Avanos places to visit

Clay Ateliers

As if the famous saying “Even a blind knows the way of Avanos, it is evident by clay and pot fractures on the ground” is a nice summary of how the pottery in Avanos is deep-rooted. If there is one thing comes to mind first when one says Avanos, is the clay ateliers that is called ‘ganakhane’ (pot house) by local people. Most of the pottery ateliers are working in humble rock-carved places outside of the town center. Each atelier has a few of workbench which is called ‘giknk -spinning wheel’ run by foot to rotate. These are slightly developed versions of potter’s wheel used by ancient Anatolian civilizations as well. Quality clay derived from Kizilirmak river bank take shape in hands of pottery masters at these workbenches. Today, many of the clay ateliers in Avanos wore a touristic identity. You can also try to make a pot by visiting such a center organizes shows hands on pottery production shows for tourist groups in Avanos. Do not worry if the pot you would make looks like nothing. Be sure that you can easily find varieties of quality and beautiful clay pots every time in Avanos.

Alaaddin Mosque

It is in the center of Avanos, and constructed by Seljuks in the beginning of the 13th century. The mosque had renovations and restorations in 1887, 1948, and 1956. It is possible to say that it has substantially lost original characteristics.

Dereyamanh Church

The church is one of the oldest churches in Cappadocia region. It is located 1 km west of the town center. There are several crosses built as relief on the walls of the square structure. Malta, Latin, and Greek crosses are eye catching among others. The church that carries the characteristics of initial Christian culture has a built style called pre-Byzantium ‘Syrian style’. The dome of the church had never been completed. The church dated back in between the end of 4th century and 6th century, is opened to visits of religious groups’ prays in special days.

Saruhan Caravanserai

The caravanserai at 5 km southeast of Avanos was constructed in 1249 during Seljuk period by Sultan Izzettin Keykavus II. The caravanserai situated on the historical Silk Road got the name ‘Saruhan’ because of the color of the stone used its construction. The stone workmanship of the entrance gate is perfect. There are several rooms around the open-top large courtyard starting with the entrance door. The rooms at the right side are for winter use, and those at the left side are for summer use. There is a small mosque just above the entrance at the up storey reached by staircase. Top of the second part of the caravanserai is closed, and functioned as a barn of the caravanserai. Saruhan caravanserai was restored in 1991. Today, it is run by a private enterprise as a culture and show center. The khan is open to visit, and sema shows (whirling dance of Mevlevi dervishes) are organised each Friday nights.

Roman Sarcophagus

The Roman Sarcophagus that was unveiled in Kizilyar area on the way to Saruhan Caravanserai at southeast of Avanos in 1971, is made of marble. It is important as it is the only sarcophagus found in the region. Bones of a skeleton of a woman in 25 – 30 years old were found inside the sarcophagus that was dated back to years of BC 200. The woman had hennaed hairs. Art works and Medusa heads on’the sarcophagus exhibited at Nevsehir Museum are eye catching.

Ceq Tumulus

There are several tumuli in Nevsehir and Cappadocia region as well. We do not know much about these tumuli as there have not been excavations for most of them. The only thing that is known is that they do not belong to single civilizations. As the Ceg Tumulus was built on top of a mountain, and made of broken stone pieces makes it resembles to tumuli belong to the Kommagene Kingdom. From this point of departure you can estimate that they were built approximately simultaneously. But, there is no definite determination on this idea. French researchers Claudine Coindoz and Michel Coindoz think that the Ceq Tumulus might had been a tomb of a Cappadocian king which is a reasonable approach. On the other hand, some other researchers claim that the structure might be a cult place instead of a tomb, depends on the remains showing the once-existent stairs reaching to the top of the tumulus. The tumulus possibly be used for both purposes. It is known that such places were used as cult places in Anatolia particularly by the effect of Persians, during a period that fire adorers grew up.

Zank Hoyiik

It is located on 1250 m high altitude and 4km north of Sanlar borough of Avanos district of Nevsehir. The mound is nearly 30 m high and 300 m wide. It has been introduced to the science world by D.H. French and the excavation still continues under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Hiiseyin Sever from Ankara University Language, History and Geography Faculty. The excavation started in 1991, went on till 1992 and because of lack of allocation it stopped for four years and after 1996 it started again. The pieces from Old Bronze Age, Assyrian Trade Collonies Period as well as ceramics from Hittites and works of art from Roman and Hellenistic period have been found during the excavation.

Topakh Tumulus

It is located in Topakh town, north of Avanos district. As it used to be situated on the main trade road from Kayseri to the west it had hosted different settlements in different periods. It is one of the biggest tumuli of the Middle Anatolia with its size of 30 m height and 260 m diameter. The tumulus was excavated by an Italian archaeology team lead by P. Meriggi between 1966 and 1976, then by L. Palocco. During these excavations several construction layers diversified from Early Bronze Age to Byzantium period were unveiled. The foundlings of the tumulus are exhibited at Nevsehir Museum.

Belha Monastery

It is located at the front of a hill facing a stream at southeast of Ozkonak town of Avanos district. The monastery is a group of buildings. Today, the front is completely collapsed, rooms and columns are demolished. It has been thought that the Belha Monastery might be an important temple belongs to pre-Christianity Zeus cult. French archaeologist Nicole Thierry dates the monastery back to 6th century regarding the structural characteristic of it. During the Byzantium period it was turned to a church.