Eskişehir; young at heart
Contrary to its name, meaning Old City, Eskişehir is young in fact! Known to be a student city, the city is home to two major local universities attracting youth with more than 50,000 students who contribute hugely to the social and cultural dynamism of the city. The city hosts many cultural and artistic events every year. The Eskişehir Festival showcases hundreds of performers and a wide range of theatre performances and concerts.
Western influences thanks to settlements from Crimea and the Balkans are first and foremost reflected in the local mindset, but also in city’s cuisine, culture, and cultivated traditions. Thanks to its mayor Yılmaz Büyükerşen, Eskişehir brings to mind European towns with inspiration for its development.'''
The placid Porsuk River running through the city and banks on each side of it make Eskişehir ideal for cycling. Gondolas that offer rides along the river is an ideal way to to explore the city from a different perspective.
Eskişehir is famous for its variety of parks, pick one to visit. Kent Park is the place to be for a lovely day of relaxing and playing with the entire family. The municipal park of Eskisehir has a river, the first man-made beach of Turkey and two swimming pools. Sazova Science Arts and Culture Park is an amusement park to visit no matter what your age is. It consists of a zoo, planetarium, Japanase garden and science complexes. Pirate Ship and Dream Chateau will remind you of the European lookalikes. A must if you are travelling with kids. You can also visit the Wax Museum to get up close with famous personalities of Turkey.
Eskişehir’s oldest neighborhood and first Turkish district, Odunpazarı, is where many local artisans work and reside. Its name derives from the firewood bazaar once held here. The city’s most picturesque quarter features Ottoman and Seljuk structures and is a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets surrounded by the colorful houses from two centuries ago, and has turned into a hub of handmade creativity. Famous for its traditional wooden Ottoman houses, Odunpazarı is full of mall streets lined with colorful houses that give the place an old-world charm which can only be experienced by exploring its nooks and crannies.
Don't miss the Odunpazarı Modern Museum that is that opened in September 2019 and designed by the world acclaimed Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Associates.
Kurşunlu Mosque Complex includes a mosque, şadırvan (fountain for ritual ablutions), public soup kitchen, primary school, madrasah, rest home and two caravansaries – all of which date back to the 16th century. Located in the rest home is Eskişehir Meerschaum Museum. The soft stone sepiolite is extracted locally in Eskişehir, which produces the most in the world, and makes excellent material for decorative objects, accessories such as rings and bracelets, and high-quality meerschaum tobacco pipes. You can visit the museum and shop for a variety in Atlıhan Handicrafts Bazaar.
Eskişehir had become the site of Turkey’s first aviation industry, as well as an aeronautical supply maintenance center on NATO’s southern flank during the Cold War. You can visit the open-air Aviation Museum for various civilian and military aircraft.
The two must-try local foods include çiğbörek—a deep-fried, crisp pastry with meat filling popularized by the local Crimean Tatars (to be tasted at, Kırım Tatar Çibörek Evi) —and Balaban kebab, which might bring to mind another Turkish staple dish, the almighty İskender Kebab.
This is what makes a one day itinerary but I believe a weekend would have been a better choice to visit Eskişehir. In that case, you have more time to explore the following.
The first civilisation that left significant marks on Eskişehir is the Phrygians, who inhabited this region during the 9th century BC. The most significant traces of them can be found in Yazılıkaya, the Phrygians' religious center where many monuments and tombs (including the Tomb of King Midas) can be seen. Excavated by the French Archaeological Institute immediately after the Second World War, the place is located 66 kilometres south of Eskişehir. Give 2 hours to explore the whole excavated site.
Besides Akşehir in Konya, Sivrihisar, a significant settlement during the Roman and Byzantine periods, is also believed to be the birthplace of Nasreddin Hodja, a world-famous philosopher.
Mihalıççık where Yunus Emre, the pioneer of Turkish poetry, a minstrel and philosopher was born, is home to Yunus Emre Social Complex.
The county of Seyitgazi is well-known for the tomb of Seyyid Battal Gazi, a saintly figure and warrior.
The city is noted for its natural hot sulphur springs. Why not enjoy a thermal bath?
Watch out for a variety of statues around you 🙂
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