I started exploring Afyon in the city center at Zafer Meydanı (Victory Square). Among the backdrop of a giant rock in the center of the city is the Zafer Anıtı, a very creepy monument of an Incredible Hulk-like Turkish soldier attacking an invader during the Turkish War of Independence. As disturbing as it is, it’s quite an impressive piece of art.
Across from Zafer Meydanı is the Zafer Müzesi, a museum dedicated to the Turkish victory in the War of Independence at nearby Dumlupınar. It’s housed in the old Hükümet Konağı (Government House) and has some interesting artifacts and photos from the war and the Greek occupation of Afyon. It was in this museum where I encountered my first of many grumpy Afyonlu. I smiled and said “merhaba” to the front desk attendant and he looked at me and turned around as if I wasn’t there.
From there, I got curious and walked down the nearest big intersection at Ordu Bulvarı for a couple blocks. There was some interesting architecture including the Afyon Lisesi, which was founded in 1894; the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi; and a cool building with marble statues on the corner of each level.
Along the same road as the Zafer Müzesi is the Gedik Ahmet Paşa Külliyesi, a beautiful mosque complex built in 1472. Gedik Ahmet Paşa was an Ottoman Grand Vizier. The mosque, İmaret Camii, has some beautiful stained glass windows and is worth a look inside. Click here for a virtual tour.
Also on the grounds of the complex is the İmaret Hamamı (a Turkish bath that’s still in operation), the Kadınana Çeşmesi (a fountain), and Taş Medrese (a former religious school).
I backtracked a bit and headed towards the historic part of Afyon. I had to walk along a road that has three names – Otpazar Cd., Köprübaşı Cd., and Zaviye Türbe Cd. I passed a couple nice squares along the way and through the market district. The most historic market I noticed was the Bedesten, built in 1914.
On the edge of the old town is the Mevlana Aile Çay Bahçesi, which is a small park that’s used as a tea garden in warmer weather. In the center is a fountain with a whirling dervish on the top.