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[Aksaray]


Aksaray      



Aksaray is very close to the world-famous Cappadocia Region. It has a long history starting since about 8000 BC. Asiklihoyuk, located in Aksaray is a settlement that belongs to Neolith Age. In 3000-2000 BC, in the period of Asur Trade Colonies, Acemhoyuk was an important trade center. Later, during the periods of Hittites, Hellenistic, Romans, Byzantines, Selcuklus and Ottomans, Aksaray became an attractive center with its cultural and historical values, natural beauties and geographical location.

Aksaray’s counties are Ağaçören, Eskil, Gülağaç, Güzelyurt, Ortaköy and Sarıyahşi


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www.aksaray.gov.tr


Mosques and Tombs


Egri Minaret (Kizil Minaret)


Egri Minaret (Kizil Minaret) was built in Selcuklu period in the center of the town and this minaret has a cylindrical body made of red bricks that stands on a square-shaped base. The body has zigzag ornaments at the bottom and also blue and green ceramic mosaic decorations at the top. Since the minaret is standing at an inclination, it has been tied up with steel ropes.

Karamanoglu Mosque (Ulu Mosque)


Karamanoglu Mosque (Ulu Mosque) that was built on the place of Selcuklu Mosque in 1408-1409. There are 5 straight naves in this mosque and the mihrap (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) has a dome above it. This mosque was built in the period of Selcuklus. The beautiful crowned door is located at the north of the mosque. The mosque has been repaired several times during 19th century, but the originality of it is still present. The minbar (pulpit) is made of ebony tree by using kuntekari technique and has nice geometrical shapes. This minbar is a very good example for Selcuklu wooden handicrafts. The side barriers of this minbar are a blocks of wood and have been placed by using hemstitch (openwork) technique.

Kaya Mosque


In the center of the Guzelyurt town center there is a mosque called Kaya Mosque, which is thought to be built in 14th century. This mosque has been used by Christians and Muslims. Most of the mosque has been made via rock graving and has a system of ground tackle covers.

Seyh Hamid-i Veli (Somuncu Baba) Tomb and Mosque


It is located at the Kilicarslan Hill, in the Evrah Cemetery. This building is in a form of open air tomb and has been built in 1412. Inside the building there is a square-planned torture room. Kilicarslan Tomb is located at the same hill and has been built by using cut stones. Selcuklu Sultans II and IV Kilicarslan have been buried here.

Selime Sultan Tomb


Selime Sultan Tomb is located in Selime Village and its architecture and decorations show typical Selcuklu period properties. The octagonal body is located on a base and has a conical-shaped cover on it. Stones and bricks have been used together in this building.

Taptuk Emre Tomb


Taptuk Emre Tomb is located in the Taptuk Emre Village and is situated on the lower side of the mountain. The grave has a stone chest (box) on it.

Yunus Emre Tomb


In the Resadiye Village that is a part of Ortakoy County, on a place called Ziyaret Hill, there is a tomb that is attributed to Yunus Emre.

Other


Buildings from the periods of Selcuklus, Beyliks and Ottomans form a majority in Aksaray.

Some tombs of Aksaray are Hasas Baba Tomb, Caput Baba Tomb, Bekar Sultan Tomb, Bedir Muhtar Veli Tomb, Baydi Hatun Tomb, Baba Ekmeluddin Tomb, Ana Sultan Corner and Tomb, Ali Pasa Tomb and Tomb of Mahmut’s son Mehmet from Aksaray.


Hostels and Caravanserais


Alayhan Hostel


Alayhan Hostel is located at 32nd kilometer of the Aksaray-Nevsehir highway. It has been established in 1210-1220. This hostel is the first Sultan Hostel and its front and backyard parts are in ruins. The simplicity of the decorations of internal parts and the portal, which are intact, demonstrate properties of the early periods. It is thought to be established during the period of Kilicarslan II.

Oresun Hostel


Oresun Hostel, which has been left from the age of Selcuklus, is located at 22nd kilometer of the Aksaray-Nevsehir highway. This hostel without a backyard has an area of 560 m2. The middle dome and the door are in ruins. The windows of this hostel are of crenel type. This hostel has a history starting from the ends of the 13th century.

Sultan Hostel


Sultan Hostel,built in 1228-1229 by Alaaddin Keykubat, is an important example of Selcuklu stone architecture and decoration arts. This hostel was built for the security of trade roads between Konya-Aksaray highway and it is an important strategic point for merchants and the military. With its towers, it resembles a magnificent castle when seen from the outside. With its 4500 m2 area, this hostel has been the largest one of the Selcuklu period and it has summer houses and winter houses, a mosque and stables. There are round passages made of two types of colored stones in the summer houses part. A small mosque located in the middle of the backyard is rich in terms of decorations, but some parts of it are in ruins.

Agzikara Hostel


Agzikara Hostel is located at the 15th kilometer of the Aksaray-Nevsehir highway. It has been established in 1231-1239 and is one of the important hostels. This hostel is also known as Hoca Mesud Hostel and it was functioning as a military inn and shelter too. The hostel has a bath, a hostel for pilgrims, summer houses and winter houses. It demonstrates all the properties of the Selcuk stone decorations. Monumental crown door and geometrical shapes in its ornaments give it an impressive look.


Other Historical Buildings


Pasa Bath, located near Zinciriye Theological School, is a building with 4 domes that has separate sections for men and women.

Zinciriye Theological School, was built in 1336 by Karamanoglu Yahsi Bey. It is a type of theological schools that have 4 balconies and a backyard. The door with a crown is of Selcuklu style. This building became a museum in 1969. Antiquities from Neolith till Ottoman periods obtained from the premises of Aksaray are being displayed here.

Kalanlar, Baskopru, Nakkas and Debbaglar Bridges are among important bridges that are left from the period of Selcuklus.


Ruins


Asiklihoyuk


Asiklihoyuk has a history starting since about 8000 BC. It is located 25km South-East of Aksaray, 4.5km North-East of Kizilkaya Village’s Ihlara Valley. Asiklikoyluk is one of the village settlements of Anatolia that belong to the Aceramic Neolith Age. People who lived here were planting wheat, barley, lentils, and beans and hunting wild goats, sheep, camels, bulls, pigs, deer, rabbits and various birds and catching fish from Melendiz. Also, they processed obsidian that was dig out from Melendiz Mountain and traded it. The houses, the building blocks of which were bricks, had one, two or three rooms.

Musular


This barrow is located in Gulagac County’s Kizilkaya Village, at the west of Melendiz River and is the second big settlement of Aksaray after Asiklihoyuk. Two major periods were detected with an age dating to about 8000 BC. The first one is Neolith period that is non-ceramic (people did not make ceramic pots yet). The second settlement is a ceramic age where people already had earthenware. People of the second period laid a thick layer of soil on top of the remnants of the first period and built their buildings on it.

Acemhoyuk


Located in Yesilova and having an area of 700 x 600 m with its oval shape, Acemhoyuk is among the biggest barrows of Anatolia. The establishment date of this burrow is as old as 3000 BC and its most bright period was during the Age of Asur Trade Colonies (1950-1750 BC). The old name of this place is thought to be Prusanda. It was the center of one of the most important kingdoms of Anatolia. This burrow was partially abandoned and then repopulated at the ages of Early Hellenistic and Roman Empire. At the beginning of the 3rd century it was completely abandoned. In 1517, 3 groups from Iran Azerbaijan’s Hoy City, came here and established Yesilova. Sarikaya and Hatipler Palaces, which belong to the Colony Age, are important in terms of Anatolian architecture history. The palaces have 2 floors and there are 50 rooms in the Sarikaya Palace and 76 rooms in the Hatipler Palace. From the fossils it can be understood that Hatipler Palace was used more like a depot and the Sarikaya Palace was used for living. About 1500 seals, obsidian (volcano glass) and dishes made of rock crystals, game boards, ivory furniture parts, golden wall lamps, copper nuggets and bronze weapons have been found in the Sarikaya Palace. In the city near Acemhoyuk, graves of children and adults buried in the settlement area, which belongs to the Colony Age, were found.

Antique Nora City (Viransehir)


Antique Nora City was established in Helvadere Town, at a side of the Hasan Mountain (Argaios), on a plateau and king’s road. Settlements here existed since the Hellenistic age. The structures that can be seen today belong to the Byzantine period. Most churches with a cross-like plan that belong to the early period are in ruins here, but some wall paintings can be distinguished.

Underground Cities


Underground cities are dense in Guzelyurt and Gulagac Counties. There are also a few underground cities in the center of the counties and Ortakoy village. There are three open underground cities in the center of Guzelyurt County and Monastery Valley. Saratli Underground City located in the Gulagac County has been enhanced with lights and is open for visits.

Ihlara Valley :ihlara Valley is located at Hasan Mountain’s North-East and is 14 km long. Besides its natural beauty, this valley is important because it serves as religious center. Melendiz River (previously known as Peristremma) divides the valley into two and forms a canyon of 100-200 meters in depth. This river flows to the North-West, through Selimiye County, to Yaprakhisar and Belisirma Villages, to the wide valley where Ziga Hot Spring is located and then it flows into the Tuz Lake.

Valley that lies between Ihlara and Selimiye has natural, arts and historical beauties and there are 105 churches concentrated in a single valley. These churches, which are lined up on the straight sides of the valley, are made of easily-engraved tufa rocks and have been built since the first days of Christianity. Some of the churches have wall paintings (frescos) and some of them have single or double naves, some of them have open or closed Greek cross plans and some of them have chapels. Due to the nature, this region has been a good seclusion and worship place for monks since the 9th century. 14 of the churches in the valley are in good shape and can be seen.

Egritas Church is one of the biggest and oldest (9th century) churches of the valley. It has a single corridor and the crib is made of ground tackle. This church is dedicated to Mother Mary. Frescos that depict escape of Joseph to Egypt, his dream, baptism, entrance to Jerusalem are old and eroded, but still are interesting and drag attention.

Agacalti (Daniel) Church that is located at the entry stairs to the valley, has very well conserved frescos which depict divine inspiration, visit and birth, escape to Egypt, baptism of Jesus and death of Mother Mary. The fresco of Daniel among lions, from which church got its name, is located in the west part of the church.

Sumbullu Church is a two-floored church that was established on a mass of rocks at the lower left part of the valley. The plan of the church is of cross type and the age of it dates back to 10th century. There are frescos of Michael and Gabriel and between them, Mother Mary, Jesus and three Hebrew young men in an oven; also there are frescos of saints.

Yilanli Church has an embossed cross on its ceiling and crosses at its center and north and south branches. There is a passage to ground tackle covered narthex from the south of the church. Frescos that date to 9th and 12th centuries have illustrations of Jesus on a crucifix, entrance to Jerusalem, burial of Egyptian Mary and visit.

Purenli Seki Church has been engraved in a rock and has three compartments. There are graves in the narthex level. The frescos date back to the beginning of the 10th century and 12th century and have illustrations of oracular of the prophet, Mother Mary and the bishops, evangel, visit, worship of the shepherds, childhood of Jesus and various scenes taken from Bible.

Kokar Church is single-floored and has a plan of a cross. The frescos that date back to about the ends of the 9th century or the second half of the 11th century have illustrations of the last dinner, restriction on the crucifix, the burial of the messiah, regression to the sky, duties of the apostles and other various scenes. The ornaments of two grave rooms of the church are made with red ink and are the first example of this kind of ornaments.

Saint Georges-Kirkdamalti Church in Belisirma (1283- 1295), Bahattin Samanligi Church (10th century), Direkli Church (beginnings of 11th century), Ala Church (11th century), Karagedik Church (10th century), Batkin Church, Bezirhan Church (13th century), Guvercinlik Church in Yaprakhisar, Cohum Church, Yazili Church (1024), Alaygedigi Church (1023), Koyunoglu Church (11th century), Selime Cathedral in Selime, Castle Monastery Church (ends of the 10th century, beginnings of the 11th century) are churches of the Byzantine Empire period.

Ihlara Valley


Ihlara Valley is located at Hasan Mountain’s North-East and is 14 km long. Besides its natural beauty, this valley is important because it serves as religious center. Melendiz River (previously known as Peristremma) divides the valley into two and forms a canyon of 100-200 meters in depth. This river flows to the North-West, through Selimiye County, to Yaprakhisar and Belisirma Villages, to the wide valley where Ziga Hot Spring is located and then it flows into the Tuz Lake.

Valley that lies between Ihlara and Selimiye has natural, arts and historical beauties and there are 105 churches concentrated in a single valley. These churches, which are lined up on the straight sides of the valley, are made of easily-engraved tufa rocks and have been built since the first days of Christianity. Some of the churches have wall paintings (frescos) and some of them have single or double naves, some of them have open or closed Greek cross plans and some of them have chapels. Due to the nature, this region has been a good seclusion and worship place for monks since the 9th century. 14 of the churches in the valley are in good shape and can be seen.

Egritas Church is one of the biggest and oldest (9th century) churches of the valley. It has a single corridor and the crib is made of ground tackle. This church is dedicated to Mother Mary. Frescos that depict escape of Joseph to Egypt, his dream, baptism, entrance to Jerusalem are old and eroded, but still are interesting and drag attention.

Agacalti (Daniel) Church that is located at the entry stairs to the valley, has very well conserved frescos which depict divine inspiration, visit and birth, escape to Egypt, baptism of Jesus and death of Mother Mary. The fresco of Daniel among lions, from which church got its name, is located in the west part of the church.

Sumbullu Church is a two-floored church that was established on a mass of rocks at the lower left part of the valley. The plan of the church is of cross type and the age of it dates back to 10th century. There are frescos of Michael and Gabriel and between them, Mother Mary, Jesus and three Hebrew young men in an oven; also there are frescos of saints.

Yilanli Church has an embossed cross on its ceiling and crosses at its center and north and south branches. There is a passage to ground tackle covered narthex from the south of the church. Frescos that date to 9th and 12th centuries have illustrations of Jesus on a crucifix, entrance to Jerusalem, burial of Egyptian Mary and visit.

Purenli Seki Church has been engraved in a rock and has three compartments. There are graves in the narthex level. The frescos date back to the beginning of the 10th century and 12th century and have illustrations of oracular of the prophet, Mother Mary and the bishops, evangel, visit, worship of the shepherds, childhood of Jesus and various scenes taken from Bible.

Kokar Church is single-floored and has a plan of a cross. The frescos that date back to about the ends of the 9th century or the second half of the 11th century have illustrations of the last dinner, restriction on the crucifix, the burial of the messiah, regression to the sky, duties of the apostles and other various scenes. The ornaments of two grave rooms of the church are made with red ink and are the first example of this kind of ornaments.

Saint Georges-Kirkdamalti Church in Belisirma (1283- 1295), Bahattin Samanligi Church (10th century), Direkli Church (beginnings of 11th century), Ala Church (11th century), Karagedik Church (10th century), Batkin Church, Bezirhan Church (13th century), Guvercinlik Church in Yaprakhisar, Cohum Church, Yazili Church (1024), Alaygedigi Church (1023), Koyunoglu Church (11th century), Selime Cathedral in Selime, Castle Monastery Church (ends of the 10th century, beginnings of the 11th century) are churches of the Byzantine Empire period.

Monastery Valley


A valley 4-5 km long, located in the Guzelyurt County has 28 rock engraved churches and underground cities. It looks like “A Small Ihlara”. Examples for churches in the Guzelyurt are closed-cross planned churches dating to 385: Aziz Gregorius Church, Aziz Anargiros Church, Sivisli Church, Yuksek Church (Kizlar Monastery) and Komurlu Church. Peri Chimneys around Monastery Valley, Ihlara Valley and, Analipsis Hill region, reflect the plane shapes of Cappadocia Area.


Other Churches


Saint Michel Church was established on a rock, has a cross-like plan and is decorated with archaic paintings dating to the beginnings of the 10th century.

Canli Church is located 7 km North-East of Akhisar and is a building of 11th century. It has a cross plan and is situated on a rock. It was built by alternating cut stones and bricks.

Monastery is located 7 km North-East of Akhisar and has frescos dating o the second half of the 10th century. There are four churches, one of which has three naves and others two naves. All of them have been engraved in a single rock.

Comlekli Church in Gelveri (Guzelyurt) with single nave, cross planned Nazianze Church (6th century), Anatepesi Church with single nave, located 3 km South of Karaoren (5th century), Sarigol Church with single nave, located 3 km North-East of Yenipinar (6th century), Yardibas Church with cross plan, located 1 km South-East of Viransehir (5th century), Sut Church with cross plan, located 1 km South-East of Viransehir (5th century), Tepe Church with cross plan, located at Hasandagi Hill (6th century), Church in Cavdarlik with 2 naves, located at the Hasandagi Hill (6th century), Cukurkent Church at Dede Sivri with cross plan (6th century), Kale Church with cross plan, located at Yenipinar, Kizil Church made of red cut stone, located at Sivrihisar (5th-6th century), Sivri Church with cross plan, located at Sivrihisar are among other important churches in the region.

There are Byzantine castles in Akhisar, Viransehir, Sivrihisar and Kecikalesi.


Other Tourist Attraction Elements


Besides the historical beauties of the region, the natural beauties also drag attention of the tourists.

Hasan Mountain is a non-active volcano that is located in Aksaray’s South-East in the borders of Helvadere. It has a conical structure and a crater. A wide volcanic layer has covered the area as a result of volcanic activity due to tectonic movements in Neogen and 4th period. As a result of a collapse, a canyon has formed here and the Melendiz River gave the valley even greater depth. Located in Cappadocia Region, Ihlara Valley and Melendiz River coasts have a rich flora and wild life. Hasan Mountain is suitable for mountain climbing and winter sports. The forest of Hasan Mountain attracts local and foreign mountaineers and the forest is used as a place for recreation, mountain biking, horse riding and walking through the nature.

Crayfish, river bass and carps are being raised in the Mamasun, Hirfanli and Kultepe dam lakes, and in the small lakes, bass, carps, salmon and catfish are bring raised. A lot of bream fish are found in the Uluirmak River that originates from Melendiz Mountains and flows into Tuz Lake.

Turkey’s second biggest and the most salty lake Tuz Golu is a good place for bird-watchers. A colony of flamingo lives at the islands at the south part of the lake.

Ziga Hot Springs are located 35 km away from Aksaray on the road to Ihlara. They have been used for treating rheumatism, metabolic abnormalities, diseases of digestive system, skin and eye problems, women diseases, neuralgia, nephrite and cases of broken and misplaced bones. There are many minerals in the Ziga thermal waters, the temperature of which rises up to 47 degrees Celsius.

Due to rich cereal production in Aksaray and progressed stock-breeding, the food culture is developed here. Corek, eriste, kuskus, mayali, dolma manti, soganlama, sarigiburma, hosmerim are examples for local dishes.

Folklore of tissue dolls, carpets and rugs made in different styles and wire and thread handicraft are examples for the local handworks.