Kayseri, Turkey

The history of Kayseri: a gem in Turkey’s history and culture

Kayseri Province and region have always been an important center of culture and trade for the Anatolian Civilization throughout the centuries. The city is situated on a plain between the ample curves of the Kızılırmak River and the wide skirts of Mount Erciyes.

Today, it is a modern, well-organized industrial city set in beautiful surroundings, with rich history and tourist sites. Industrial enterprises, which began as small workshops, became modern factories quickly. New educational centers like Erciyes University and recent town planning activities added much to its touristic and commercial value.

Being a settlement, which carries the cultural inheritance of the ages, Kayseri also has various handicrafts, primarily consisting of carpet weaving, copperware, ‘kilim’ weaving, leather treatment, and leather ware.

Beautiful surroundings, snow-capped Mt. Erciyes, handicrafts, and its ancient name, Kanesh, have all made Kayseri a vital tourist center. 

The three main foods of Kayseri are sausage, pastrami, and spices.

History of Kayseri

The historical background of the region goes back to the early Hittite Period. The mound of Kültepe was inhabited from the Chalcolithic age to the end of The Roman Period. The Early Hittite Period in Kültepe comprised two settlements: Kanesh, the capital of the Kingdom of Kanesh, and Karum, which Assyrian merchants established as a bazaar. The commercial importance of the region began during this period and has developed and survived to the present day.

Different cultures have ruled the area throughout the centuries. However, the date of the first settlement is unknown. Mazaka, 22 km from  Kültepe, gained importance when the area was under Phyrigian rule. It is considered to be the origin of today’s Kayseri. 

Mazaka was the capital of Cappadocia when Persians ruled the region; the Iranian culture influenced the area and dominated it over the centuries. Persian domination was defeated by Macedonia when Alexander the Great died.

The Cappadocia Kingdom gained its freedom during the period when Ariarathes III was ruling the area. The name Mazaka was then changed to EUSEBEIA.

Cappadocia became a Roman province in the first century. During the partition of the Roman Empire, the city came under Roman rule first, then under Byzantine Empire. Later on, the city became an important center for Christianity. In the middle of the 6th century, A.D. Kayseri was occupied by Shah Sapur, the Persian Sasani King.

Arab hordes continuously attacked the town between the 7th and 9th centuries. The city was called Kayseriye by the Arabs. Following the Malazgirt victory in 1071, Izzettin Kılıçarslan II added Kayseri to the Turkish territories. In 1075, for a short period, it was ruled by Danishments.

In 1923, Kayseri became the province of the Republic of Turkey and officially became Kayseri. Today, modern Kayseri is situated in the area 2 km north of Mazaka, the original settlement called Eskişehir (old town) or Eski Kayseri (old Kayseri).

Now Kayseri is one of the model cities in Anatolia, with its organized large streets and city plan. Each season in Kayseri is different, with snow or green lust.

Kayseri has a Citadel. It extends 800 meters from north to south and 200 meters from east to west in an irregular shape. The Citadel has two main gates, the north and south gates, and stone statues are placed on the walls on each side. They are typical examples of Seljuk sculptures.

To the northwest of the Citadel is a mosque attached to the city walls, characteristic of Ottoman architecture.

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