Kırşehir

When I told my students in Istanbul I was visiting Kırşehir, I got funny looks and lots of “whys”. They had a point. Kırşehir is a mostly uninteresting city on the outskirts of northwest Cappadocia.

Know to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines as Mokissos (Μωκησσός), the city was conquered by the Selçuks in 1071. Aside from a couple Selçuk era mosques, there’s not much to see in Kırşehir.

The Cacabey Camii is a Selçuk mosque and theological school built in 1272. It sits right in the center of town in a small park. It’s a true architectural beauty, from its striped entrance to the rocket-like figures on the side.

Park in Kırşehir, Turkey

Park

Cacabey Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Cacabey Camii

Cacabey Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Cacabey Camii

Cacabey Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Cacabey Camii

To truly appreciate the mosque, you must enter and look up to the domed skylight which allows for soft natural light to enter.

Cacabey Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Cacabey Camii

Cacabey Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Cacabey Camii

The other mosque, Ahi Evran Camii, was built in the 13th century. It’s an important pilgrimage site for the mystic Ahi brotherhood of Islam. They were mostly craftsmen and merchants.

Ahi Evran Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Ahi Evran Camii

Ahi Evran Camii in Kırşehir, Turkey

Ahi Evran Camii

The Ahi Evran Camii holds the tomb of its founder, Ahi Evran (1171-1262), while a statue of him sits opposite the mosque.

Ahi Evran Türbesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

Ahi Evran Türbesi

Ahi Evran monument in Kırşehir, Turkey

Ahi Evran monument

The small hill in the center of town is Kırşehir Kalesi (castle). After climbing up the stone steps, there’s not much to see on top other than a small mosque (Kale Camii) and a high school. I did, however, get to see an active archaeological dig during my visit.

Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

Kırşehir Kalesi

Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

Kırşehir Kalesi

Kale Camii on Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

Kale Camii

Archaeological dig on Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

Archaeological dig

From the castle, there are some good views of the city center, although they’re often a bit obstructed by the trees.

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi in Kırşehir, Turkey

The view from Kırşehir Kalesi

Kırşehir also has an ethnography and archaeology museum. I visited on a Monday which happened to be the only day it’s closed.

To get to Kırşehir, I took a bus from Kayseri which dropped me off in the center of town. The Kırşehir Otogarı (bus terminal) is on the outskirts of town. I never saw it. To get out of town, I found a local dolmuş office with service to Hacıbektaş. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly where the office is but it was in the vicinity of the Cacabey Camii.

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