Sivas Tourist Attractions
Northeastern central AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceDespite the existence of several interesting old buildings, Sivas is not an attractive town, having suffered badly from rebuilding work.
Situated on the northwestern edge of a broad alluvial plain crossed by the River Kizilirmak, it is an important road and railroad junction. Cotton and metalworking are the main sources of employment.HistoryLittle is known of the town's early history. Excavations have unearthed the remains of a Hittite settlement. The town grew under Pompeius with the name of Megalopolis. The Emperor Justinian built strong walls and elevated it to capital of Armenia Prima province, although the young Christian community here was then subjected to persecution by the Romans. The town came to prominence in this context when in A.D. 320, 40 soldiers from the 12th "Fulminata" legion were driven naked into the ice-cold Kizilirmak because of their beliefs. The "40 martyrs of Sebastea" thus became a part of religious history with March 10th as the anniversary. Sivas experienced a revival under the Seljuks in the 12th/13th century When the Mongols invaded around 1400, Sivas enjoyed the protection of a strong wall, but nevertheless Timur-Leng succeeded in taking the town after an eighteen-day siege. Christians (Greeks and Armenians) were murdered or sold as slaves. It was many years before Sivas recovered from this blow. In 1808, there were 16,000 inhabitants but trade and commerce did not equal the levels achieved during the city's heyday. However the foundation of the Turkish Republic gave Sivas a place in history as Mustafa Kemal Pasa (Atatürk) summoned the National Congress of the Freedom Movement (fourth-11th September 1919) here to call for national unity.
Çifte Minareli Medrese
The remains of the Çifte Minareli Medrese (1271) on Konak Meydani in the town center of Sivas are of architectural interest. It is named after the twin minarets ("çift", double). Only the front of the building with its decorative portal and the two minarets remain. The foundations are visible behind the portal in the park.
At the southern end of Sivas, by the junction of the road to Kangal and Darende, an old dog-leg bridge ("egri", buckled) with eighteen arches crosses the Kizilirmak.
Directly below and to the east of the citadel in Sivas lies Gök Medrese with its famous doorway. This former theological school (now closed for renovation work) was endowed by the Vizier Sahip Ata (Fahreddin Ali Ben Hussein) in 1272. It was designed by the Greek architect Koloyan from Konya. With its distinctive Turkish blue tiles it is known as the Blue Medrese.The rectangular portal area with its stalactiform entrance niche and ornamental border is dominated by two minarets which display some characteristic Seljuk features: deep relief palmettes, starred and scripted decorations, channeled shafts and pedestals decorated with stalactiform patterns. At the corners of the entrance wall stand round columns with honeycomb motifs.The inner courtyard is surrounded on three sides by a two-story building with cells for the scholars. There is an eyvan (lecture hall) with barrel vaulting on both side walls and on the rear wall.
To the east of the Atatürk Caddesi in Sivas behind the Meydan Camii stands a tomb to Sheik Hassan (1347) which looks like a cropped minaret (Güdük Minare). This unusually shaped building with a tiled upper section which changes from a triangular to a cylindrical form is built on a stone plinth.
To the east of the station in Sivas rises the citadel hill on which a two-tiered castle once stood. The hill is now laid out with an attractive garden which offers a fine view over the town. The Castle Mosque (Kale Camii) from Ottoman times is also situated here.
Mehmet Pasa Camii
The domed Ottoman mosque commissioned by Mehmet Pasa (ca. 1580) dominates the park near Konak Meydani in Sivas.
Muzafer Bürüciye Medresesi
The Muzafer Bürüciye Medresesi located a short distance from the Çifte Minareli Medrese in Sivas and to the northeast of the small park by Konak Meydani has recently become a museum. Built by the Mongol Muzafer in 1271, the interior conceals another mosque and the founder's mausoleum. The magnificent Seljuk facade is particularly impressive.
Directly opposite the Çifte Minareli Medrese in Sivas stands the Sifaiye Medresesi complex (Dar üs-Sifa), initially endowed as a hospital by the Seljuk Izettin Kaikavus I in 1217. The facade is decorated with a glazed earthenware mosaic. The founder's türbe can be found in the right eyvan of the courtyard.
At the junction of Atatürk Caddesi and Nalbantlar Basi Caddesi in Sivas, the remains of the old bazaar can be seen. Behind a small textile and leather bazaar stands the Ottoman Tas Hani caravanserai which was built by the town's governor in 1573.
The Grand Mosque in Sivas is situated to the south of the Sifaiye Medresesi northeast of the citadel hill. The plain pillared mosque is thought to date from about 1100. A staircase leads down to the extensive forecourt. The flat roof of the prayer room is borne by 50 squat, rectangular pillars which create an awe-inspiring impression. The slightly crooked minaret dates from the 13th century.
Map of Sivas Attractions