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    Cappadocia Guide » Kayseri » 

Writer: Yavuz İşçen
January 2010/Ankara

Kaisareia means the homeland of Caesar. During Roman period, Kayseri was the center of Cappadocia city. As the Araps conquered the area on 7th century, the name was called ‘Kayseri’. From that moment, the name of the city reached today as Kayseri.
Kayseri is mainly noticed by Turkish-Islamic works of art. The typical Cappadocian stone engraved churches are situated in Soğanlı and Erdemli Valleys in Yeşilhisar district of Kayseri. Kayseri Castle, Ulu Mosque (Mosque Kebir), Güllük Mosque, Hunat Hatun Mosque, Hacı Kılıç Mosque, Kurşunlu Mosque, Şifahiye-Gıyasiye Madrasahs, Seraceddin Madrasah, Sahabiye Madrasah, Hatuniye Madrasah, Çifte Cupola, Döner Cupola, Avgunlu Cupola, Sırçalı Cupola, Ali Cafer Cupola, Kutluğ Hatun Cupola, Seyyid Burhanettin Tomb, Emir Erdoğmuş Tomb, Vezir Han and Pamuk Han, Güpgüpoğlu Mansion, Raşit Ağa Mansion, Surp Kirkor Lusovoriç Church and Roman Tomb can be seen in Kayseri city center. 

Kayseri Museum
Kayseri Archeological Museum was established in 1930 in Hunat Hatun Madrasah and after 1969 it moved to its original new building.

Karatayhanı (Karatay Road House)
Built by Seljuk vizier Celaleddin Karatayin 1240.

Sultanhanı (Sultan Road House)
It was built during 1232-1236, in Seljuk Sultan I. Alaaddin Keykubat period. It’s located near Tuzluhisar Village, on the Sivas road. It’s 47 km far from provincial center. 

Fıraktin Hittite Monumental Rock

It is situated between Gümüşören Village, whose name was Fıraktin and located in the southeast of Develi district of Kayseri and Kazlıgömedi Village which is located in the northeast of Gümüşören Village. It belongs to Hittite Empire period (1400-1200 BC).

İmamkulu Hittite Monumental Rock
It is located in Şimşekkaya locality of İmamkulu Village, east of Bakırdağı borough of Develi District of Kayseri. It is anticipated that the monument is from Great Hittite period.

Ağzıgüzel Roman Graveyards
Known as Ağzıgüzel Rock Temples, these graveyards are in Ayşepınar Village which is southeast of Develi.

Hızır İlyas Chalet

Also known as Hıdrellez Chalet, this structure was built in 1241 in Seljuk period. Its marble entrance gate is interesting. It was restored in 1994.

Erkilet Tumulus (Hızır İlyas Tumulus)
Located in Erkilet Borough on Hızır İlyas Hill, 12 km north of Kayseri.

Kebiç Villate Roman Graveyard

The monumental grave which was made of big marble blocks, is situated in Kebiç Village which is 7 km far away from Felahiye Village.

Kızıltepe Tumulus

Located on Yılanlıdağ, in Hacılar Borough, southwest of Kayseri. Yılanlıdağ is northwest of Hacılar.

Erciyes Mountain
Erciyes Mountain, located 25 km far away from Kayseri, is one of the important winter sports center of Turkey. On Erciyes Mountain ski center there are 3 lifts and 3 tracks. In addition there are 7 accommodation premises and the months of January, February and March are the suitable months for skiing on this mountain.

Karamustafapaşa Mosque Complex
It was built in İncesu by one of Ottoman Empire viziers Merzifonlu Karamustafa Paşa who passed away in 1683. İncesu is 32 km from Kayseri.

Kültepe Höyüğü

It is situated 20 km northeast of Kayseri. It can be reached by following Sivas road from Kayseri center. It is 2 km inside from the main road. The mound has 20 m height and 50 m width. The mound was also one of the important centers of Tabal Kingdom of Neo Hittite period and the remains of two palaces and temple with a tower were found here.

Kaniş Karum
One of the most important free zones which was established by Assyrians traders in Anatolia, has been located in the territory of Cappadocia. This zone, situated nearby Kültepe Höyük closed to Kayseri, was ‘Kaniş Karum’.

Dovecotes of Gesi Bağları
Gesi Bağları is located about 18 km east of Kayseri, 6 km from the turn on Kayseri-Sivas road at 12th km. It is also 75 km from Ürgüp.  Gesi District, as being one of the popular excursion spots of Kayseri, is recently attracting great interest with its dovecotes as well as its vineyards and gardens.

Pınarbaşı Hittite Inscriptional Rock
The Inscriptional rock, closed to Pınarbaşı district of Kayseri; was from the period of Tudhalia IV, the King of Hittite who ruled around 1250 BC.

Melikgazi Tomb
Located in Melikgazi Village which is next to Pazarören of Pınarbaşı Borough. The tomb is from Danişmendoğulları period and built for Melikgazi who passed away in 1131.

Tuzla Gölü

Also known as Palas Lake, Tuzla Lake is on Kayseri-Sivas road, about 40 km from Kayseri. It has a rich biodiversity and has some of important bird species. 

Kömürcü Village Sarcophagi

Tomarza Borough is 58 km southwest of Kayseri. Sarcophagi are near Kömürcü Village of Tomarza. 

Soğanlı Village

Archaic name of Soğanlı Village was Soandos. It’s a district of Yeşilhisar which is south-west of Kayseri. There are almost 50 churches in Soğanlı Village which is also world famous with its beautiful rag dolls. Today 9 of these churches can be visited.

Tokalı Church
You may see the church on the right side of the road 2 km before you reach to Soğanlı Village (Open Air Museum). There are some decorations from Iconoclasm period (726-843).

Soğanlı Valleys Churches
There are two valleys in Soğanlı Village area; one of them is directed to north and the other is to west. Other than these, there is another valley situated behind village square. These valleys, with many churches, were included in Soğanlı Open Air Museum, today. The north directed valley consists of Karabaş, Yılanlı, Kubbeli and Saklı Churches. Tahtalı Church was located at the end of the west directed one. The valley behind the village square consists of Ballık, Geyikli and Gök churches.

Rag Dolls of Soğanlı Village
We see divers rag dolls in Anatolia. Each doll tells us the culture, life style and traditions of her country. Folkloric dolls built a real culture bridge from past to present. Simple materials are used for making Soğanlı rag dolls. The body of the doll is formed by wrapping cotton over a wooden skeleton. Bottle cap is used for head. After completing the body, colorful regional dresses are put on the dolls. Lastly, the face of the doll is formed by a pencil. Now, a Soğanlı rag doll is ready to get its place on the bench. There are various size and models of Soğanlı rag dolls. Among these, most gripping ones are bride, the girl who makes wool strand, the girl with baby and the girl with jug.

Erdemli Valley
The Valley, situated in Erdemli Village and on the 5 km north of Yeşilhisar, can be reached by following the Yeşilhisar-İncesu road and turning left for 3 km. The frescoes of Saray Church, which was located in Erdemli Valley as a monastery church, were damaged quite alot. The Church, on the southeast of the valley, dated on 12th century and stands out with its external decorations. Bezirhane Monastery, on the east of Erdemli, also welcomes us as another premises with it is history dated 12th century.

Sultan Sazlığı
Located 18 km southeast of Yeşilhisar. Sultan Sazlığı is one of the most important bird-watching sites of Turkey. There are more than 250 bird species. Unfortunately, as a result of incorrect irrigation schemes after 2000, Sultan Sazlığı came to point of drying.

Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls

The Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls, 60 km far away from Yahyalı, have developed into a very touristical place today. The area containing the waterfalls was declared a natural park in 1995. The Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls consist of roughly two parts. The first includes four waterfalls gushing from rocks that are lined on the side of the valley. They fall from 30-40 meters into the Aksu Creek.

Rafting in Zamantı River
Zamantı River is among our country’s rafting tracks. To get to the track, Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls road should be followed for 30 minutes from Yahyalı. The river route is 13 km and its difficulty level is 3. It is appropriate for experienced groups.

Yahyalı Caves
Our country’s 2nd deepest cave Kuzgun Düdeni (1398 m) and 6th deepest cave Subatağı Düdeni (643 m) are both in Yahyalı Borough. These caves are suitable for professional cavers.   

Note: This article has been published in “Cappadocia Life and Travel Guide-2010”. It is under protection of the copyrights of the book. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means without prior permission from the owner.

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