Kayseri

Overview

Introduction

Kayseri, Turkey, once the principal city of ancient Cappadocia, lies in the shadow of Mount Erciyes 165 mi/265 km southeast of Ankara. St. Basil the Great established an ecclesiastic center here in the fourth century, confirming Kayseri's place in early Christianity.

Today, it is one of Anatolia's booming industrial centers, and most foreign visitors simply pass through the airport on their way to other destinations—but there are several things that are worth a visit.

The small archaeological museum has interesting artifacts from the nearby Hittite site of Kanis (Kultepe). Notable Islamic buildings include the Hunat Hatun Mosque complex and the Sahibiye Medrese (with an especially fine portal).

It's also worth seeing the restored Gupgupoglu Konagi, a stone mansion that shows how the upper classes lived in late Ottoman times. Stop at the site of Kanis (4,000-year-old silver mines—now just holes in the ground) on the way to Sultan Han, a restored 13th-century caravansary, which is well worth seeing.

Kayseri is well-connected by road, rail and plenty of intercity buses, which makes sense given its central location. By car, it takes only three hours to reach Ankara or the Mediterannean, and just a 45-minute drive to Cappadocia. Mount Erciyes, the popular ski resort, is just 30 minutes away.

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