This is the heart of Turkey’s political seat, and has been significant throughout the history of civilisations and society in Central Anatolia. The major cities here are Ankara , Cankiri , Eskisehir , Kayseri , Kirsehir , Konya , Nevsehir , Nigde , Sivas , Yozgat , Aksaray , Karaman and Kirikkale .Hattushash was the capital of the Hittite Empire which had enormous walls, was full of temples (today’s Bogazkale), and Shapinuva, the second largest city, were both located northeast of Ankara in the Corum Province. There is an important Hittite pantheon, which is near to Yazilikaya that has an open air temple showing reliefs of gods and goddesses.
Main city of Central Anatolia - AnkaraThe modern capital of Ankara is placed directly in the middle of Central Anatolia and was planned and developed as a modern society. The most striking and impressive structure is that of the Anitkabir mausoleum built for Ataturk who was the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey after he won the War of Independence and went on to establish Ankara as its capital city.
Historical Sites of Central Anatolia
Museum of Anatolian CivilisationsOne of the best museums in the country is the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations that exhibits items from Anatolia dating from 50,000 BC to the 2nd century AD.
Hittites and HattushashIn the surrounding areas are important settlements dating from early Anatolian civilisations. The Hittites migrated from the Caucus Mountains to the Anatolian plateau setting up the first kingdom in history that stretched from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and from the Aegean Sea extending east covering the whole of Anatolia.
AlacahoyukAnother important settlement was that of Alacahoyuk which is famous for sphinxes that can be seen at the city gates. The Phrygians came from Europe to the Anatolian Plateau around 1,200 BC and established their capital of Gordion which is near Polatli, west of Ankara. Alexander the Great is believed to have become ruler of Asia after “undoing Gordion’s knot with his sword”. The tomb of the legendry Phrygian king Midas, who was famous for anything that he touched would turn to gold, is located close to Gordion, and nearby in Eskisehir and Afyon there are several Phrygian cities and places of worship.
CatalhoyukSouth of the vast and fertile Konya plane, on the northern slopes of the Toros Mountains is Catalhoyuk , which is one of the world’s oldest cities dating back to Neolithic times, and once an important cultural centre with many temples adorned with frescoes that were painted by the cities artisans. Konya, and its surrounding area, was later governed by Chalcolithic, Bronze, Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine rulers. During the 12th century it was the capital of the Seljuk Empire and when it experienced the most important Renaissance period in its long history, and in the 13th century it was completely transformed by Selcuk architecture.
Mevlana in KonyaMevlana, the great Turkish philosopher, lived in Konya and believed in human love, stating that mystical unity with God would be reached by the “Sema” a whirling dance performed to music by dervishes and established his following there. Every year in December Konya hosts a Mevlana Week where dervishes can be seen performing the Sema dance. Mevlana is buried with his father, Bahaeddin Veled, in the Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe) which is used as the symbol of the city and next to the tomb are the Dervish Lodge and Mevlana Museum which are open to visitors.
BeysehirBeysehir Lake is southwest of Konya and remains an almost undiscovered paradise full of natural beauty and nearby is Kubad Abad, which is where the Seljuk rulers had their summer houses, and over on Kizkalesi Island there is a castle. In Beysehir are the EsrefoÄźlu Mosque and Tomb which are important examples of Seljuk wooden architecture.
Nasreddin HocaNorthwest of Aksehir is the home of Nasreddin Hoca, a much loved and famous icon of the 13th century, a folk philosopher who had a quick and brilliant wit, whose retorts and stories had subtle meanings, and was renowned far beyond the borders of Turkey . He died in 1284 and his tomb in Aksehir is the symbol of the city.
Yunus EmreThe great poet Yunus Emre is buried in the village that has his name and which is located in the Eskisehir region. He is considered an eminent pioneer of Turkish poetry using language, idioms and concepts of the ordinary man in an unpretentious way to convey divine justice, love and friendship, and many people pay homage to him by visiting his grave.
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