue and the green merges. Almus Dam Lake is a convenient place for water sports and angling as well as mountain pasture tourism which is very popular in summer in plateaus such as Dumanli Plateau Chains and Catak Plateau.
Horoztepe Ruins site, Bogazkesen Fortress in Kale Village, and Yer Bridge are among the most significant ancient sightseeing of the town. Silahtar Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Fidi Village can be considered as one of the most outstanding samples of the wooden-frame house style architecture.
Niksar is 60 kms to Tokat city center and situated completely as a touristic sightseeing city. The historical settlement starting from the Hittites era and the ruins left by several civilizations throughout the history have added value to Niksar by making it a more interesting and original town. The town has served the capital of the Danismend State with properous ancient monuments and historical artifacts remained from Selcukian, Danismendian, and Ottoman Civilizations. Leylekli Bridge, Niksar Fortress, Kirkkizlar Mausoleum, Danismendi Melik Gazi Tomb are among these historical ruins. Moreover Niksar Ayvaz Spring Water as the softest and mildest spring water of the world plays an important role in contributing to the reputation of the town. .
Pazar (Bazaar) is 25 kms to Tokat centrum. Ballica Cave within the town limits boosts the tourism demand of the district noticably. More to this Pazar Bridge ruins remained from Selcukian Era and Mahperi Hatun Caravanserai visitor attractions of the town.
Sulusaray (Palace in spring water) is 68 kms to the city center. Sulusaray serves as an open air museum currently. Sebastapolice is the name of the ancient settlement in Sulusaray. The town was active in Bronze Age in 3000 B.C., latter under the rule of Hittites in 2000 B.C. and Phrygians in 1000 B.C. confirmed by the kiln-dried terracotta earthenwares found in excavations. These earthenwares are exhibited in Tokat Museum. In this ancient town, city walls, ruins of a church, a Turkish Bath, and a health and spa center with mosaic pedestal are the new discoveries. The thermal spring facilities of the town are another tourist attraction.
Turhal is founded in the cross road of the routes connecting Inner Anatolia Region to Blacksea region and Eastern Anatolia to west. The town is surrounded bu mountains and Turhal Fortress is located in the center of the town. The fortress has two battlement towers remained from an ancient castle and an underground passage. Kesikbas Mosque, Ulu Mosque and Kova Mosque near the Turhal Fortress and Ahi Yusuf Baba, Ahi Yusuf Baba, Sheik Sehabettin, Nurullah Efendi Tombs are the attractions worth visiting.
It is possible to visit the ruins of the Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Ilhanli, Danismendi, Selcukian and Ottoman Civilizations in Zile which has reigned by Hittites, Phrygians, Persians, Romans and Byzantines consequently. Among these ruins Zile Fortress, the amfitheater which has been engraved on the eastern rocks of the citadel from the Roman Era , the Necropolis engraved on stone on the northeastern part of the citadel, Cay Spring, Imam Melikiddin Mausoleum, Sheikh Musa Fakih Mausoleum, Ulu Mosque, Elbasoglu Mosque, Cifte Hamam (Turkish Bath), Yeni Hamam (Turkish Bath), Masat Tumulus, Hisar Fortres, Anzavur Caves, Haci Boz Bridge, Koc Stone and monastery ruins in Kuru Cay Stream are among the natural ancient sites worth sightseeing. .
Roman Emperor Julius Caesare has announced his victory after the historical battle in Zile with the famous quote: "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw and I conquered). The stone which this quote is engraved on is still on exhibit in Zile Castle.
MUSEUMS AND SIGHTSEEINGS
Tokat Museum / Gokmedrese Madrasah (Pervane Darussifasi Hospital)
Gokmedrese Madrasah, located in the city center is a Selcukian monument built in 1277 by Muhineddin Pervane Suleyman. It possesses distinctive features of Anatolian Selcukian Era architecture and art. Gokmedrese is a double floored, double Eyvan (special Selcukian architectural structure with three walls and a roof on top), open air patio/court (avlu) in the center and arcadial, collonadal building. The madrasah has been used as a hospital and one of the rooms served as a mausoleum untill 18th cc., later on it functioned as an immigrant and refugee hostel. The historical artifacts belonging to each epoch of 6000 years of Tokat history are exhibited in this museum. The archeological and ethnographical artifacts are exhibited and stored along in the museum. The archeological artifacts as Masat Tumulus Excavation (Zile) and Ulutepe (Turhal), Niksar and the artifacts excavated in the surroundings as well as provided by donations and purchase are exhibited. The diversified and numerous ethnographical pieces of the surrounding are inherited by donations and purchase. Since the structure was built as a madrasah previously it is not very convenient for a museum and the exhibition of all the materials in a chronological order is done in a quite limited manner due to capacity. The ground floor rooms numbered 1-15 and first floor rooms numbered 1-6 and the galleries, arcades are used in exhibition of tumulus excavations artifacts belonging to Bronze Age, Hittites, Iron Age architectural ruins and kiln-dried terracotta wares, bones, mines and stone artifacts.
Zile - Masat Hoyuk Tumulus - Yalinyazi Site
Masat Tumulus located 20 kms to the south of Zile and 1500 meters to the west of Masat (Yalinyazi) Village as the crowfiles, witnessed three epochs as the Bronze Age, the Ancient Bronze Age in B.C.3000s, the Hittites Age in B.C.2000s and the Phrygian Age in B.C. 1000s. Along with the kiln-dried terracotta earthenware , metal and glassware, Hittite Hieroglyph tablets are witnesses of their era produced.
Sulusaray is located 68 kms in the southwest of Tokat. The tumulus was approved to be used as a dwelling in Ancient Bronze Age in B.C. 3000, Hittites in B.C. 2000 and Phrygians in B.C.1000 based on the kiln-dried artifacts from the excavations which are now exhibited in Tokat Museum. In the excavations of this ancient town, city walls, ruins of a church, a Turkish Bath, and a health and spa center with mosaic pedestal are discovered. These mosaics are exhibited in Tokat Museum. The other archeological sites are Turhal – Ulutepe, Horoztepe, Niksar, Tufantepe, Komana Pontika.
Tokat is a very wealthy city considering its historical sites. The towns and villages of Tokat is covered with hundreds of even thousands of mosques differing in size, Turkish Baths, inns, fortresses, fountains, madrasahs, mausoleums and many rare and precious structures. Some of these are mentioned and summarized in the following.
It was built near the city center on steep cliffs. It was built for defense and used for protection and imprisonment of distiguinshed persons. The 362 stepped stair heading down to the city center is named as Ceylan Yolu ( Gazelle Road) and assumed that it was built in 5th or 6th century A.D.
Zile Fortress: In
Zile town center standing on a tumulus as an acropol built in Roman Era 1st cc BC., underground passages and military structures exist.
Mosques and Madrasahs
Among the significant mosques of the city center, Rustem Celebi Mosque(Ilhanli), Garipler Mosque (Danismendi), Ali Pasa Mosque (Ottoman), Ulu Mosque (Ottoman), Haci Behzadi Mosque (Ottoman), Meydan Mosque (Ottoman), Hamzabey Mosque (Ottoman), Takyeciler Mosque (Ottoman), Kadi Hasan Mosque (Ottoman), Acepsir Mosque (Ottoman), Gaybi Mosque (Ottoman), Seyyit Necmettin Mosque (Ottoman), Tatar Haci Mosque (Ottoman), Su Icmez Mosque (Ottoman), Akdegirmen Mosque (Ottoman), Devegormez Mosque (Ottoman), Cekenli Hamza Bey Mosque (Ottoman), Tabakhane Mosque (Ottoman), Kaya Mosque (Ottoman), Cay Mosque (Ottoman), Malkayasi Mosque (Ottoman), Kadi Hasan(Dudukcu aga) Mosque (Ottoman), Young Mehmet (Ortmelionu) Mosque (Ottoman), Mahmut Pasa Mosque (OttomanYolbasi Mosque (Ottoman), Horuc Mosque (Ottoman) Ormandibi Koyu Mosque Ottoman; in Zile, Ishak Pasa Mosque (Ottoman), Nasuh Pasa Ulu Mosque (Ottoman), Boyaci Hasan Aga Mosque (Ottoman), Seyh Ethem Celebi Mosque (Ottoman) Bedesten Mosque (Ottoman), Molla Yahya Mosque (Ottoman), Kebir Mosque (Ottoman), Hoca Beyazit Mosque (Ottoman), Elbasoglu Mosque (Ottoman) Bayramaga Mosque (Ottoman), Alaca Mescit Mosque (Ottoman); in Niksar Ulu Mosque (Danismentli), Cin Mosque (Selcuklu), Kale Mescidi (Selcuklu), Alcakbel Mosque (Ottoman), Cilhane Mosque (Ottoman), Hoca Sultan Mosque (Ottoman), Kesfi Osman Mosque (Ottoman), in Turhal Ulu Mosque (Ottoman), Kesikbas Mosque (Ottoman), Dazya (Gumustop Koyu Omer Pasa) Mosque (Ilhanli), Uzumoren Mosque (Ottoman); in Pazar Halil Bey Mosque (Ottoman), Sinan Bey Mosque (Ottoman) Erbaa Ravakbaba Mosque (Ottoman); in Erbaa Akca Town, Omer Pasa Mosque (Ottoman) can be listed.
Tokat Meydan Mosque
Meydan Mosque was built for Gulbahar Hatun who was the mother of Sultan II. Bayezit, and known as Hatuniye Mosque in the records.The mosque was built in the Meydan Quarter which it was named after the large square in 1474 was effected in the earthquakes in 1939 and 1943. It was restored and prepared for worship in 1953 is one of the most charming Ottoman structures is Tokat.
Niksar Ulu Mosque
Niksar Ulu Mosque is known as the first buildings of Danismends eventhough there is no written record, the researchs result that it was built in 1145. It is rectangular shaped with a corner chamfered. Hewn stones and flintstones are used. Eastern,western and southern walls are square and southwest corner is semicircle supported with 13 abutments.
Harim is separated into 5 platform in north-south direction with a 4-lined quadrangle pedestal. The upper cover is crossed vaulted shrine, altar and 4. and 5. pedestals of the middle field front are domed. Enlightment is done by embrasure windows. In the northern frontier hewn stone gate is covered with plait and arabesque rims. The minaret in the center of the western wall is brick housing and restored afterwards.
The most important ones among the others are Selcukian architecture style Tokat Gokmedrese (Museum), Ottoman architecture style Hatuniye Madrasah and Orta Madrasah (Sulu Bedesten) and Danismendi structures as such as Tokat Yagibasan Cukur (Hollow) and Niksar Yagibasan Madrasahs. Ottoman era architecture Mevlevihane is also a significant religious structure.
Tokat and Niksar Yagibasan Madrasahs
Niksar and Tokat Yagibasan Madrasahs are two of Anatolia’s initial madrasahs and built in the mid12th cc. Madrasahs with interior courts resemble enourmously to each other by their plan. But Tokat Yagibasan has 3 eyvans and Niksar has 2 eyvans. They were built with debris stone material. The renovation record book of the madrasah in Tokat, Sulusokak location in 1247 by Nizameddin Yagibasan who was the 3. reigner of Danismendis Sivas sect is still stored in the museum. He was named as “Yagibasan” by his father, meaning “enemy buster,defeater” since he was born after a victory in a battle. In some of the resources the construction date is referred as 552/1157 stands on Niksar Castle. It is recently in a wrecked condition.
Hans (Inns) and Caravanserais
Tashan (Voyvoda) (Ottoman), Pasha (Ottoman), Sul Hani (Ottoman), Deveci Han- Fatih Mehmet Pasha Hani (Ottoman), Pazar Mahperi Hatun Caravanserai (Selcukian), Tahtoba Caravanserai (Selcukian), Camlibel Caravanserai (Selcukian) are of those worth sightseeing in Tokat.
It was constructed in 1631 which is a great Ottoman structure. A large courtyard is located in the heart of the inn in the northern southern direction constructed oblong, rectangular by hewn stone and bricks and double floored. It has 112 rooms and a small mosque with arcades, porches facing the courtyard on both floors.
Pasha Hani is at the end of the Sulusokak street. It was constructed by Zaralizade Mehmet Pasha in the reign of Sultan Mahmut I in 1752. It has a beautiful portal built of hewn stone and a courtyard surrounded by blind walls.
Deveci Hani (Develik Inn)
It is in the south of Takyeciler Mosque and is in a terrible condition today. It has two floors and a courtyard with arcades. It was constructed by hewn stone, debris stone and bricks.
Bedesten and Arasta
These are on the south of Takyeciler Mosque. They were restorated by the municipality of Tokat and projects were prepared for outlets for handwritten manuscripts, copper, skilled trade sales.
Pervane Turkish Bath (Selcukian), Mustafa Pasha Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Pasha Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Camagzi Village Turkish Bath (Selcukian), Niksar Unye Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Niksar Big Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Niksar CavusTurkish Bath (Selcukian), Niksar Kucukkale Turkish Bath (Selcukian), Niksar Kale Turkish Bath (Selcukian), Zile Yeni Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Zile Cifte Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Pazar Beyobasi Turkish Bath (Selcukian), Ali Pasha Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Sultan Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Turhal Halil Bey Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Zile Dervish lodges Turkish Bath (Ottoman), Zile City Turkish Bath (Ottoman) are the most important ones among the Turkish baths in Tokat.
Ali Pasha Turkish Bath
It is a part of the Kulliye (complex of buildings adjacent to a mosque) constructed in 1572 by Ali Pasha. The male and female divisions are symmetrical, the dressroom is square, the heating division is made of 4 eyvans.
Pervane Turkish Bath
It is 13th cc Selcukian structure. It has divisions for males and females and resembling to the style of Cifte Hamam has planned symmetrical.
It is in the northern part of the city aboveYesilirmak River.The bridge which is an Anatolian Selcukian structure was built in 1250. It is 151 meters in length and 7.8 meters in width, made of hewn stone, acute arched and has 5 divisions. Triangle shaped arches were placed under bridge to channel the water and prevent its rapid flow. They are still being used nowadays. Other than the Hidirlik Bridge, Niksar Leylekli Bridge and Sulusaray Bridge from Roman period; Niksar Seymenler Bridge, Niksar Taskemer Bridge, Niksar- Unye Bridge, Erbaa Kalekoy Bridge, Geyras (Godosun) Bridge and Cilhane Bridge from Ottoman period, are among the most important bridges and arches of Tokat.
Mauseloums, Cupolas, Dervish Lodges
There are plenty of mauseloums, cupolas, dervish lodges in Tokat. These are Murat Sevdakar Mausoleum (Selcukian), Halef Sultan dervish lodge(Selcukian), Sumbulbaba small dervish lodge (Selcukian), Seyh Meknun Acikbas Mausoleum (Selcukian), Horozoglu small dervish lodge (Ottoman), Niksar Kulak dervish lodge (Selcukian), Ahi Muhittin dervish lodge and small dervish lodge (Ilhanli), Erenler Cupola (Selcukian-Ilhanli), Acepsir dervish lodge ve Mausoleum (Selcukian), Niksar Isik dervish lodge (Selcukian), Vezir Ahmet Pasha Mausoleum (Selcukian), Niksar Horosan dervish lodge (Ottoman), Pir Ahmet Bey Mausoleum (Horozoglu) (Ottoman), Nurettin Ibni Sentimur Mausoleum (Ilhanli), Sefer Pasha Mausoleumsi (Selcukian), Kitabesiz Mausoleum (Ottoman), Ali Tusi Ebul Kasim Mausoleum (Selcukian), Burgac Hatun Mausoleum (Ilhanli), Camagzi Koyu Mausoleum (Ottoman), Pir Mehmet Mausoleum (Ottoman), Gumenek Mausoleum (Ilhanli) Kirkkizlar Mausoleum (Selcukian), Haci Cikrik Evliya Mausoleum (Selcukian), Niksar Sunguriye Mausoleum (Selcukian), Niksar Melik Gazi Mausoleum (Selcukian), Erbaa Ravakbaba Mausoleum (Ottoman), Turhal Ahi Yusuf Mausoleum (Ottoman), Turhal Aziz Baba Mausoleum (Ottoman), Niksar Yusufsah Mausoleum (Selcukian), Zile Seyh Eyuk Mausoleum (Ottoman), Zile Seyh Nusrettin Mausoleum (Ottoman), Turhal Seyit Komutan Mausoleum, Niksar Akyapi Mausoleum, Ali Pasha Mausoleum (Ottoman), Malum Seyyid Mausoleum (Ottoman), Turhal Kesikbas Mausoleum (Ottoman), Turhal Sehit Sehabettin Mausoleum (Ottoman), Zile Seyh Ethem Mausoleum (Ottoman) and Mehmet Nurullah Mausoleum (Ottoman).
Other historical monuments
There are grave monument ruins in Tokat from roman period. These are Kizik Village Tomb engraved monument, Zile engraved tomb monument, Zile Kapikaya tomb monument and Gumenek engraved tomb monument. Niksar Castle Chapel from Selcukian period and Tama Torgus Church from Byzantine era and Erbaa Church ruins are main attractions.
Clock Tower was built in 1902 to be seen from every corner of the city. Its gate is in south direction and 33 meters high, it was constructed from hewn stone.
Latifoglu Mansion is located on the Tokat centrum on Gazi Osman Pasha Avenue was constructed as Ottoman Baroque style in 18th cc. The wooden fret work, carvings and engraved decorations inside the double storied building are perfect. Other than Latifogullari Mansion, Yogurtcuogullari Mansion, Musluoglu Mansion and Maaz Gurkan House are significant civil architecture buildings.
The worn out old Tokat houses aged over each other as a collaboration sample in the narrow streets, the civil architecture of Tokat can be impresively witnessed. Bey Street is in Tokat centrum. Wooden houses lined both ways belonging to early Ottoman and Republic period.
Historical Ancient Tokat Houses
In this historical streets Old Tokat houses are expecting to return to their gorgeous days which have witnessed epochs and struggled to resist the time and worn out are worth seeing.
Other tourist attractions, natural and cultural resources
Sulusaray Thermal Spring
Sulusaray Spring boiling between historical Nicepolice ruins are one of the important springs of the region and city. Hot spring water is 55 °C. It is named as salty, sulfated and slight bitter water according to its mineral values. There are camping areas, pensions, accomodation units and tent camps for rent in the spring area.
Resadiye Thermal Spring
Resadiye Thermal Spring is in Resadiye district. Its average temperature is 40- 41 °C. It has healing characteristics for arthritis, polio and calcification. The facilities, bathing pools and motels are so modern and comfortable.
Camici, Topcam, Bizeri, Gurlevik, Batmantas, Dumanli Plateus are the most popular ones in Tokat among the local residents.
Indere (Ballica) Cave
It is in Pazar district and one of the most magnificent caves of the worls with 680 meters in length and 94 meters of height. It is considered as one of the world’s most beautiful and rich caverns with its stalactites and stalagmites, collonades, pillars, wall and fleckstones, cave roses and cracks, fleck stone ponds and bulbous stalactites inside the cave. It impresses its visitors, the tempeture keeping 18-19 degrees whole year inside the cave is also very interesting. Breathtaking is noticably easy inside the cave.
Located in Kunduz village territories of Tokat, Artova district; around Yesilyurt 4 kmsof distance to the center, 1500 meters to the road and 300 meters high. The entrance of the cave is a round arch and it is covered with stones and soil inside. It is said that it was used as a mint for coining moneys previously. No adequate research is conducted for the cave so far.
Camping and Caravanning
Gumenek, Sulusaray Thermal Spring , Gij Gij Mountain are the most natural and convenient places for camping and caravan tourism.
Alan Plateu- Akdag Peak (2000 m.)- Ballica Cave is a perfect racecourse for trekking sports fans. Kaz Lake , Resadiye Zinav Lake, Almus Dam Lake, Topcam, Gurlevik, Camici are unique natural wonders and perfect for nature walking.
Bird Observation Field
Kaz Lake serves as a bird paradise which is also a nest for various kinds of birds with the sedgies and rushies the birds feed on .
Angling and fishing
The district is a n ideal place for angling due to its abundancy of rivers, ponds, lakes. Almus Dam Lake is convenient for every kind of watersports
Tokat Cuisine is also appetizing, delicious and rich. Tokat Kebabi, meat filled stuffed leaves (etli dolma), especially stuffed green vine leaves, fava bean dolma, keskek(special dish with meat and rice), Gendume soup, Bacakli soup, walnut bun, bezli sucuk (stuffed spicy faggot, wurst in cloth), bat dishes are best served with Tokat wine. Especially the Mahlep wine which is only produced in Tokat has a different and amazing taste.
Souvenirs can be found in Coppersmiths’ Bazaar , Hornplayers’ Bazaar, Sandalmakers’ Bazaar along with the Yazmacilar (scarf) Bazaar. The headscarfs and printcloth died with wooden print are very distinctive and famous. The villages are worth visiting and known for their local, authentic clothing, folklore and handwoven clothes.www.tokat.bel.tr www.tokat.gov.tr