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ULUKIŞLA

"The Great Barracks"                       Population: 5,300                                       

ulukislaOld name: Faustinopolis

Market day: Monday

Ulukısla is believed to have been founded by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and named after his wife Faustina who died here in 175. Its modern name, however, means "The Great Barracks" and commemorates a huge barracks that once stood on the main road from Ankara to Adana.

Around town

The "Great Barracks" had been used by a general named Öküz (Ox) Mehmed Paşa during the Persian campaign of 1615. Afterwards he had a huge külliye (mosque complex) built beside it; it was completed in 1616.

The complex incorporated a caravanserai where travellers on this busy road could rest, an arasta of shops whose rents would support it, an imaret (soup kitchen), a tabhane, a hamam or Turkish bath, and a relatively small single-domed mosque that is still in use today. 

Unfortunately when I visited in May 2014 the entire complex was locked up including the mosque outside prayer times. It was also obvious that it had been given one of those overly thorough "restorations" that has made it look almost new and that has provided clean flat services on which taggers can do their ugly worst.

Is it worth coming here?

Not, in my opinion, if you would have to make a special trip. On the other hand if you're driving from Niğde to Adana it might be worth the short western detour, especially if you have time to wait around while someone tries to rouse a keyholder.

Transport info

Hourly buses link Niğde and Ulukışla. In Niğde they leave from near the Yıldız taxi rank opposite the Sağlık Ocağı (Clinic); in Ulukışla they leave from opposite the caravanserai. 

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