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YALVAÇ

 Gateway to Antioch ad Psidiam                            Population: 21,000

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The small central Anatolian town of Yalvaç owes its existences to the victory of the Selçuk leader Kılıcarslan over the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comenenus in battle at nearby Myriakephalon in 1176. The victorious sultan marked his achievement by moving the town downhill from the old site of Antioch ad Psidiam and refounding it as Yalvaç.

The most obvious reason to break your journey here is to visit the ruins of Antioch ad Psidiam and the Yalvaç Museum (closed Mondays) where most of the best finds are on display. A map shows the routes of St Paul’s missionary journeys across the country. The finest single exhibit is a mock-up of two rooms from a traditional wooden Yalvaç house. 

The town centre is home to a magnificent mosque dating back to the Beylik period when a series of local leaders ruled over the splintered fragments of the old Selçuk kingdom. The brother of Kılıçarslan II, Devlethan, paid for the fine 14th-century Devlethan Cami whose exterior walls and window-frames are studded with marble purloined from Antioch.

Nearby stands the classically elegant 19th-century Hamidiye, or Yeni Cami (New Mosque), built during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II. 

Across the road from the Hamidiye is the Yalvaç Anlatan Meydanı with displays explaining the town’s attractions. Here you can find out about the craftsmen who are still hard at work in the sanayi (industrial area) turning out painted horse carts and saddles, as well as thick, utilitarian felt rugs.

Immediately across the road from the Devlethan Cami is the wonderful Çınaraltı (Beneath the Plane Tree) area, so completely dominated by the branches of an 800-year-old plane tree that it feels almost roofed over. In the shade a ring of tea houses spill out into the square.

On  one side yet more tea houses fill an arcade named after Yalvaç Bey, a 16th-century local philanthropist whose picture was discovered in a book of minatures in Topkapı Palace. 

Sleeping

Yalvaç has a couple of decent hotels. Alternatively you can stay by the lake in Eğirdir.

Hotel Psidia

Hotel Oba. Tel: 0246-441 6544

Transport info

There are two-hourly bus services from Akşehir to Yalvaç, and more frequent buses from Eğirdir. There are also buses here from Afyon's Yeni Otogar.

In May 2015 Yalvaç's edge-of-town otogar was due to be moved even further out from the centre. 

The ruins of Antioch ad Psidiam are 40 minutes’ walk from the centre of Yalvaç. You can pick up a taxi in front of the Devlethan Cami or the museum.

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-221420-from-psidian-antioch-to-yalvac-in-deepest-anatolia.html

 

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