Sarıkale in Hattusa

The great rock, known as Sarıkale i.e. the Yellow Fortress, is hard to miss in Hattusas. It is a 60-meter high rock with a characteristic shape where a fortress guarding the capital city was standing in the Hittite times. The was erected, most likely, at the turn of the 14th and the 13th centuries BCE. Some theories claim that Sarıkale served as a religious location, and more precisely - as a place of worship of the dead.

Sarıkale in Hattusa
Sarıkale in Hattusa

Royal Citadel in Hattusa

The Royal Citadel (tr. Kral Saray), also known as the Great Castle (tr. Büyükkale), was, as its name suggests, the seat of the Hittite kings. Because of its location, at the highest point of the Old Town, it offers stunning views of the whole area of Hattusa but also the valley in the north where the modern Turkish village of Boğazkale is situated.

Royal Citadel in Hattusa
Royal Citadel in Hattusa

Museum in Ürgüp

The museum in Ürgüp is one of the biggest disappointments that we experienced in Cappadocia. This tiny museum is neglected and underfunded. The prevailing atmosphere of perpetual boredom discourages the visitors from taking a closer look at the exhibits. We realize that most tourists do not come to Cappadocia because of the sudden desire to visit museums but to admire beautiful landscapes of the region. However, with such a significant tourist traffic, the lamentable state of this institution seems strange, just like in the case of Kayseri Museum. Why do local authorities not take advantage of the opportunity to attract the attention of visitors coming to Cappadocia and to interest them in the rich history of the region?

The relief of the archangel Gabriel. It once decorated a church in Mustafapaşa.
The relief of the archangel Gabriel. It once decorated a church in Mustafapaşa.

Tyana (Kemerhisar)

The sleepy town of Kemerhisar, formerly known as Tyana, is located in the southern part of famous Cappadocia. Despite its favorable location, the town is rarely visited by tourists. Therefore, not many travelers have had the opportunity to admire the beautifully preserved Roman aqueduct, learn about the Hittite past of the settlement, or take a closer look at the biography of Apollonius of Tyana. We highly encourage you to make a stop at Kemerhisar, if only for one hour, especially if you are traveling to Cappadocia from the Mediterranean coast, through the famous Cilician Gates in the Taurus Mountains.

The Roman aqueduct in Tyana (Kemerhisar)
The Roman aqueduct in Tyana (Kemerhisar)

District of Temples in Hattusa

The highest point in Hattusa - that is the artificial embankment of Yerkapı - is an excellent vantage point of the Upper Town of Hattusa (tr. Yukarı Şehir). On the left side, you can see the fortifications of the city, ascending from the Lion Gate to Yerkapı, and stretching further to the east, to the King's Gate. Yerkapı embankment stands in the middle of the arc demarcated by the city walls.

District of Temples in Hattusa
District of Temples in Hattusa

Şarapsa Han Caravanserai

In Turkey, one can find many historic inns for travelers, traditionally known as hans (caravanserais), built in Seljuk and Ottoman times. Some of them slowly fall into ruin and oblivion, while others are carefully restored and converted into ethnographic expositions, and others - still serve the travelers, although in a way that probably would surprise medieval merchants. One of the caravanserais belonging to the latter category is Şarapsa Han (also known as Sarafsa Han), probably the most visited caravanserai in Turkey.

Şarapsa Han caravanserai
Şarapsa Han caravanserai

Castabala - Hierapolis

The ruins of ancient Castabala, located on the Cilician Plain, can make some visitors dizzy - not only because of their picturesque location but also because of the multitude of names by which this place is known. Below we will use the name Castabala because it is a hallmark of the city. However, in the past, it was described with many other words. In the Hellenistic period, it was known as Hierapolis, just like the famous Roman spa located at Pamukkale. Since the city lies in the valley of the Ceyhan River, in ancient times known as Pyramus, it was frequently called Hierapolis ad Pyramum. What's more, the fortress towering over the city is referred to as Bodrum Kalesi, reminiscent of the well-known holiday resort on the coast of the Aegean Sea.

Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi
Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi

Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya

Nearby Samandağ, in the Province of Hatay (Antakya), rises a hill that once was known as the Hill of Wonders. Simon Stylites the Younger lived on this hill, and more precisely, on a high pillar erected on its slope, in the 6th century AD. His followers built there a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity and a monastery. Today, the ruins of the monastic buildings are rarely visited by tourists who are afraid to travel to the areas bordering with Syria. Unfortunately, the magic of the old Hill of Wonders was destroyed by the erection of ugly wind turbines a few years ago.

Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya
Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya

Colophon

In ancient times Colophon was one of the most important cities of the Ionian coast of Asia Minor. This city, conveniently located near the Aegean coast, quickly developed through trade. It also featured a powerful fleet of warships. Currently, extremely modest remains of this ancient city do not reflect its former importance and bring on the reflections on the transience of even the most powerful civilizations and human memory.

Colophon
Colophon

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