Kayseri Tourist Attractions
Central Anatolia (Cappadocia)Situation and ImportanceThe provincial capital of Kayseri which stands at the northern foot of the Erciyes Dagi volcano and at the eastern end of the Kayseri Ovasi must surely be one of the most rewarding destinations in Turkey.
Although the city itself is an important industrial center and at first sight has little to offer the tourist, the magnificent mountain backdrop, the picturesque old town (part of which has been preserved) and the wealth of interesting monuments has helped to raise the city's tourist profile in recent years - despite or because of its proximity to the spectacular tuff chimney landscape of Cappadocia.Visitors are recommended to include in their itinerary the remains of the old town, particularly around the citadel south of the Cumhuriyet Meydani. It is in this relatively small quarter of the town that the many Seljuk and Ottoman buildings can be found.Kayseri has always been an important crossroads and also a central market town for inland Anatolia. In recent decades with its modern city center it has been able to make major strides towards industrialization. It has also an important carpet-making industry.HistoryUntil the fourth century the site of the modern city was covered with salt lakes and malaria-infested swamps, some of which were not finally drained until the last century. The first settlement was established ca. 150 B.C. but in 77 B.C. the town was overrun by the Armenian Tigranes, who forced the inhabitants to leave for Tigranocerta (Silvan) in northern Mesopotamia. Only when the latter had been captured by Pompeius were the deported population able to return to Eusebeia. In 41 B.C. the last king of Cappadocia Aruhelanus died to be replaced by the Roman Antonius. In 17 B.C., Tiberius, who later became Roman emperor, named the town Caesarea. When Cappadocia was partitioned under Emperor Valens, Caesarea became the provincial capital.According to the first letter of the apostle Paul in which he addresses "the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia" (1 Peter 1:1), Christianity was well received by the townspeople and by the beginning of the third century, Caesarea was playing an important part in the advancement of Christian theological thinking.At the heart of the town stands a monastery which was founded in the fourth century The new town was growing rapidly while the old buildings were decaying although some remains are still visible. After a disturbed period, in 1077 the town fell to Byzantium. In 1082 the Danishmends took control and then during the First Crusade (1096-99) the Crusader Godfrey of Bouillon occupied the town, which enjoyed great prosperity from the middle of the 12th century under the Seljuks. After a number of assaults it was overrun by the Mongols. After a period of Ottoman rule, in 1401 the Mongolian hordes under Timur recaptured the town, but by 1468 it had reverted to the Ottomans. Many years of peace allowed Kayseri to grow in importance as a provincial center. Around 1900 work started on the new town north of the citadel.
The Bazaar at Kayseri is a traditional Turkish structure, aimed primarily at locals, although tourists will still find the area of interest.
The Twin Koran School behind the Kursunlu Cami in Kayseri is a much restored building combining a hospital and a school which dates from 1206-1208. The right-hand building houses one of the first medical schools in Anatolia.
The offices of Kayseri's preservation society are located in the restored palace of an old and wealthy family. It dates from the 15th century and was rebuilt in the 18th century.
Haci Kilic Camii ve Medresesi
Behind the Kursunlu Cami on Istasyon Caddesi in Kayseri stands the Haci Kilic Camii and Koran school which were built in 1249 under Abdül Gazi a Seljuk vizier. Some handsomely wrought designs can be seen on the portals.
Museum in the Medrese
One of the most opulent complexes in Kayseri is the Hunat Hatun which lies to the northeast of the citadel. It consists of a mosque with a mausoleum of the founder, a medrese which now houses an ethnographical museum, a paupers' kitchen, a fountain and a bath, all decorated in grandest Seljuk style. Mahperi (Honat) Hatun built the complex in 1237 and was responsible for founding numerous caravanserais.
Citadel and Old Town
The old town of Kayseri is situated to the south of the citadel and was originally surrounded by a wall which still partly visible. Within the walls lie the Iç Kale (inner castle), some important mosques, caravanserais, the business quarter and covered bazaar. The citadel was extensively rebuilt by the Seljuks (1210-1226) on the foundations of Justinian's sixth century structure. It was subsequently used as a barracks by the Ottomans (1466). The inner castle has been restored recently and a small area has been set aside for tourists to buy souvenirs. Access to the turreted battlements is restricted for safety reasons, but a key may be obtained from the police station in the castle. The view from the walls encompasses the surrounding quarters and the rest of the town. Nineteen citadels can be counted on the citadel but there must be 30 in the whole complex. Yogun Burç (Wide Tower) built in 1212 on the eastern tip of the old town walls is of special interest. The citadel's inner castle and Ok Deposu (Arrow Store) were built by Alaeddin Kaykobad in 1224.
Döner Kümbet Mausoleum
Kayseri can justifiably be described as the city of mausoleums as there are so many of them. The appearance and origins of these tombs owe a great deal to the central Asian funeral tents in which the mummified body was left to lie in state for several months before it was interred. Among the most interesting türbe and kümbet in Kayseri is the so-called Döner Kümbet situated on the road to Talas about 1km/0.5mi south of the citadel. This richly decorated structure with a pointed roof was built in 1267 for the Seljuk princess Sah Cihan Hatun. The origin of the irksome inscription "Revolving Tomb" is unknown.Three other türbe can be found nearby: Sirçali Kümbet, Emir Ali Türbesi and a türbe of unknown origin. The Sirçali Mausoleum originates from an Uigur named Eretna. Near Cumhuriyet Meydani on Sivas Caddesi stands the Zeynel Abidin Türbesi and further out of town on the road to Sivas, the Çifte Kümbet (Twin Vault Mausoleum) can be found. It was constructed for one of Alaeddin Kaykobad's wives in 1247. One rather unusual construction is the Kösk Medresesi, also known as the Kösk Kümbet. Located near the Archeological Museum the mausoleum is surrounded by a turreted wall and was built by Eretna in 1339.
Arkeoloji Müzesi (Kayseri Müzesi)
The Archeological Museum with its interesting displays is situated in the southeast of Kayseri near Talas Caddesi. The Kayseri Müzesi lies opposite the Mehmet Zengi Türbesi and houses finds from Kültepe, Göllüdag and Malatya as well as Roman and Byzantine Caesarea.
The Sahibiye Medresesi which stands on Istasyon Caddesi in Kayseri has a magnificent porch and was built in 1267 on the orders of Keyhusrev III. It houses a collection of Turkish and Islamic art.
The Grand Mosque in Kayseri can be found directly behind the covered bazaar in a small square which contains a fountain for ritual washing. Started in 1136, it was rebuilt in 1189. Dominated by a huge minaret, the mosque roof is supported by four rows of pillars and crowned with a raised dome above the central crossing.Near the Grand Mosque to the south stands the Melik Gazi Medresesi (1432). A little further on is the more important Hatuniye Medresesi (ca. 1430). The pillars in the porch are embellished with Ionian and Corinthian capitals. Both edifices were built under the Karamans.
Map of Kayseri Attractions