Nigde Tourist Attractions
Central AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceThe provincial capital of Nigde lies in a mountain pass region on the southeast edge of the Lycaonian steppe between the Melendiz Daglari volcanic massif (2,935m/9,626ft) in the northwest and the Camardi Taurus foothills (Pozanti Dagi 2,689m/8,819ft) in the southeast.
The railroad follows the same route through Nigde as an ancient road which led from Cilicia to Caesarea (Kayseri) and Sebaste (Sivas). For many hundreds of years the town has benefited from the traffic which this important trade route has brought. Like Bor, Nigde is well known for its carpet-weaving.HistoryThe region around Nigde was inhabited as early as 3000 B.C. In the first millennium B.C. the town was known as Nahita, later as Nakita and then Nigdah. It first acquired importance in the seventh/eighth century B.C. as a border town between the Assyrians in the southeast and the Phrygians in the northwest. The first recorded reference to Nigde was around 1188. Several church ruins from Byzantine times can be seen. The Seljuks built fortifications and many other important buildings, thereby enhancing the town's prosperity.The town's fortunes faded, when in 1720 the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasa transferred all administrative functions from Nigde (which had become a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1470) to Nevsehir, a town he had founded. In 1864/65 the Ottomans initiated a series of administrative reforms (Tanzimat) and it became capital of the eponymous province.
The "White Koran School" in Nigde with an open eyvan used as a lecture hall dates from the 15th century and now serves as an Archeological Museum housing artifacts from Roman and Byzantine times. It was founded by Alaeddin Bey in 1409 at the time of the Karamans. Other exhibits include finds from the Stone and Bronze Ages, Hittite writing and a relief from Tyana. To the west on the Ankara Yolu stands an interesting ceremonial washing fountain (Sadirvan Çesmesi).
Lying to the south of the castle in Nigde is the three-aisled Alaeddin mosque, a fine Seljuk construction dating from 1223. Like other buildings from this era it resembles many similar complexes in Konya. The most striking features include three domes, a finely carved doorway and a squat but still well-proportioned minaret. Opposite stands a small fountain known as Hatiroglu Çesmesi from 1267. Concealed in the ornamentation above the typically Seljuk portal is a woman's face. This is unusual as Islamic art forbids the representation of human forms.
Beneath the citadel in Nigde directly adjacent to the Sungur Bey Camii stands the bazaar (bedesten). The main 80m/87yd thoroughfare which harks back to the town's former role as an important commercial center is covered by pointed tunnel vaulting dating from the 17th century.
The "Yellow Caravanserai" (Sari Han) in Nigde was endowed in 1357 in the time of the Ertenogullarg or Karamans by El-Haci Muhammed Ben Ahmet Fakih. There are two other Ottoman caravanserais in the town: Bas Han (Main Caravanserai) and Pasa Hani from the late 18th century.
Three türbe can be seen in the northwest corner of Nigde near the high school campus. The finest was built for Sultan Rükneddin's daughter Hudavend Hatun in 1312. Bird-like figures with women's faces and a variety of animal and floral designs adorn the spandrels of this octagonal mausoleum which bears all the hallmarks of Seljuk architectural style. The Gündogdu türbesi stands opposite alongside the Fatma Hanim türbe ca. 1600. Further to the north the Dört Ayak Camii and adjoining mausoleum date from the first half of the 14th century.
This complex consisting of a mosque, caravanserai and bath dates from Ottoman times (late 18th century) and is situated in the northern part of the inner town of Nigde near the post office and town hall.
Sungur Bey Camii
In 1335 Nigde's governor Seyfeddin Sungur - head of a Mongol tribe - commissioned this mosque and mausoleum which can be found to the south of the bedesten. The flat tiled roof and minaret in Gothic style are particularly fine. After a fire in the 18th century the interior was altered (second row of pillars). Other features include some fine masonry work on the portal, a large rosette above the north entrance and outside a ceremonial washing fountain borne by six columns.
The picturesque old town of Nigde can be clearly seen about 500m/550yds to the west of the main trunk road. To reach the citadel follow the route from Istasyon Caddesi (Station Road) past a park, round the citadel mound and up to the market-place. The citadel was built in the time of Alaeddin Kaykobad (1219-1237) on a man-made hill. Restored in 1470, the large octagonal Seljuk tower and the clock tower on the west side are of particular interest. The foundations of one house on the mound revealed an inscription about Saruvana of Nahita, a contemporary of King Urballa of Tyana. The latter is best-known as an opponent of the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser III (738 B.C.). To the south of the citadel stands the Hanim Camii, a small mosque of more recent construction.