Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Sivrihisar

Sivrihisar (meaning pointed castle) is a charming little town in Eskişehir Province, the name is derived from the ruins of Sivrihisar castle and the pointed rocky granite hills that surround the town on three sides.The town has a long history and has been occupied by the Hittites, Phrygians, Seljuks and Ottomans.
Sivrihisar has many beautiful (and some decaying) Ottoman houses and haphazard twisty roads. Like many other parts of Eskişehir Province recent times have allowed for some renovations so some of the Ottoman house have been recently restored to very high standard.
The town is quiet and has an air of sleepiness about it as if no one is in much of a hurry, the centre usually has a few locals hanging around swopping pleasantries who are likely to show friendly curiosity in any visiting strangers. Sivrihisar is famed for its beautiful kilim rugs although you are unlikely to be able to buy one in the town, although I understand it is possible to buy new ones in one of the nearby villages. Sivrihisar is also famous for the folk legend Nasrettin Hoca, born in the Hortu village (part of Sivrihisar District). Nasrettin Hoca was a 13th century sufi famous for his biting tongue and satirical style, his stories often include a moral wrapped in a joke and are normally subject to multiple interpretations. He is often depicted riding his donkeys backwards.

One day Nasreddin Hodja got on his donkey the wrong way, facing towards the back.
- Hodja the people said, you are sitting on your donkey backwards!
- No, he replied. It's not that I am sitting on the donkey backwards, the donkeys facing the wrong way.

Nasrettin sat on a river bank when someone shouted to him from the opposite side:
- "Hey! how do I get to the other side?"
- "You are on the other side!" Nasrettin shouted back.


In the centre of town you will find the 13th century Ulu Mosque a rare and beautiful example of an early wooden mosque built in 1274 by the Seljuk emir Mikail bin Abdullah, the roof is held up by many wooden pillars and there is an intricately carved walnut pulpit considered to be one of the best surviving examples of its kind.
Also in Sivrihisar you can find an old derelict Armenian Church Kızıl Kilise (the Red Church), that has at some point been used as a factory it has an eerie nature partly due to the state of decay and partly due to a large brick wall that divides it in two, one side of the wall has been used as a factory and is full of decaying machinery this can be accessed through the front door, the other side which has been left empty can be accessed through a hidden tunnel in the house (possibly the old rectory) attached to the side of the church.
On the side of one of the hills is an old hamam that can be easily reached in a short 20min walk, from here you can see views across the town and the surrounding area.

Getting There: The main access to Sivrihisar would be by road, it is located on the E90 the road linking Eskişehir and Ankara.

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