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Central Anatolian Region

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This central region is now the heart of modern Turkey’s political life, and has been the centre of many significant societies and civilisations throughout history. The main cities in this region are Ankara, Cankiri, Eskisehir, Kayseri, Kirsehir,Konya, Nevsehir, Nigde, Sivas, Yozgat, Aksaray, Karaman and Kirikkale.

Ankara, the modern-day capital, is located squarely in the middle of Central Anatolia and has been planned and developed for a contemporary society. The most visually impressive structure here is the Anitkabir mausoleum built for Ataturk, who foundedthe modern Republic of Turkey by winning the War for Independence and then made Ankara its capital. The Museum of Anatolian Civilisations is among the best museums in the country, and has exhibits from Anatolian dating from 50,000 BC to the 2nd centuryAD.In the surrounding areas, there are important settlements from early Anatolian civilisations. The Hittites migrated to the Anatolian plateau from the Caucus Mountains and set up the first kingdom in history to encompass the whole of Anatolia, from theBlack Sea to the Mediterranean and from the Aegean Sea stretching east.The capital of the Hittite Empire Hattushash, with massive walls and full of temples, (now Bogazkale) and the second largest city Shapinuva are both located northeast of Ankara in the province of Corum. Reliefs of all of the Hittite gods and goddessescan be seen in the open air temple in nearby Yazilikaya, which was an important pantheon of the Hittites. Alacahoyuk is another important settlement, and is known for the sphinxes which can be seen at the city gates.Around the time of 1200 BC, the Phrygians came to the Anatolian Plateau from Europe and established their capital, Gordion, near Polatli west of Ankara. Alexander the Great was supposed to have become the ruler of Asia by virtue of ‘undoing’ Gordion’sknot with his sword. The tomb of the Phrygian king Midas, who according to legend turned everything he touched into gold, is located near Gordion. Near Eskisehir and Afyon there are a number of Phrygian cities and places of worship.South of the vast fertile Konya plane on the northern slopes of the Toros Mountains, Catalhoyuk is one of the world’s oldest cities. Dating back to the Neolithic Era, it was an important cultural centre with many temples decorated with frescoes bycity artisans. Konya and the surrounding regions would later be ruled during the Chalcolithic, Bronze, Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras. It became the capital city of the Seljuk Empire in the 12th century andconsequently experienced the most important Renaissance period of its long history. In the 13th century, Konya was completely transformed with Selcuk architecture.The great Turkish philosopher Mevlana, who believed in human love and said that mystical unity with God could be reached by the Sema, a whirling dance to music performed by the dervishes, lived in Konya and established a following here.Every year in December, Konya holds a Mevlana Week which includes performances of the Sema. Mevlana is buried with his father Bahaeddin Veled in the Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe), which has become the symbol of the city. The Dervish Lodge and MevlanaMuseum adjacent to the tomb are open to the public.

Southwest of Konya is Beysehir Lake, a relatively undiscovered paradise full of natural beauty, and nearby Kubad Abad has the summer home of the Seljuk rulers, and a castle on Kizkalesi Island. The Esrefoglu Mosque and Tomb, in Beysehir, are importantexamples of the wooden architecture of the Selcuk.Northwest towards Aksehir is the home of Nasreddin Hoca, the famous 13th century folk philosopher whose brilliant wit, quick retorts and stories with subtle meanings is renowned far beyond the borders of Turkey. This much-loved icon died in 1284 andhis tomb in Aksehir is the symbol of the city.

In the Eskisehir region, the great poet Yunus Emre is buried in the village named after him. He was considered to be an eminent pioneer of Turkish poetry, who used language, idioms and concepts of the ordinary man in an unpretentious fashion to conveydivine justice, love and friendship. Many people pay respects to his work by visiting his grave.

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