I am a Turk
Visiting the central-west: the Anatolian plateau
Turkey’s capital is Ankara, a modern city that really grew up and outwards after Ataturk chose it as the country’s capital. In geographic terms, it is located on the central Anatolian plateau and is about equally distant from all parts of Turkey. Its crowning glory is Ataturk’s mausoleum, where the founder of modern Turkey was laid to rest.

This is a government town although there are many other activities going on, and as the capital, there are many embassies located there of necessity. The advent of prestigious universities has added to the mix of people within the city, which has a good symphony orchestra, ballet and opera. It also offers wide boulevards, parks, elegant shops and first-class restaurants and hotels. For a fantastic view of the city there is Atakule, which towers 125 meters above the landscape.

In terms of pre-Turkish republican historic monuments there are a few, such as the citadel located on a rocky peak on the east side of the city. Then there is the monument of Roman Emperor Augustus commemorating his achievements as well as the remains of a large Roman bath.

Another of Ankara’s finest points is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, where a wide-ranging assortment of artifacts dating from Hittite times are on display in a restored covered market of the early Ottoman period. In addition there is the Ethnographic Museum, which contains items from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods and has a collection of musical instruments, weapons, tools and utensils.

From Ankara it is easy to visit other important towns located on this central plateau. Going west, you would come to Eskisehir, long known for its Meerschaum pipes and now home to Turkey’s Open University. From there, Kutahya is worth a visit for it is famous for its tiles and ceramics.

But Konya, south of Ankara, is perhaps the best known of the plateau towns and is located in such a way that it serves as a market town. But more importantly it became the capital of the Turkish Seljuks from the 11th to 13th centuries. Many monuments remain from those centuries and are examples of the flourishing architectural and decorative arts of the period.

Konya also became the home of the famous Whirling Dervishes, or Mevlevis, a mystic order founded by Celaleddin Rumi, or Mevlana, a religious thinker in the first half of the 13th century. His turquoise-domed mausoleum is still there and contains many items that are associated with the order. It has indeed become a museum. Every year in December, members of the sect perform their ritual dance for the public, although it is subject to a law banning such mystic orders. Konya is known for its conservatism but is also aware of the importance of tourism and has used the whirling dervishes as a good tourist draw while preserving the memory of Mevlana.

For those of you who know about Nasrettin Hoca, considered a joker, a visit to his hometown of Aksehir, west of Konya, might be worth it. Nasreddin Hoca told dry sorts of jokes that contained pithy comments on human nature, and these have retained their cleverness many centuries later.

There’s so much more to discover on the Anatolian plateau, but you have to go spend time there to appreciate everything.
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basils mum

Visiting the central-west: the Anatolian plateau
As a recent newbie I have just been reading some of the history threads on this site. I would like to thank all those that have taken the time to research and share their knowledge. I hope to spend many happy hours in future years visiting and enjoying some of the wonderful and diverse historical sites that Turkey has to offer. Thanks for whetting my appetite guys.

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