Aksaray, Turkey

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Aksaray, Turkey

Region: Aksaray

Geographic Coordinates: 38.374200, 34.028900
Temperature Range: -20.0°C to 40.0°C (-4°F to 104°F)
Climate: Seasonal.
Population: 319865
Language: Turkish

Aksaray is a city in central Turkey with a population of approximately 400, 000 people and an elevation of 980 meters above sea level. It was once a significant stop on the Silk Road connecting East Asia to Europe and now serves as an entry point to the Cappadocia region. The city boasts several historical landmarks that attract tourists worldwide, Such as the Aksaray Museum featuring artifacts from Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. The Ihlara Valley is another popular attraction with its unique rock formations and greenery.

Exploring underground cities like Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are must-do activities for visitors interested in history. These ancient cities served as hiding places for early Christian communities during times of persecution. Religious tourism enthusiasts will enjoy visiting mosques like Ulu Mosque located in Aksaray’s old town center showcasing intricate tile work on its walls. Foodies can explore traditional Turkish dishes such as kebabs, Pide (Turkish pizza), Baklava (a sweet pastry dessert) among others while enjoying Aksaray’s culinary scene. The International Hittite Festival held annually celebrates ancient Hittite culture through traditional music performances, Dance shows and exhibitions showcasing Hittite artistry.

whether you’re into history or nature or just want to experience Turkish culture, Aksaray is a destination worth visiting with its rich heritage, Beautiful landscapes and delicious cuisine offering something for everyone to enjoy.

Important Landmarks

  1. Acıgöl Lake
  2. Aşıklı Höyük Archaeological Site
  3. Sultanhanı Caravanserai
  4. Eğri Minaret Mosque
  5. İhlara Valley National Park
  6. Selime Monastery
  7. Güzelyurt Underground City
  8. Saratlı Kervansaray Museum
  9. The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia (located nearby)

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Aksaray is renowned for its fertile land that produces various agricultural products such as wheat, barley, corn, potatoes and sugar beets.
  2. Textile: The city has a thriving textile industry that manufactures different types of fabrics and clothing items.
  3. Manufacturing: Aksaray houses several manufacturing industries that produce machinery parts, automotive components, construction materials and electrical equipment.
  4. Mining: The city boasts rich mineral resources such as boron and marble which are extracted from its mines.
  5. Tourism: Aksaray is home to several historical sites including the underground cities of Cappadocia which attract tourists from all over the world.
  6. Education: The city hosts several universities including Aksaray University which provides employment opportunities for locals thus contributing to its economy.
  7. Retail trade: There are numerous small shops and markets in Aksaray where locals purchase their daily necessities such as food items or household goods.

Noteable History

  1. The city of Aksaray was founded by the Seleucid Empire in the 3rd century BC, which was a Hellenistic state that ruled over much of Asia Minor.
  2. Aksaray became an important center for trade and commerce during the Roman period, with several major roads passing through the city.
  3. In the 11th century AD, Aksaray became part of the Seljuk Empire, which was a powerful Muslim state that controlled much of Anatolia.
  4. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (also known as Rumi), a famous Sufi mystic visited Aksaray in the 13th century and is said to have been inspired by its natural beauty and spiritual atmosphere.
  5. During Turkey’s struggle for independence from foreign powers in late 19th and early 20th centuries, Aksaray played a key role.
  6. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (the founder of modern Turkey) visited Aksaray several times during his political career; Hacı Bektaş Veli (a prominent Sufi saint) whose tomb is located near Aksaray are notable people associated with this city.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Aksaray Museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods.
  2. Ağzıkarahan Caravanserai served as a resting place for travelers on the Silk Road during the 13th century.
  3. Ihlara Valley is home to several churches carved into the rock by early Christians and is known for its stunning beauty.
  4. Selime Monastery is an ancient monastery carved into a cliff that provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  5. The Sultanhanı Caravanserai dates back to the Seljuk era and was used as a trading post for merchants on their way to Iran and China in history.
  6. Eflatun Pınar is a beautiful natural spring with turquoise waters that was considered sacred in ancient times.
  7. Kızılören Underground City was used as a hiding place by early Christians during times of persecution and is now an intriguing underground city to explore.
  8. Aksaray Castle dates back to the Byzantine era and offers stunning views of the city below from its position atop a hill.
  9. Asikli Hoyuk Archaeological Site provides insight into early human civilization in Anatolia through its important Neolithic settlement remains.
  10. Ali Dede Mosque Complex features intricate tile work and is considered one of Turkey’s most important religious sites due to its beauty and significance in Turkish culture.

Cultural Events

  1. The Aksaray International Carpet and Handicrafts Festival is an annual event that showcases the traditional carpet weaving and handicrafts of the region.
  2. In June, Aksaray hosts the Cherry Festival, which celebrates the cherry harvest with music, dance, and cherry-themed food.
  3. The Aksaray Cappadocia Ultra Trail takes participants through the stunning landscapes of Cappadocia in September.
  4. Every July, folk dance groups from around Turkey and other countries gather to perform traditional dances at the Aksaray International Folk Dance Festival.
  5. Celebrating an ancient Turkish sport, the Aksaray Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Tournament is held annually in July.
  6. The Honey Festival celebrates local honey production with honey tastings, beekeeping demonstrations, and live music performances.
  7. Held at one of Turkey’s most important caravanserais (ancient roadside inns), the Sultanhanı Caravanserai Cultural Festival celebrates the history and culture of trade along the Silk Road.
  8. Every August sees Nevşehir-Aksaray-Konya Traditional Horse Races take place as part of a larger cultural event celebrating traditional Turkish horsemanship.


  • Testi Kebabı: This is a traditional dish of the region which is cooked in a clay pot. The meat, vegetables, and spices are put inside the pot, and then it is sealed with dough before being cooked over a fire.
  • Aşure: It is a dessert made with grains like wheat, chickpeas, beans, rice along with dried fruits like apricots, raisins, and nuts.
  • Tandır Kebabı: This kebab dish has lamb meat that is slow-cooked in an oven called tandır for hours until it becomes tender.
  • Kadınbudu Köfte: These are meatballs made from ground beef or lamb mixed with bulgur wheat and spices.
  • Güvercinlik Restaurant: It serves traditional Turkish dishes like testi kebabı along with other grilled meats and meze plates.
  • İmam Çağdaş Restaurant: It specializes in local dishes like tandır kebabı along with soups, salads and other Turkish delicacies.
  • Şahin Sofrası Restaurant: It offers traditional Turkish breakfast as well as lunch and dinner options including kebabs, pide (Turkish pizza), and meze plates.
  • Şeref Usta Lokantası: It serves home-style cooking including stuffed vegetables (dolma), soups (çorba), and casseroles (güveç).

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Aksaray City Park is a well-liked public park that offers various recreational activities such as walking paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports facilities.
    2. Sultanhanı Caravanserai is an ancient caravanserai that provides an opportunity to explore the history of the region and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.
    3. Ihlara Valley National Park is located just outside of Aksaray and is known for its stunning natural scenery. The national park offers hiking trails, camping sites, and picnic areas.
    4. Salt Lake Tuz Golu near Aksaray is a unique attraction where visitors can walk on the salt flats or take a dip in the mineral-rich waters.
    5. Erciyes Ski Resort isn’t located in Aksaray itself but near Kayseri instead; it provides skiing and snowboarding opportunities during winter months for those seeking more adventurous recreational activities.


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