Nigde, Turkey

Lying on a plateau embellished by volcanic peaks is this city of the Central Anatolian Region which was called "Nahita" during the Hittite period. Since its founding, it has been a commercial center, standing on the ancient trade route between Anatolia and the Mediterranean.

Much later, the land was taken over by the Seljuks, who filled the city with many works, representing the exquisite Seljuk artistic and architectural styles. One of the important remains from those years is the Alaeddin Mosque, which is truly the most beautiful monument in Nigde with its wonderful stonework over the ornate portal. From an inscription found here, this elegant building is understood to have been constructed in 1203, and was later restored during the reign of Alaeddin Keykubat. The citadel in the area is the same, owing its current condition to the Seljuks and constitutes another interesting sight with a clock tower inside.

Other historical remains in this district are the Sungur Bey Mosque and tomb, which belong to the 14th century with Mongol rule prevailing; and the Hudavend Hatun Mausoleum built in 1312. The 15th century Ak Medresse constructed by the Karamanli Turks is still another, and has been converted to an archaeological museum displaying the finds from the area.

Besides the city, the towns of the province of Nigde also contain many remarkable ruins from these early periods.

Aladaglar, 70 kms north, and Bolkarlar, 75 kms south, are mountaineering, trekking and winter sports centers. "Kardelen Flower" is the special flower which survives and blossoms, penetrating the snow in the winter.

Bor, 14 kms south of Nigde, was a residential center of the Hittites, and possesses signs from those ancient times, along with monuments from more recent ages, such as the old Ottoman "bedesten".

5 kms south of Bor is Kemerhisar which was an early site of the Roman city of Tyana. Together with the aqueducts used by the Romans, some Hittite ruins can be found in the environs of this town.

Gumusler is another place of historical importance, 9 km along the Nigde-Kayseri road. A Byzantine monastery and church are still standing, dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. High columns and walls covered with frescoes are featured in the rock monastery and these well-preserved buildings are appropriate sites for sightseers.