Located in the center of Anatolia, Aksaray is a typical Anatolian city with a long history. The settlement of Cappadocia in the first era was later used for colonies in the Roman period. Along with the Battle of Malazgirt, Aksaray, which is a settlement for Danişments, is located on important crossroads. While Kırşehir and Ankara are in the north, Konya is located in the southeast, and Nevşehir in the east of Aksaray.
Climate and Local Cuisine
Located in the continental climate zone, Aksaray has very hot summers and very cold winters. The city has an average annual temperature of 15 degrees where the amount of precipitation is not very high.
Aksaray cuisine is mainly made of pastry, legumes, and soup. You can come across the natural food blended with the region’s own products in the city frequently. You will find different and authentic delicacies such as höşmerim, sarığıburma dessert, couscous dolma, mantı, soğanlama, çiğleme, and şepe among the local dishes of Aksaray. Also, okra soup, which is encountered in many parts of Central Anatolia, is cooked in a delicious way in Aksaray. The noodles (erişte) are homemade.
Places to Visit
Aksaray is a remarkable region with its natural atmosphere and historic cities. Many ancient cities are located within the borders of the city. Also, because it is adjacent to Nevşehir, it also hosts a region of tourism like Ihlara Valley.
- Aksaray Zinciriye Madrasah: This is a beautiful historic building with mosaic decoration and an open courtyard. It is quite sheltered and beautiful, with architecture that belongs to the 15th. century.
- The Ancient City of Nora: 30 kilometers from the city center, the city is adorned with historic ruins from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Various frescoes are located at the foot of the Hasan Mountain, near the ruins of the Acropolis and the small castle.
- Aksaray Museum: Works of the Neolithic Age, Phrygian Age, Roman and Hellenistic periods, and the Byzantine age are exhibited in Aksaray Museum.
- Sümbüllü Church: The Sümbüllü Church, which was built in the 11th. and 12th. centuries after Christ, attracts attention with its important depictions of the Virgin Mary.
- Ihlara Valley: The Valley, which is located in the vicinity of Melendiz Stream, is one of the most active areas in terms of tourism. Especially in the morning or evening hours, important hiking trails and ruins of the historic church are captured by photo enthusiasts.
- Acemhöyük: Located 18 kilometers from the city center, Acemhöyük is a 4000-year-old settlement with various statues, ornaments, and beads.
- Eğri (Kızıl) Minaret: Built in 1200s, the minaret is located in the city center. It is also known as Crimson Minaret, due to its red bricks. It is inclined like the Pisa Tower.
- Güzelyurt Houses: These accommodations served as a boutique hotel when the northern Greece Turks came to settle during the Greek exchange.
- Selime Cathedral: Located next to the Ihlara Valley, Selime Cathedral has many important natural features reminiscent of fairy chimneys in Nevşehir.
- Ziga Hot Springs: These thermal springs, located in the village of Yaprakhisar, contain many minerals and have been said to aid in healing from various ailments.
- St. Gregorios Theologos Church: This historic church, located 45 km to the east of Aksaray was built for the founder of the Orthodox faith and is definitely worth a visit.
- Kırkdamaltı Church
- Canlı Church
The Saratlı Culture and Art Festival, organized in July, hosts many important events. Taşpınar Municipality Carpet Festival is an event where local handicrafts and carpets are exhibited in August. In addition, the Aksaray Ihlara Culture and Tourism Festival and the Children’s Day Kite Festival are quite remarkable.
How to Get There
Since the city is located in Central Anatolia, you can easily access it through the highway from all over Turkey. If you plan to travel by plane, you may prefer the Nevşehir Cappadocia or Kayseri airport. You can get to the city by transfer service from the nearby cities or by public transport. There is also a bus service from Ankara city center to Aksaray every hour.