Eskisehir Travel Guide

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Eskisehir is one of the oldest settlements (3500 BC) in this region of Anatolia. It was founded in the 1st millennium BC by the Phrygians. The Porsuk River and its banks have been a proper foundation place. The city is of interest with its museums; the Archaeological Museum which houses the Phrygian objects and sculptures; the Ottoman House Museum which is a very fine example of the 19th century domestic architecture and has the local ethnographical items.


There are three significant tombs around Eskisehir. These are Sheik Edibali Tomb, The Kumbet Baba Tomb, and The Cupola of Alemsah. Phrygian Valley, The Falcon Fortress, The Unfinished Monument, and the Gerdek Rock are other historical sites to visit. In Eskisehir you will frequently see items made of meerschaum stone since this is the place where it originates. You will see the best meerschaum stone works at the Meerschaum Museum; it is a very light white stone and mostly used to make smoking pipes. The Rug and Seyitgazi Museums have many samples of different kinds of kilims and hand-knit socks and stockings.

MEERSCHAUM STONE (LULETASI)

The major local art in Eskisehir is Meerschaum, called as "white gold" or "aktas" or "patal" by locals. Working with meerschaum is a handicraft and special to this province.

Meerschaum may have white, yellowish, gray or reddish and mat colors. Its hardness degree is between 2-2.5, and it is lightly adhesive and porous. It is extracted from 20-60-130 meters depth of the ground as big and small rounds. Small rounds are collected by digging deep wells and tunnels connected to these wells.

Some wells are watery, some wells are dry. Stones of watery wells are much better. Meerschaum is produced in different places like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Mexico, Madrid, and Nairobi; however, they are unimportant in quantity and low in quality. Meerschaum with the highest quality is found in Eskisehir. The property that while drying it keeps the remains of moisture and gases in its body, makes Meerschaum a suitable material for making tobacco pipes as well as a good filling material for absorbent, filter or isolation in industry. It became an indispensable material in industry for years. It is used in making cigarette-holder, tobacco pipe and decorative goods and in automobile paint industry. It is added to porcelain paste, insecticides, powder and stain removing medicines.

There are three geological periods in its formation:
First Order : It is an ore in sandy-clay soil at 10-14 meters depth.

Second Order : It forms between 40-60 meters depth. It is an ore existing in clay.
Third Order : Meerschaum with the highest quality forms in Conglomerate series and it exists in 80-130 meters depth fitting with the topography. Other kinds of meerschaum are: cotton-piece, granular cast, unit unity and puny.

The places where Meerschaum extracted from are: Sarisu, Yenisehir, Türkmentokat, Gökçeoglu, Karaçay, Sögütçük, Sepetçi, Margi, Nemli, Kümbet, Yeniköy, Kepertepe, Karahöyük and Basören.

Export of Meerschaum has brought 800-900 US dollars income between years 1978-1987. In addition to tobacco pipes, products like chess sets, bracelets, necklaces and earrings have an important ratio in export. Foreign customers are USA, Austria, Holland, Belgium and Germany. Nowadays, the amount of export is at least USD 1-1.5 million a year. Furthermore, some value is added to Turkish economy by selling handworks made by Meerschaum to tourists visiting Turkey.

GORDION (YASSIHOYUK)

Yassihoyuk (Gordion)-capital of Phrygia. Those with an interest in the history of the region will find a visit to Yassihoyuk (Gordion) (105 km), past Polatli on the Eskisehir highway, and Gavurkalesi (60 km/, on the Haymana Highway near to Derekoy, interesting and easily made. Gordion, a Phrygian capital, site of the Gordion Knot (the key to Asia), is today of interest for the tumulus of King Midas, of the Golden Touch and the asses ears. The remains of the old city, still being excavated can be seen; and there is a small, pleasant museum. At Gavurkalesi, there can be seen the remains of an open-air Hittite temple, a tomb, and two reliefs of Hittite gods.

The 1993 season at Gordion--the site of the former capital of the Phrygian empire and the home of the legendary King Midas of the "golden touch"--involved many activities, including excavation; conservation, restoration, and site presentation on the City Mound; architectural and conservational study of the wooden tomb under the Midas Mound; geomorphological survey; geological and botanical survey; research on previously excavated materials; object conservation at Gordion; and conservation and study of wooden objects in Ankara.

MIDAS

One of the most important settlement centers of the Phrygians, between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, was Midas, situated 66 kms south of Eskisehir.

At this place of distant past, stands the ancient city with an acropolis overlooking the lower land. On its northwestern side are two open-air cult temples, carved into the rock, and the most interesting sight in the area.

There are rock tombs and Phrygian inscriptions nearby, and a recently discovered underground tunnel which links the site to the valley extending below. The Midas Monument which was built in dedication to Cybele lies to the northwest of the ancient city.

Three tombs in the environs of Midas which are found at Kucuk Yazilikaya, Sutunlu Kale and Doganli Kale are especially remarkable. Kumbet and Deveboynu are other towns close to Midas, and visitors can enjoy the Phrygian monuments spread over these neighboring lands.

Of four areas of the site investigated through excavation, the most important immediate discoveries were found in the courtyard of the Early Phrygian Citadel, at the eastern part of the City Mound. Here a second part of a structure first exposed in 1989 excavations and nicknamed the PAP ("Poros and Post") structure, and an adjacent courtyard, were excavated. The PAP structure was built near or perhaps up against the earliest Phrygian fortification wall excavated by Rodney Young in the 1960s. Although the date of the structure, which appears to have had a relatively elaborate superstructure, and its demolition remain uncertain, it precedes the eighth century citadel, and its construction may have extended into the ninth century B.C.

Dr. Richard Liebhart continued his documentation and architectural study of the great wooden tomb. With the aid of a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, a conference on the preservation of the tomb and wooden furniture from Gordion was organized by Dr. Elizabeth Simpson and Dr. Liebhart, and held in Ankara and at Gordion.

The major conservation project undertaken in 1993, supervised by William C.S. Remsen, AIA, Director of Architectural Conservation for Gordion, was the partial rebuilding and mortar capping of two adjacent walls belonging to an early Phrygian terrace building. The project was a pilot program to determine the techniques, materials and systems that should be used in future conservation at the site. Mr. Remsen and his firm, RAD Associates of Boston, donated his time to the project.

PESSINUS (BALLIHISAR)

117 kms from Ankara, on the Eskisehir road and 16 kms to the right you will find the Phrygian city Pessinus, its contemporary name is Ballihisar.

There you will see the Temple of Cybele - the mother goddess, and an open-air museum housing interesting sculptures found in this ancient Phrygian cult center, which was built in the 10th century BC.

Contributors

February 21, 2005 change by hpharmsen

April 26, 2006 change by giorgio

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