When I first arrived in Niğde, I was second guessing my choice to visit. It’s not a beautiful city by any means. Other than the decent city center, this Cappadocian city is an otherwise dusty and ugly town. However, once I started exploring, I realized it’s been blessed with a few unique sites built by four different civilizations.
I started my exploration at the castle, which was mostly rebuilt by the Selçuks. Inside the castle is one of the two impressive mosques in town, the Alaeddin Camii. It was built in 1223 by Alaeddin I Keykubad. The architecture is amazing and the stonework at the entrance is stunning.
Directly underneath the castle under the Alaeddin Camii is the old Bedesten. It was built by the Ottomans and is used as a bazaar.
Next to the entrance of the Bedesten is the Sungur Bey Camii. It was built by the Mongols in the 14th century during their short rule over the city. The tomb of Sungur Bey is attached to the mosque.
A couple things to look out for are the wooden doors in the entryway, and the ornate carvings in the entryway itself.
Behind the Sungur Bey Camii are the ruins of a church sitting behind a fence. It was built in 1861 and served Niğde’s once large Greek population.
The Ak Medrese was built in 1402 by the Karamanoğlu clan who took over from the Mongols. This former religious school has the finest stone carved entrance of all the buildings in Niğde. It once served as the city museum but it has now moved to a larger and more modern building. The museum, which was closed during my visit, features a mummified 10th century Byzantine nun and some mummified children.
Nearby is a Mongol structure of lesser importance. The Saruhan was built in 1357 and was a caravanserai for travelers along the Silk Road.
Finally, there are some magnificent Selçuk tombs that have are situated in a small park. The most interesting and decorated of the two is the Hüdavend Hatun Türbesi, built in 1312 for a Selçuk princess who was the daughter of Kılıç Arslan IV.
The other is the Gündoğdu Türbesi, built in 1334.
I didn’t eat or stay overnight in Niğde, so I have no advice to give on those matters. All I can tell you is that there are two bus terminals. The larger bus terminal, Niğde Otogarı, is on the outskirts of town and serves major routes, such as Istanbul, Kayseri, and Konya. It’s accessible by a small city bus that winds in and out of the grid of streets between the old town and the highway. The other bus terminal serves suburbs and small towns nearby. I used it to get to Eski Gümüşler, a cave monastery that was discovered in 1963.