Our final activity of the project Integrations and Socialization of Refugee Youth into Social life was a one day trip to a hidden gem, city of Sivrihisar.
This not so famous city has a rich culture of craft making art and a long history where you can find abundant traces of settlement from the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman eras.
The city is the most known as a birthplace of Nasreddin Hodja, who was a Seljuq satirist. He is considered a philosopher, Sufi, and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes.
In the folowing text you can see and read about the places that we visited in Sivrihisar.
Our first stop was Sivrihisar Rug Museum. Sivrihisar Municipality has started to work to ensure the survival of the art of rug weaving, which could otherwise fall into oblivion. For more than a year, officials have studied old rugs around the town and surrounding rural areas and held talks with locals who have inherited the skill.
The museum contains collections of rugs from 67 nearby villages.
After the Museum we visited Alemşah Türbesi and Ulu Cami.
Alemşah Türbesi was ordered by Meliksah of the Seljuk Sultanate in memory of his martyred brother Sultansah in 1327. The cript ( lower floor has attractive door decoration; fish, lapsing stars, geometric lapses, mesh and hook motives.
Opposite of Alemsah Gunbat is Ulu Cami, the largest wooden-poled mosque of Anatolia which survived to this day from the Seljuk period. It was order to be built by Emineddin Mikail, a folower of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumin, in 1274.
The interesting fact about this mosque is that the woods that serve as pillar support between ceiling and floor have no attachment to the stone, they are supported just by a trunk of wood.
The oldest encryption of the mosque dates from 1231-1232.
Mosque was reopend for prayer after the restauration and in 2016 it was included to UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Our next location was Sivrihisar Kultur Evi (“Nasreddin Hoca Kültür Evi”).
This place contains a lot of information about Nasreddin Hodja, bearing traces of Sivrihisar local food and clothing culture, traditions and customs, Sivrihisar Mansions, house buildings and history. There you can even talk with a person impersonating Nasreddin Hodja and he will tell you one or more of his great stories.
Sivrihisar is a small city so everything is located within walking distance, our next destinations were Armenian Church, Metin Yurdanur Open-Air Sculpture Museum and Sivrihisar Clock Tower.
Armenian Church was built by Armenians as a religious and artistic structure and the actual name is Holy Trinity Church ( Surp Yerrotutyun Church). Built in 1650, this church is one of the biggest remaining Christian religious complexes in Turkey. It was destroyed in 1876 in a fire and then rebuilt in 1881. The church has an magnificent ambient with not so many decorations, The emptiness of the space contribute to the great echo.
The most impressive part of our visit was Metin Yurdanur Open-Air Sculpture Museum.
Just across the road to the church, on the foothill of the vast rocky hills covering the northern area of Sivrihisar, you’ll see many uniquely designed open-air sculptures on display.
This intriguing site was founded by award-winning Turkish sculptor Metin Yurdakul, a native of Sivrihisar, in 2011.
Here, you’ll find the shapes of many prominent personalities in Turkish history, such as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Kazım Karabekir, Seljuk Sultan Kayqubad I, Nasreddin Hoca, Karacaoğlan and Yunus Emre.
The road from the museum leads to Sivrihisar Clock Tower which is main symbol of the town. It was built in 1899 by Mahmut Bey, who was the district governor of Sivrihisar in that period.
From the tower and the glass observation deck abutting it, you can get the best view of Sivrihisar. The structure was erected on top of a high boulder, which makes it visible from pretty much any spot in Sivrihisar.