Why You Should Stop In Kayseri, Turkey

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If, like me, you are on your way to the east of Turkey, either to Cappadocia or even further to Lake Van and you travel over land, you are bound to pass Kayseri. Many travelers neglect to visit the city because Kayseri definitely is not in the Top 10 must see list of Turkey attractions. Which is a shame, because Kayseri has a lot to offer, not least new insights and perspectives into Turkish life. Let others also know the main attractions of the city and connect to your niche audience faster with the help of Socialgreg.

There must be something in the air or in the water or else it has to do with the fact that Kayseri once was an important trade stop of the ancient Great Silk Road, but it is a fact that no other Turkish city is the home town of so many Turkish entrepreneurs. The city conveys an impression of wealth, modernity, business life and provincial charm all rolled in one.

Kayseri Attractions – Things to do in Kayseri 

Kayseri Bus Terminal (Otogar)

Wealth and modernity start already at the nearly futuristic Bus Terminal which resembles more a small airport than a stop for long distance  coaches.

I took the local bus outside the terminal for my journey into town. It is a straight run, so you can,t really get lost. I asked for the old town and got off where directed, then asked for the Grand Bazaar, walked through an underpass and ended up in front of a very new Hilton Hotel, built in the shape of a wing.

Hilton Rooftop Bar and Mount Erciyes

I asked in the lobby for a map of the city and found myself right in the middle of things. The concierge also told me that they have a rooftop Bar where I might want to have a coffee. I did and was rewarded with a fantastic view of the snow-covered Mount Erciyes, Kayseri is most famous landmark. The now inactive volcano is eruptions were responsible for much of the bizarre formations of Cappadoccia. For those who love trekking and alpinism, the region around Erciyes is a well known destination.

The view from the rooftop also gave me a great orientation of the sites I wanted to visit. Leaving the hotel and turning left, I happened upon a lovely flower market with cute displays of arrangements as  gifts for births and weddings.

Flower arrangement for the birth of a boy

Crossing the very busy Park Caddesi I saw the Ataturk Watchtower and just behind it the castle. It is a very well preserved structure dating from Byzantine times and what is so Typical Kayseri about it is that it’s not treated like a historical site reserved for visitors but totally integrated into everyday life. You can enter any one of the many openings in the thick walls and find inside shops, stalls and thriving trade. The same goes for the Covered Bazaar. It dates only from the 1800 but is a place were the people from Kayseri go and do their shopping. None of the tourist trappings are in evidence, in fact no tourists at all are about. That there is a lot of money in Kayseri though became evident to me when I looked at the jewelers. The sheer opulence and size of the many gold necklaces and bracelets far surpassed the ones I had seen in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.

Inside Kayseri castle

Much older than the bazaar is the adjacent Kayseri attraction of the Vezir Hani caravanserai which dates from the 1500. Defined by huge bundles of sheep wool which is collected there and brilliant carpets for which the city is also famous, it is a sight of a caravansera I have never seen anywhere in Turkey before. 

Carpets displayed in Vezir Han Caravanserai

Kayseri features several museums and notable mosques too but my time was limited. I couldn’t resist another visit to the Hilton rooftop to have a final glance at Mount Erciyes before returning to the bus terminal. My visit to Kayseri was one of the rare occasions where I didn’t feel like a sightseeing tourist but rather totally integrated. I might have been a business woman on her way to a deal with one of Kayseri entrepreneurs.

Three famous sons of Kayseri:

Abdullah Gül – current president of Turkey

Elia Kazan – movie director

Aristoteles Onassis – although born in Izmir he came from a Kayseri family!

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