An ever snowy peak, rising magnificently over the
Central Anatolian plateau, is Mount Erciyes (3196 m), an extinct volcano. Those
who visit Kayseri, the city situated at the skirt of this mountain, first view
this majestic sight. Then as they move towards the inner city, they will be
amazed by the appearance of elegant minarets and domes of mosques, and the high
314 kms from Ankara, this province forms a
composition of history and nature, and possesses many special features both as
an ancient site and as a present-day tourist center. The city is full of many
old Turkish baths, fountains, tombs, inns, mosques, and medresses.
Mount Erciyes is the most outstanding feature in
this region, not only with its fascinating scenery but also with the
opportunities it offers for winter sports. It is a beautiful ski-resort with
many facilities, and there also exist several areas suitable for mountaineering.
At the foot of Mount Erciyes are the Sultan
Marshes, 50 kms south of Kayseri. Birds of 130 species are to be found here and
it is an interesting and lovely spot for bird watchers.
Besides the beauties granted by nature, Kayseri
enjoys the many gifts of history, being a settlement area approximately 5000
years old. The city has played different roles throughout its long past.
By the 2nd millenium BC, the district was one of
the commercial centers of the Hittites. The towns of Kultepe and Karahoyuk of
Kanesh were two of these trade cities, named as "Karums" in that period.
In the later ages, the city constituted one of
the cornerstones of Cappadocia after which it became a center of Christianity.
In the 6th century AD, it was occupied by the Byzantines who surrounded the city
with high walls. Later saw the age of Seljuk rule, during which the area was
filled with numerous monumental works.
With respect to the historical signs which have
remained from all these periods, the Huand (Mahperi) Hatun Mosque and Medresse,
and the Mahperi Hatun Mausoleum are of importance, each dating back to the 13th
century. "Kumbets", which are circular tombs with domed or conical roofs, named
Doner, Cifte and Sircali, are also attractive places to see having distinctively
In the town of Develi are the old Seljuk
buildings of Ulu Mosque, Seyid-I Serif, and Develi tomb; on the Sivas road 46
kms north of Kayseri is the Sultan Han, a caravanserai constructed during the
reign of Alaeddin Keykubat.
Acting as a learning center during the Seljuk
period, the city possesses many medresses, which were the theological schools of
the time. Sahabiye Medresse is beautiful with its original monumental portal,
and the Cifte Medresse is another, carrying the title of the first medieval
school of anatomy.
Notable sites of the province of Kayseri also
include the Haci Kilic Mosque of 1249, the Kosk Medresse of the Mongol period,
the Archeological Museum, the Ethnographical Museum and the "bedesten" (covered
bazaar). Among the many natural attractions are a lot of mineral and hot
springs. Noteworthy specialties of the region are the knotted silk carpets
(Bunyan), and wool rugs of Yahyali, which make beautiful souvenirs; and the
delicious foods, "sucuk", "salam" and "pastirma" (sun-dried beef covered with a