Kayseri the Anatolian Tigers – what you should do

Kayseri the Anatolian Tigers - what you should do

I have been visiting Turkey for 7 years now, at least three times a year. Each trip starts in Istanbul and then I get whisked off into a new city to discover its hidden gems.

My recent Turkish adventure saw me visit the fascinating city of Kayseri – this economic powerhouse is nicknamed Anatolian tigers . I also visited surrounding towns of historical interest, with a population of 1,2 million in the Kayseri province as of 2011,This dynamic city, offers delicious food, rich history and the cutting edge of modern ski complexes in Turkey found on Mount Erciyes.

Kayseris strategic location on the Silk Road led to the city becoming famous for industry.

Its beautiful in it own rustic way, with a series of of historical monuments including several from the Seljuk period.  One of the oldest high schools in Turkey, Kayseri Lisesi is here, along with Twin Madrasah, one of the very first medicine schools where music therapy was used to treat mental illness.

From Republic square , the heart of the city one can feel the beat . Dominating the city skyline is Mount Erciyes , now an extinct volcano , the eruptions from this mountain is what lead to the world famous Cappadocia chimneys formation.

Arrive

Turkish Airlines flys daily from Johannesburg to Istanbul. With 18 return flights a week between South Africa and Istanbul in the summer months its the fastest way to arrive.Leaving Johannesburg at night no time is lost during the day . With a quick check in, good food, friendly cabin crew and an up to date selection of movies its difficult to sleep. If you do happen to sleep, before you know it, you are descending into Istanbul over the Bosporus in time to see the sun rise and indulge in a delicious Turkish breakfast.

Stay

There is no better place than the magnificent Hilton Hotel. Centrally located across from Republic square with its exquisite decor and many special touches I fell in love with it. The bedrooms are spacious, exquisitely decorated and luxurious and the hotels attention to detail is evident in the pile of daily newspapers in the lobby and current magazines. There are two on site restaurants and the indoor pool was perfect after a hot day exploring the city. Ending off the day at the roof top restaurant and enjoy the panoramic views of the city was just perfect.

Eat

My favourite would have to be Umut Tepesi firstly because its the first restaurant I ate at and enjoyed the full Turkish breakfast spread and it was the last one I ate at before leaving Kayseri. The evening was pure magic, with a live band, tables set out in the garden looking out onto the open fields under a full moon and fire flys flickering in the moon light, this family run business has combined all things Turkish on the edge of the city and created the ambience that city folk want at the end of a busy day.

My second favourite would be the Airbus cafe and restaurant. Set up on slight hill the full sized plane is definitely worth a visit. After parking your car you take a modern elevator up to the entrance and walk down the passage way to enter as you would a normal flight. The interior is colourful with modern touches and on a hot day you can sit outside under a wing. Airbus has become a city landmark and is an idea place to view the city and take some unusual selfies.

Must do

Mount Erciyes – 20 minute drive from the city centre it comes alive in the winter months, this wonderland is a playground for beginners and novice skiers.

The Citadel  – Hidden shops and courtyards, cafes in nooks and crannies this is a maze of magic as you wonder around between the ancient buildings. The castle walls from Roman times are still standing and have 5 different doors. Its the guardian of the city

Ataturk museum house –  This museum is on the site of an old house where Ataturk stayed while in Kayseri on the 20 December 1919. A humbling experience to walk up and down the stairway he used.

Kayseri Lisesi – Built by Abdulhamit and founded on 13 September 1893, the high school was opened in 1870 by Kayserili Ahmet Pasha. Now part of the school is a museum.

Burak At ( horse ) ciftligi – This is a popular wedding venue, however during the day there is a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The furnishings relate to Turkish colours and fabrics. The indoor arena is big and one can ride a horse here. Its well worth a stop to see how this space has been well utilised. The ice cream here is really good

Ali Dagi underground city – This underground city with cisterns has a history dating back to prehistorical times. Part of the Cappadocia region, Ali Dagi is a mountain of the tuff stones erupted from Erciyes volcano. You walk 150 metres in a narrow tunnel, at the end is a cistern. The total length of the city is 220 metres and reaches Urgup.

Shopping

Forum Kayseri – with branded and unbranded stores, cinemas, restaurants and coffee shops. This mall is good spot if you want some retail therapy. Underground parking and linked to the Radisson Hotel, its enjoyable.

Bazaar area – The Vizir Han is interesting, different workshops are found here, a shoemaker, carpet repairer etc. It feels like you have taken a step back in time to the era of camels passing through.  I found the raw wool spilling out of huge bags fascinating, colourful carpets and brightly coloured hand made decorations caught my eye.

Day trips

Nigde Kale – Built on the Northern side of Alaeddin Hill that is actually a mound. Presumed to have been built by the Byzantine Empire. The castle served as a jail in the first years of the Republic period and was completely restored in 2007.

Village of Darili – Part of Felahiye, Darili is a small village about an hour outside of Kayseri city high up in the mountains. The drive takes you past the aitmapinar antik cesmesi and Yamula dam. The flora is beautiful and along the way you will come across local villages selling seasonal fruit. The homes in the village are old and built of rock and most families live off the land. The clean air is refreshing and the Anatolian people friendly and welcoming.

Tyana Kemerhisar – This goes back to the time of the Hitites. The aqueducts and Roman pool here are breathtaking, the arches are so tall in some areas that you cant touch the top of them.

Gumusler monastery – Hidden jewel near to the town of Nigde. Well preserved paintings its beautiful and gives an idea about monasteries in the Byzantine times. Less than 10km from Nigde its well worth it if you have a car.

little black book

http://www.tourismguideofturkey.com

http://www.kultur.gov.tr

http://www.turkishairlines.com

http://www.hilton.com.tr

http://www.airbusrestorant.com

http://www.umuttepesi.com

The city in the Turkish region of Central Anatolia is a cultural treasure trove, old and new standing side by side telling the stories of centuries long history.

 

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