Aksaray, with its riches including the Ihlara Valley, spots for faith tourism, underground cities, Salt Lake, Mount Hasandağı, ancient cities and spa centres, is one of the glorious cities of Cappadocia. Aksaray possesses the most frequently visited regions of Cappadocia, all of display which natural beauties mingled with the mysticism of history. The capital district of Aksaray Province.
History of Askaray Region
The first civilization ever recorded in Aksaray is the city of Aşıklı, dating back to the 8000 years BC. Moreover, the Aksaray region was an important stop along the Silk Road for centuries.
The last Cappadocian king, Archelaus gave the name Archelaïs to this city. Later in Roman times, the town was known as Colonia. It had been under the celestial rule of a bishop and was an important military centre, holding an imperial aplekton.
Christian Significance of Aksaray
Futhermore, the city is recognized as an important centre of Christianity’s very earliest days. Aksaray was home to prominent pioneers of Christianity such as Basil of Caesarea (Kayseri) and Gregory of Nazianzus in the 4th century. Gregory offered an explanation for the Holy Trinity and his ideas prevailed at the Council of İznik. Thus, he is remembered as the first innovator who became a saint in the history of Christianity.
The Catholic Church has listed Colonia, Cappadocia as a titular see. Furthermore, this titular metropolis has been made a part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
During Ottoman times, the town prospered due to its proximity to Tuz Gölü (Lake Tuz). The lake is the primary source of salt for Anatolia.
After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the region came under the control of the Seljuk Turks. The Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate left important historical monuments in and around Aksaray.
The class of Muslim traders emerging in Aksaray greatly impressed the famous traveler, Ibn Battuta. He noted the urban centre as “a beautiful city, surrounded by waterways and gardens, with a water supply coming right to the houses of the city.”
Aksaray merged with the Ottoman Empire in 1470. After a protracted struggle with the Karamanids, İshak Pasha captured the region. Since many inhabitants of the city settled in a quarter of the city that came to be known as Aksaray.
Historical Monuments and Tourist Attractions
A prominent historical landmark in Aksaray is the military center of Byzantines and Romans, Viransehir (Nora).
An old Christian settlement can be found in Ihlara, which is a fascinating canyon, formed by the Melendiz River. In this valley, many Byzantine rock chapels used by the early Christians resides, carved inside canyon walls and decorated with frescoes. Among these chapels; the Agacalti (Daniel) church, the Yilanli (Apocalypse) church, the Sümbüllü (Hyacinth) church, the Purenliseki church, and St.Georges church are the most interesting ones.
Moreover in the Güzelyurt valley, tourist attract to the underground city of the prehistoric periods. Moreover, similar to the Ihlara canyon, the Manastir valley with its Sivisli Church, is one of the most interesting churches in the area.
One of the most spectacular attraction in Aksaray is the Hasan Mountain. This ancient volcano rises from the flat lands of Anatolia and is a great spot for mountain sports such as climbers and trekkers.
A new attraction opened in Aksaray city is Hünkarland, a large theme park with artificial waterfalls.
In addition, famous landmarks linked to the Ottomon period include the Kütahya Castle, Goat Castle and St Begnet’s Church, the Egri Minare and the Ulu Mosque.
Famous Food of Aksaray
Aksaray is a agriculturally rich region producing grains, meat and dairy and many kinds of fruit and vegetables. Therefore, the cuisine is of high standard. Many eell-known dishes include pastries and other kinds of wheat-based dishes such as; yufka, sıkma, katmer, sac böreği, mantı, tarhana, pelte, höşmerim, kaygana and a thick floury chicken stew called Arabaşı.
Many tours for Cappadocia passes by Aksaray, and it’s a stop worth making.