THE PRIVILEGED CITY OF ANATOLIA: ESKİŞEHİR

INTRODUCING A CIVILIZED CITY OF THE 21ST CENTURY THAT IS A BIT NATURAL, A BIT MANMADE, ORGANIZED, AND LIVELY…

The Eskişehir miniatures dating from the 16th century made by the famous miniature artist of the Ottoman Empire Matrakçı Nasuh may not reflect this well; however, the life in the city is worth experiencing and you feel this the moment you take your first step into the city. You face with a civilized city of the 21st century that is a bit natural, a bit manmade, organized, and lively. The streets are filled with self-confident young people because this is a university town.

Rebirth of the city
The banks of the Porsuk River that divides Eskişehir for 12 km from one end to the other are the place where the locals go right before the sunset. The jogging area that is known as Yalaman Island or Porsuk Boulevard is like the symbol of survival of the Porsuk River from becoming a loamy field and the rebirth of Eskişehir. The cute bridges over the Porsuk River, cafes on the banks, and excursion boats that carry passengers… Seeing this side of Eskişehir might confuse you. You need to go to Hamamyolu to see another face of the city. This place is called Hot Waters by the locals because of the thermal under the marketplace. There is a sign at the entrance of the Historical Bahçeli Şengül Hammam: Take back what life has taken away from you with the healing waters of the Bahçeli Hammam. Small shops, stands, shoeshine parlors are also located around this area.

Life tourism
The town center of Eskişehir may not be the first place that comes to mind of a tourist who is crazy for history. However, the modern life in the city presents pleasant features for visitors from any age. Many interesting museums to see are located at the town center. In addition, Eskişehir is also tempting with the old marketplace that is now the Youth Center of Marketplaces, silos of the Agricultural Products Office that is turned into a hotel, the old slaughterhouse that is now renovated, landscaping, maneges that are suitable for horse riding, the first manmade beach of Turkey Kentpark that is established in this city that doesn’t have a sea shore, a mini excursion train, the Ship Museum, the Fairytale Castle, the largest Japanese Garden in Turkey, the Center of Scientific Experiments, the Science Culture Arts Park where the Sabancı Space House is located, and the Yılmaz Büyükerşen Wax Museum.

The cleanest air
Over the southern hills of the city, the colorful wood engraved houses with bay windows in Odunpazarı, which is where the city was established at first, are worth seeing. There is a myth about the establishment of the Odunpazarı district, which is taken under protection as a Historical and Urban Archeological Site: those who came to the city first to settle placed sheep lungs on three posts and erected one each where Şarhöyük, Porsuk, and Kurşunlu Mosque are located today. The lungs that were placed in Şarhöyük and Porsuk were spoiled immediately. The lungs that were placed near the Kurşunlu Mosque remained fresh. Therefore, they decided the purest air was there, and they settled there. Matrakçı Nasuh had drawn the Kurşunlu Mosque and its Social Complex (1525) as the most magnificent structure of the city in his Eskişehir miniature during the Iraq campaign of Kanuni in 1536.

Nostalgic stay
Most of the colorful houses located at Odunpazarı’s narrow dead end streets have gardens, haremlik and selamlik sections. If you are invited to an Odunpazarı house with divans in front of its windows, cabinets that are stunning examples of woodwork, beautiful ceilings and pencil work, do not turn this opportunity down. Atatürk High School that is a reflection of the First National Architecture Period, former Odunpazarı Military Branch that is the Historical Republic Museum today, and Mal Hatun Primary School are among the remarkable public buildings of Odunpazarı. Try the poppy seed bread and simit that are baked in the oak wood ovens in Odunpazarı. For those who want to stay in an atmosphere that evokes the history of the city, there are boutique hotels as well.

White gold
Eskişehir is rich in the aspects of the number of museums. Each piece is a work of art in the Meerschaum Museum. Meerschaum is quarried in an area surrounding the city center for 35-40 km. Meerschaum used to be placed in chests and sent to Vienna by cars from 1952 to 1963 as raw material. Meerschaum carving is believed to come from there to Turkey because sculpture was advanced in Vienna then. Today, processed meerschaum is an important export material. In the past, the quarries went down to 300 meters. The labors used to work in long underground galleries, but now the quarries go up to 35-40 meters deep. Fathers work with sons; uncles work with nephews. It is possible to remove only enough stone daily to make ten pipes. Although, meerschaum is not popular as it used to in the old days, it is still important to give its name to a village: the White Gold Village.

City of railways
Istanbul-Baghdad rail line used to pass through Eskişehir in1894. Steam Locomotive Maintenance and Repair Workshop was founded the same year. Having been built in Eskişehir, the first steam locomotive of Turkey Karakurt that began carrying passengers in 1960 is already retired. TCDD Railway Museum is one of the attractions worth seeing in the city of railways, Eskisehir. In the museum, tools and instruments that were used in railway transport, dating from the Ottoman Empire, are exhibited within the chronicle order of the railways’ history; there are numerous railroad items such as wood stoves dating from 1908, portable washbasin for sleepers, copies of the imperial edicts on the railways, costumes, the model of the world’s first steam locomotive. In addition, the Revolution Car can be seen at Tülomsaş. The Aviation Park, which displays civil and military aircrafts, the Museum of the Republic History and Archeology Museum are important museums.

8 meter long symbolic coffin
Eskişehir’s most striking historical building is an impressive work of Seljuk and Ottoman. It is the Seyyid Battal Gazi Complex in Seyitgazi, which is in 41 km distance. The district was named after the martyrdom of Seyyid Battal Gazi, a hero of Islam, in 740s A.D. during the raids organized in the region by Arabs. Seyyid Battal Gazi, who lived in the end of the 7th century and the first half of the 8th century, is an Anatolian folk hero and a warrior. Seyyid Battal Gazi lies in a tomb that is located in the Seyyid Battal Gazi Complex, which was built on behalf of him in the Three Hill. You might be surprised when you enter the shrine in the mosque, if you do not know the belief among the people that Battal Gazi was 2 meters 30 cm tall. Eight meters long symbolic coffin of Battal Gazi, who was considered to be from Malatya, burly, and well-proportioned. King’s daughter, wife of Battal Gazi, Elenora’s tomb is here. The shrine on the right in the entrance belongs to the Shepherd Father who is considered as the person who found the grave.

TASTE STOP
Try the traditional flavors of Eskişehir such as çibörek, poppy seed bread, simit baked in the oak wood oven, and Met halvah.

DO NOT MISS
See the Midas Memorial, and the villages that are intertwined with tombs, castles, and cupolas in the mysterious region of Eskişehir, Yazılıkaya Frig Valley.