Gateway to Western Cappadocia                              Population: 200,000

aks1Old name: Archelais, Koloneia, Garsaura, Aqsara/Taxara

Market day: Monday

It may lack any major attractions but Aksaray, in the shadow of Hasan Dağı (Mt Hasan), is an increasingly pleasant Central Anatolian town whose lovely main square has a whiff of Northern Europe about it.

The city is believed to stand on the site of the old Byzantine Archelais, the finds from which can be seen in the local archaeology museum. 

Around town

The Melendiz river flows through the centre of town and makes a good place to start exploring, with plenty of fine old Greek houses close by. This is also where you'll find the Eğri Cami (Crooked Mosque), a mosque buit in 1236 that features a tilted minaret, inevitably nicknamed the Turkish Tower of Pisa. 100 DSC08571

Follow the river to find the early 20th-century Vali Konağı which now houses the town's rather good Ethnography Museum.

Near the main square, the Ulu Cami is a bit of an oddity, a Selçuk building that was extensively remodelled in 1408-9 when the Karamanoğul dynasty held sway around it. It has a detached minaret build just after the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1925. Inside there's a fine Selçuk-era mimber with beautiful carvings. aks2

Also in the town centre is the Selçuk-era Zinciriye Medresesi, a lovely building pre-dating 1337 and with one of the elaborate portals typical of the period. Today one room serves as an attractive local library. Walk through the back to emerge into a courtyard framed with three large eyvans.

The Archaeology Museum is easy to overlook as it's away from the centre near the bus station. Come here to inspect the finds from the nearby tells, Aşıklı Höyük and Acemhöyük. Also on display are the mummified corpses of seven children found during excavations at the Canlı Kilise in 1994. 

One last minor attraction is the small, rebuilt Hakiki Yusuf Baba complex, commemorating a son of the better known holy man, Somuncu Baba. Across the road from it are the remains of a Selçuk darphane (mint) currently under restoration. Beyond the mosque complex the lovely Ahmet Efendi Konağı is slowly rotting away. Past that and you'll emerge in the Kılıçarslan Parkı with a fine children's play area.


Most visitors to Aksaray will want to press on to Güzelyurt for Ihlara, or to Göreme, Uçhisar, Ürgüp and the other Cappadocian hotspots. However, there are plenty of decent business hotels in town.

Grand Altuntaş Hotel. Tel: 0382-212 0808. If you must have five-star luxury this newly renovated hotel is out of town at Esentepe just after the buses turn off for Nevşehir. 

Grand Saatçioğlu Hotel

Otel Vadim. Tel: 0382-212 8200

Üçyıldız Hotel. Tel: 0382-214 0000

Transport info

There are frequent buses to Aksaray from Ankara (230km). Local buses head on to Güzelyurt, comfortable intercity buses to Nevşehir (85km). There are also regular services to Konya (140km), passing through Sultanhanı. Servis buses to the otogar pick up from in front of the old bus station opposite Migros, just a short walk from the main square. 

Local buses to Güzelyurt, Ihlara village (both infrequent) and Sultanhanı (frequent) leave from the street in front of the old bus station, across from Migros. 

Day trip destinations


Canlı Kilise


Ihlara Valley

Helvadere (Nora, Viranşehir)


Viranşehir (Noma)

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-205610-117-the-antique-attractions-of-aksaray.html

aks3Kılıçaslan Parkı

Events Calendar

October 2022
25 26 27 28 29 30 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5

Exchange Rates