Kayseri seeks to increase its share in tourism
Ask anyone on the street in Turkey, the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri will be amongst their top 10 tourist destinations in the country. A survey conducted by the Kayseri Municipality has proven this, too. Although it has a reputation for having a witty commercial side, the city wants to put its tourism assets at the forefront. Kayseri combines natural beauty with historical and cultural richness.
“The best product we can offer to the tourism market is Mount Erciyes,” said Mayor Mustafa Çelik. His predecessor, Mustafa Özhaseki, who is currently the Environment and Urban Affairs Minister, had initiated the project to renovate the idyllic ski center into a ski and mountain resort at world standards with an investment worth $200 million.
One of the advantages of the Erciyes ski resort is its proximity to the city center. With more a dozen flights landing at the airport in winter time, skiers can reach the slopes after a 25-minute drive.
Another advantage of Erciyes that differs it from other ski centers in Turkey is that it connects 109-km-long slopes with ski lifts and allows you to go on all the slopes with only one ticket. The fact that it has four entrances to the resort not only lessens the density of crowds but also provides skiers the choice of which side of the resort they want to go to.
Meanwhile, the number of new hotels with direct access to the ski slopes keeps adding up, increasing the accommodation capacity of the resort.
Kayseri and its environs offer several alternatives worth visiting not only during the winter season but all year long.
Known as Caesarea when the Romans ruled it, Kayseri has a long history and a rich cultural heritage.
Located 20 kilometers from the city center, the Kültepe Mound is the most important example of this heritage, with a history dating back 6000 years. Kayseri’s current trading skills date back to the ancient times, as excavations unearthed in Kültepe shows it was an important trading center during the 2nd millennium BC.
Excavations continuing for more than five decades have unearthed important artifacts from the Bronze Age and the Hittite era as well as from Assyrian trading colonies. In Kayseri, home to several civilizations, you can find the imprints of those eras carved on many places across the city, starting from the monumental black-basalt walls of the Kayseri Castle, first constructed under Roman Emperor Gordian III and rebuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian 300 years later. The current edifice though is a work by the 13th-century Seljuk sultan Alaattin Keykubat. Kayseri has been one of the most important centers of the Seljuks.
Mayor pushes to diversify tourism
Kayseri is seeking to increase its share in tourism by highlighting the city’s assets starting from its ski center in the nearby Mount Erciyes, according to Mayor Mustafa Çelik. “Our slogan is: ‘We are the closest ski resort to you,’” Çelik told Hürriyet Daily News, adding:
“Once you’re at the airport, it takes 25 minutes to be in the ski slopes.” Erciyes in Kayseri is genuinely a ski center, he said. “Some ski resorts have a hotel with one gondola lift in the slopes and you can ski 1.5 or 2 kilometers only.
The accommodation centers are dispersed and you get one ticket from one hotel to ski in that area and you need another ticket from the other hotel to ski on the other side of the mountain. But Erciyes A.Ş., a company entirely run by the municipality, allows you to use all the slopes on the mountains with just one ticket. We have a mechanical system connecting an area of 120-kilometer with slopes with different levels of difficulties. We offer guaranteed snow season as we have 154 snow-producing machines.”
There are only three historic grand bazaars still functioning in Turkey and one of them is in Kayseari, the mayor also noted. The Kayseri municipality has invested 200 million euros in a ski resort in the Erciyes mountain area, Hürriyet columnists Yalçın Bayer has said.
Unique delicacies of a city of merchants - Aylin Öney Tan
Today’s Kayseri cuisine exactly reflects the city’s rich heritage, still strong in its wheaten dishes, savory pies and dumplings, and best cured meats and sucuk, spicy sausages.
Kayseri is a city of merchants, and a dip in its cuisine is like taking a journey to the past, a culinary voyage through the history of Anatolia with reflections of all civilizations that have lived and passed from this land of commerce.
When in Kayseri, the difficult question to avoid is: Which pastırma (Pastrami)? The answer could be the ones made by grandmothers, but of course visitors have to rely on the market choices.
A woman entrepreneur, Hülya Tiritoğlu, the daughter of famous pastırma producer Ömer Başyazıcı, has started her own line Çemen’s, stocking a selection of pastırma and sucuk, but also worth checking for a variety of other local foods, frozen mantı, dolma, which is stuffed vine leaves, good sheep’s milk yogurt and many other local delicacies including the bizarre tasting health drink gilaburu, the juice of Viburnum opulus.
Museums tell story of War of Independence, republic
Kayseri hosts a number of museums exhibiting the early days of the Turkish Republic.
The National Struggle Museum in the former Kayseri High School is a special one add it is dedicated to the all 63 senior students of the school went to the front for the Battle of Sakarya in 1921 during the War of Independence but never came back.
The high school later raised important figures, including former Turkish presidents Turgut Özal and Abdullah Gül and current Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. Abdullah Gül University and Abdullah Gül Presidential Museum and Library, which occupy the site of an old Russian-built textile factory from the early 1930s, are impressive, iconic buildings in Kayseri. The museum’s curator Professor Hasan
Bülent Kahraman is also the vice rector of Kadir Has University.
The Kayseri Science Center is perfect for families with children.
Where cultures unite The most prominent monumental buildings in the city center were built during the Danishmend, Seljuk and Ottoman eras.
The 13th-century Hunat Hatun Complex, the first Seljuk complex in Anatolia, the Museum of Seljuk civilization with the first Seljuk school of anatomy, called the Gevher Nesibe Medical History Museum are among the highlights. Home to large Armenian and Greek communities, the municipality wants to revive the city’s remaining churches like Surp Krikor Lusavorich Armenian Church by undertaking the restoration work.