NORTHEAST and EAST of ANKARA


Kirikkale is a rapidly expanding industrial center on the major highway that leads east out of Ankara and to the Black Sea. The Kizilirmak River, known in ancient times as Halys, passes by Kirikkale. Nearby the river, you can spend a pleasant afternoon relaxing in one of the good restaurants, surrounded by the pastoral landscape, and visit the restful Celal Bayar Park . In Kirikkale, the Gun Museum displays the different types of guns that are made in Kirikkale's gun factories.

After the highway divides, the eastern fork leads to Yozgat, 217 km from Ankara. Founded in the 18th century by the Ottomans, the city has two important buildings from this period - the Capanoglu Mosque and the adjoining Suleyman Bey Mosque. The 19th-century Nizamoglu Mansion, an attractive example of Turkish domestic architecture, now houses ethnographical exhibits. Camlik National Park is a few kilometers south of the city.

All the major early Hittite sites lie in the province of Corum in Bogazkale National Park, between Yozgat and the city of Corum. Impressive double walls, in which are set the Royal Gate, the Lion Gate and the Yer Kapi (an underground tunnel), ring the Hittite city of Hattusas, known today as Bogazkale. This city, the Hittite religious center, was known as the City of Temples because over 70 temples stood there. The largest ruins are those of the great temple of the storm god Tesup. The Acropolis contained government buildings, the Imperial Palace and the archives of the Hittite Empire. In 1180 B.C. the Phrygians devastated the city. After thorough excavations at the site, the city walls are now being extensively restored.

Yazilikaya, an open-air rock pantheon dating from the 13th century B.C., contains fine reliefs of all the Hittite gods and goddesses.

Alacahoyuk, north of Bogazkale on the road to Corum, was the center of the flourishing Hattian culture during the Bronze Age. The magnificent Hattian gold and bronze objects in the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara were found in the Royal Tombs of this period. All the standing remains at Alacahoyuk, however, such as the Sphinx Gate, date from the Hittite period.

Corum, an important city on the road from central Anatolia to the Black Sea, is known to grow the finest chickpeas in Turkey. Significant historical buildings include the 13th-century Ulu Mosque and the 19th- century clock tower.

The small town of Merzifon, between Corum and Amasya, has several Ottoman monuments including the Celebi Sultan Mehmet Medrese (theological college) and the Kara Mustafa Pasa Mosque.

Set in a narrow gorge of the Yesilirmak (Iris) River, Amasya dates from the third century B.C. The ruins of the citadel - inside of which an Ottoman Palace and a secret underground passageway remain - rise from the craggy rock. Hewn into rock above the city impressive Roman rock tombs are lit at night creating a spectacular image. The beauty of Amasya's natural surroundings and its splendid architectural legacy have combined to endow the city with the accolade of one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. Among the sights of interest to visitors, the 13th-century Seljuk Burmali Minare Mosque, the Torumtay Tomb and Gok Medrese, the 14th-century Ilhanid Hospital with lovely reliefs around its portal, the 15th-century Beyazlt Mosque complex and the unusual octagonal Kapi Aga Medrese should not be missed.

Traditional wooden Turkish mansions, or konaks, on the north bank of the Yesilirmak River in the Hatuniye quarter (Yali boyu), have been restored to their former splendor, and some of these have been turned into guest-houses. The restored 19thcentury Hazeranlar Konagi, one of the loveliest, now houses an art gallery on the first floor and the Ethnographical Museum on the second. The Archaeological Museum has an interesting collection of regional artifacts including the mummies of the Mongol Ilhanid rulers of Amasya. Cafes, restaurants, tea gardens and parks line the riverside and provide tranquil spots from which to enjoy the city's romantic atmosphere. From the top of Cakallar Hill you have a beautiful view of the city. Just 50 km northeast of Amasya amid magnificent mountain scenery, Borabay Lake is a popular place for day trips. Amasya is surrounded by orchards which produce some of the world's most delicious apples

Tokat, also on the Yesilirmak river, has many Seljuk and Ottoman monuments which lend a picturesque yet solemn aesthetic to the cityscape. Among the main historical buildings are the ruins of a 28 towered castle, the 11th-century Garipler Mosque and a Seljuk bridge. The 13th-century Pervane Bey Darussifasi (Gok Medrese), one of Tokat's finest buildings, is now the Archaeological Museum. A regional commercial center, Tokat has retained many of its hans, or commercial warehouses, including the Tashan, Suluhan, Yagcioglu Hani and Gazi Emir (Yazmacilar) Hani. A walk down Sulu Sokak in the city center, a street lined with hans, mausoleums, bazaars and baths, provides an excellent overview of Tokat's architecture. In the Gazi Emir (Yazmacilar) Hani you can find many examples of the blockprinted cloth, a 300-year-old tradition for which Tokat is famous.

A tradition of carved and painted wood decoration and painted murals give Tokat's konaks a particular elegance. The 19th century Madimagin Celalin Konak and the Latifoglu Konak have been restored to their former splendor and give a picture of wealthy life in rural Turkey 100 years ago.

Sixty-nine kilometers northeast of Tokat, Niksar, once a capital of the Danismend Emirs, has a wellpreserved citadel and early Turkish monuments, including the Coregi Buyuk Mosque which has a very fine 12th- century carved stone portal. It was in Zile, south of Amasya and west of Tokat that Julius Caesar, after a particularly speedy battle, quaffed a cup of Tokat's fine local wine, and declared his famous "Veni, vidi, vici". Beneath the citadel which guards the city stands the restored Ulu Mosque of 1269.

Sivas, an important commercial center stood, during the Middle Ages, at the junction of the caravan routes to Persia and Baghdad. Between 1142 and 1171, it was the capital of the Danismend Emirs and a vitally important urban center during Seljuk rule. The remaining architectural monuments reflect Sivas's former prominent position. The Ulu Mosque dates from the Danismend Emirate, but the Seljuk buildings: the 13th- century Izzeddin Keykavus Sifahanesi - a hospital and a medical school, the beautifully decorated Gok Medrese, the twin minarets of the Cifte Minare Medrese as well as the Buruciye Medrese all testify to the exciting aesthetic of the Seljuk period.

In 1919, the decision to liberate Turkey from the occupying foreign powers was made by the National Congress which had convened in Sivas. Today, the 19th-century building where the congress was held has been restored as the Ataturk and Congress Museum, with a display about the War of Independence as well as an ethnographical exhibit. In town there are excellent Sivas carpets for sale; the city has long had a reputation for fine weaving.

Kangal, 68 km south of Sivas, is the home of Turkey's most famous breed of dog - the Kangal (''dog of the Galatians", with whom they came in the 3rd cent. B.C). Used as sheep dogs, these golden-haired animals have also proven themselves in police and security work. Twelve kilometers northeast of Kangal is the famous spa, Balikli Kaplica. The 36-degree Celsius waters contain bicarbonate, calcium, and magnesium, and spring from the earth accompanied by scores of tiny fish that are said to aid in the cure of skin complaints.

Once a Byzantine outpost, Divrigi became the capital of the Turkish Mengucek Emirs in the 12th and 13th centuries. Although very much off the beaten track,, visitors come to Divrigi to see the Ulu Mosque and Medrese of 1229. Seljuk stonework reached its most exuberant expression in the animal and vegetal carvings of the portals. UNESCO declared this site one of the world's most important cultural heritages.



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