Eskişehir Historical Sites and Heritage

Eskişehir Historical Sites and Heritage

Eskisehir is city located in central place of Anatolia. Anatolia is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region is bounded by the Turkish Straits to the northwest, the Black Sea to the north, the Armenian Highlands to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west.

This peninsula is the place where the oldest cultures of history were born and were foundations of various civilizations were laid.

Eskisehir is consisted of 14 districts. The main districts are Tepebaşı and Odunpazarı.

City of Eskisehir is mostly known in Turkey as a student city with three big Universities and thousand of student who came from all over the Turkey to study here.

But the name Eskişehir means old city and that is for a reason. The history of civilizations and settlements in this area dates from Paleolithic Age ( Old Stone Age ). Although its not the city famous for its tourism like Cappadocia or Canakkale, it has a lot of potential and people are not familiarize with a long history, culture and sites that Eskisehir is offering. In this article we will introduce you to historical and cultural treasures there are worth visiting or exploring in this region.

1.Phrygians

A weakening of the Hittite Empire towards 1200 BC enabled other civilizations to take over the territory. One of those civilizations were Phrygians who immigrated to region of Anatolia and on the cultural possessions that Hittite left behind, they established their settlements and become a powerful civilization. The capital city of Civilization was Gordon, alongside with it was city of Midaion-the city of Midas ( Eskisehir-Karahoyuk). Other important cities were Otrous, Stektorian, Nacoleia (Eskisehir-Seyitgazi) and Possinus (Eskisehir/Sivrihisar/Ballihisar).

“When I was in Phrygia I saw much horsemen. The people of Otreus and Mygdon, Who were camping upon the banks of The river Sangarius…”

Homer, Iliad

Phrygians developed and reached the new level in authentic crafts such as wood carving, weaving, gold, silver, crystal, onyx processing. They are also known as the investors of mosaic, silver processing, fibula, fables (animal stories) and the flute.

The most important sites that remained today are:

  1. Yazılıkaya Valley

Yazılıkaya Valley was a Phrygian religious centre. It is an area full with rock monuments and inscriptions. Yazılıkaya Cybele Religious Affiliation Centre and its enviroment were protected by fortresses, occupied by military noble classes.

Yazılıkaya Open Air Temple ( Midas Monument) is a unique rock monument with its 17 metres height and original, symetrical, geometric motifs dating from the first half of 4th century BC. Phrygians worshiped the cult of the Mother Godess Cybele which they called “Agditis.”

2.Zahran Valley

This Valley is somehow different because it is full of monuments incorporated into the green scenery.

3.Asmainler Hidden Valley

This Valley cointaines rock tombs which are spreaded all over the Valley. The tombs are identified with Mother Goddess Cybele Cult. This hidden Valley is located aproximately 70 km from Eskisehir.

4.Seyircek Fortress

Seyircek Fortress is a mysterious place at the highest point of the highlands of Phrygia with various Roman and Byzantine sarcophagus type rock tombs carved on the top of the main rock.

Beside this places there are also: Porsuk Valley, Kumbet Valley, Yapildak Valley.

2.Sorkun Pottery

Similar like city of Avanos, Sorkun has a long tradition of pottery craft. It is a small village with population of 500 people and 80 settlements and almost every household is involved in pottery craft. The villagers obtain the same technique that was used in Neolithic age and the art of pottery has been going on in this place for at least 800 years.

In the village, all of the pottery is shaped on a rotating wheel, and after a series of processes, the “ironing” baking process is carried out on an open field with the heat of the fire and wind. The process of making the pottery is is made in summer months because of the weather conditions.

Sorkun Pottery is sold in Sorkun Village 12 km away from the county of Mihalıççık district of Eskişehir and in Atlı Han Handicraft Bazaar in Odunpazarı.

3. Odunpazarı Evleri

Odunpazarı is the first Turkish settlement within Eskisehir. After the Turks conquered Karacahisar, they built a new city in Odunpazarı across Sarhoyuk (Dorylaion) where the Byzantine governors lived.

Interesting places to see there are colorful Ottoman houses, handcraft bazaar, Ottoman House, Kırk Ambar Bazaar (meaning bazaar of 40 warehouses), Kursunlu Complex (16th Century Ottoman era). You can find many examples of glass crafted objects, meershaum stone pipes on the bazaars. Also the place is full with restaurants where You can try ciborek, original Eskisehir dish, Iskender Kebap, and great kofte.

You can read more about Odunpazarı evleri here.

4.Handcrafts

Eskisehir is a city where different cultures merge and offer quite rich folkloric features. The Turksmen and Turkish nomads of 18th-19th century, as well as the immigrants from Crimea, Caucasia and Balkans in early 19th-20th centuries, contributed to the cultural formation in Eskisehir and its surroundings.

After adopting a settled life , the Turkish nomads and Turkmens gave significance to making kilim and its varieties such as cimim, zili, sumac and pala weaving as well as making saddlebags, bags and cushions.

Meerschaum embroidery started to thrive in the 1940s and turned into a handcrafts in 1950s. Meerschaum was initially used in pipe-making, but then it was also used in neclaces, bracelets, earrings and ornaments like trinkets.

The largest reserves of boron, meerschaum and chalcedony in the world are found in Eskişehir. Boron is a hard, white rock with great heat resistance and it is found in salt from. Turkey ranks first among other countries in possessing 72% of the overall boron reserves in the world and Eskişehirs Kırka is the leading source in all the Turkey.

You can read more about Meerschaum here.

Sivrihisars cebe and pearl earring making are dreams of every bride. The Armenian craftsmen who lived in Sivrihisar until 1917 started to perform this craft in the 1800s and passed down this tradition to younger generations. The original version of the pearl earrings from Christian traditions has 12 pearls on, which represent 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Other significant handcrafts are sock knitting, Seyitgazi embroideries, Sarka-Pesent making and Alpu silver embroidery.

5. Mahmudiye

Fertile soil and valleys watered by the Sakarya and Porsuk rivers have been suitable places for horse breeding throughout history. Mahmudiye is the most important place in Eskişehir where you can ride purebread Arab horses and one of the two biggest stud farms in all the Turkey.

6.Spiritual values of Eskisehir

Yunus Emre is one of the most famous poets in all the Turkey. He was born in 1240 in Sarıkoy between the towns of Mihaılıccik and Sivrihisar. He was  folk poet and Sufi mystic who greatly influenced Turkish culture. He declared his love for the God in most of his poems.

“What is the purpose of reading those books? So that Man can know the All-Powerful. If you have read, but failed to understand, Then your efforts are just a barren toil.”

His tomb is located in Sarikoy in Eskisehir and it is open for public.

Another great man of literature who originate from Eskisehir is Nasreddin Hoca. He was a Seljuq satirist, born in Hortu Village in Sivrihisar, Eskişehir Province. He is considered a philosopher, Sufi, and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool.

Monument of Nasreddin Hoca

A neighbour came to the gate of Hodja Nasreddin’s yard. The Hodja went to meet him outside.”Would you mind, Hodja,” the neighbour asked, “can you lend me your donkey today? I have some goods to transport to the next town. “The Hodja didn’t feel inclined to lend out the animal to that particular man, however. So, not to seem rude, he answered:”I’m sorry, but I’ve already lent him to somebody else.” All of a sudden the donkey could be heard braying loudly behind the wall of the yard.”But Hodja,” the neighbour exclaimed. “I can hear it behind that wall!” “Whom do you believe,” the Hodja replied indignantly, “the donkey or your Hodja?”

Tale Whom do you believe? Nasreddin Hodja

The International Nasreddin Hodja festival is celebrated between 5 and 10 July in his hometown every year.

7.Food

Ciborek is a special treat and a highlight of Eskisehir cosine. It ia a delicacy that comes from the culture of the first Crimean Tatar settlers in Eskisehir. It is borek filled with a very thin layer of ground beef or lamb seasoned with ground onion and spices. It is generally half round shape and it can also be many in variotions with mushrooms, cheese, potato…

Met Halva is delicacy unique to Eskisehir and it is named after a game that is played with a stick, called met. It is made of dought, oil, sugar, lemon and water. It has two varieties, with cacao and vanilla.

Nougat Halva is another variation of halva characteristic for Eskisehir, it is made of nougat, walnuts, tahini and soapwort (type of flower)

The things mentioned here are just a glimpse of Eskisehir. There is much more thing to see and experience here, especially historical sites. There are also a lot of caves, termal waters, wild life resorts…. It is indeed unique city and unfortunately it is not so famous in the touristic circles, but hopefully that will change.