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NEVŞEHİR

Damat İbrahim Paşa's "New Town"                               Population: 94,000

damat1Market day: Monday

Old name: Muşkara

Nevşehir may be the provincial capital of Cappadocia, a region renowned for its natural beauty,but there's scant sign of that in the town itself. Indeed, arguably this is one of Turkey's ugliest cities, with the authorities seemingly intent on pulling down every last old building in favour of high-rise concrete apartment blocks.

Still, if you need to spend a few hours there there are just about enough sights to fill in the time. In 2013 all the houses immediately beneath the castle were cleared away. There is talk of a new archaeological park to come in some of the cleared space.

Around town

The most obvious starting point for exploring Nevşehir is the castle that overlooks it even though that consists of little more than a rebuilt outer wall. The view is dramatic if not especially beautiful.

In the town centre the main attraction is the Damat İbrahim Paşa mosque complex, built in 1727 for the grand vizier İbrahim Paşa who was also the son-in-law of Sultan Ahmed III (1713-30) and responsible for many of the grand Tulip Age parties held in İstanbul's Topkapı Palace. An enthusiastic builder, İbrahim endowed İstanbul with many fine monuments including one incarnation of Kızkulesi (the Maiden's Tower) so it's hardly surprising that he also bestowed this fine complex on his birthplace.

200 DSC07832The Damat İbrahim Paşa complex consists of a mosque standing on a terrace together with a sebyan (schoolhouse) now used as a library and imaret (soup kitchen) now used as offices. Recent excavations beneath the terrace have exposed the kervansaray (caravanserai) to view. The hamam attached to the complex is still in use (Saturday afternoons for women).

Finally Nevşehir's rather good museum (closed Mondays) stands ignored behind a statue of Damat İbrahim Paşa on the road heading out towards Avanos just before Migros. Downstairs exhibits locally archaeological discovers, upstairs local ethnograhical items. Look in particular for a print at the back that shows what Nevşehir looked like befire its find stone houses were all demolished. NevmusReminder of Cappadocia's lost Greek population in Nevşehir Museum

Sleeping

Dedeman Cappadocia Hotel. Tel: 0384-213 9900, www.dedeman.com

Lykia Lodge Kapadokya. Tel: 0384-213 9945, www.lykialodge.com

Hotel Altınöz. Tel: 0384-213 9961, www.altinozhotel.com

Transport info

Nevşehir airport (NAV) is at Tuzköy, 30km northwest of town and served by pre-bookable shuttle buses to Nevşehir and the surrounding villages. There are no flights in winter.

Nevşehir is the main transport hub for Cappadocia although fewer buses serve it than you might expect: three or four a day from Ankara, two or three from Adana and Konya. There are hourly buses from Kayseri during the main part of the day.

The bus station is outside the city limits - most bus services are linked to the centre and the surrounding villages by servis buses but don't risk getting stuck there since a taxi to town will cost a fortune.

Local transport to the villages mainly departs from the Meteris Kavşağı (junction) in the town centre - local bus drivers all know it well. 

Plans for a high-speed train service linking Nevşehir to Kayseri, Konya and Antalya are currently on the drawing board.

Day trip destinations

Aksaray

Avanos

Çat

Derinkuyu

Göreme

Gülşehir

Hacıbektaş

Kaymaklı

Kayseri

Kırşehir

Nar

Ortahisar

Uçhisar

Ürgüp

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/pat-yale_308289_on-the-trail-of-a-tower.html

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/columnistDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=308761 

nevtowBeautiful 19th-century belltower survives demolition of Kale Mahallesi, 2012

nevfountLovely fountain that forms part of Damat İbrahim Paşa mosque complex

NevcasNevşehir Castle rises up behind the Damat İbraham Paşa mosque complex. The neighbourhood in between has since been demolished.

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