Eskişehir (pronounced Ess-KEE-shay-hear) is a city in Western Anatolia, 228 km west of Ankara. In 2021 it had a population of 898,369, with almost as many again in the wider metropolis. Its name means "old town" but the old quarter is compact; most of it is a new town with a buzzing student population, astride transport routes between Istanbul, Ankara and the Mediterranean coast.

Understand edit

Odunpazarı is the old town

Somewhere beneath these streets is Doryleaum, the city founded by the Phrygians when they abandoned Karachisar their stronghold further south. They emerged as a civilisation around 1200 BC and disappeared in the 7th century AD, assimilated into the Byzantines. Their heartland was the region to the south called the Phrygian Valley and the museums hold many of their artefacts, but little of their buildings or monuments survive. Conquering armies, earthquakes and plundering of masonry have taken their toll but ultimately a more destructive force here and elsewhere in Turkey has been Devrim, now in turn a museum piece. That was the name of Turkey's first home-produced car, hand-crafted in Eskişehir: it flopped as a model, as did the project to make the country self-sufficient in vehicles, but mass automobile ownership and manufacture certainly took off from 1960. Devrim also aptly means the future, one in which boulevards were carved through ramshackle Ottoman town centres, and modern industry supplanted traditional trades.

In Eskişehir development spared much of Odunpazarı, the compact old town surrounding Kurşunlu Mosque. New town is focused 2 km north on Köprübaşı, the main bridge crossing the Porsuk River via a small island. Boulevards of honking traffic radiate north from the bridge to the railway station (on the Istanbul-Ankara high speed line), business districts and airport. The lively riverside strip is called Adalar, "islands" though there's only one. Southeast from Adalar is Hamamyolu, a pedestrianised street with a broad leafy strip in the middle. Many buildings in these central areas are retro-Ottoman rather than the original.

For Eskişehir the future now means a knowledge economy not metal-bashing, and there are three large universities: Anadolu, ETI and Osmangazi. These total some 90,000 students, 10% of the city population. It was already a progressive-minded place through 19th century arrivals from Crimea and the Balkans, fleeing the last throes of the decrepit Ottomans and supporting Atatürk's secular republican reforms. Add all those students and their lecturers and it becomes a haven of liberalism in a largely conservative region. It also means that amongst the young, you will find more fluency in English and other major European languages than elsewhere in Turkey.

Climate is semi-arid and continental; summers are hot and dry, winters are cold and snowy, autumn and spring are mostly mild albeit with a short storm season in spring.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Best fly to one of the Istanbul airports or Ankara. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW IATA) is the most convenient as you can take a taxi or bus 10 km to Pendik station, then train to Eskişehir.

1 Hasan Polatkan Airport (AOE IATA; formerly Anadolu Airport), Eskişehir Teknik Üniversitesi, Gazipaşa (6 km north of town), +90 222 321 3550. This weird little place is part of the Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics of the Technical University. So they probably know a lot about aviation dynamics, but diddly-squat about how to run an airport (a missed teaching opportunity). It only has seasonal flights to Brussels (various carriers) and occasionally elsewhere such as Saudi Arabia; nothing domestic. They don't even let you into the terminal until just before boarding, too late to sort out any glitches or use the toilets, so you huddle outside. There's car rental but no public transport.    

By train edit

Eskişehir is near the fork in Turkey’s YHT high speed railway network, with frequent fast trains from Istanbul, Ankara, Konya and Karaman.

From Istanbul, 11 trains take 3 hours via Pendik, Gebze, Izmit and Arifiye (for Adapazarı), and mostly continue to Ankara. Change in Ankara for cities in the east.

From Ankara, 13 trains take 90 min via Polatlı. From Konya three trains take 90 min; one starts in Karaman. Change in Konya for buses to Antalya and Alanya, and connections to Adana. Buses to Bursa (2 hr 15 min) connect at Eskişehir with the YHT trains.

The overnight train between Istanbul and Ankara calls at Eskişehir at around 01:00 westbound and 04:00 eastbound. There is also a sleeper taking 11 hours from Izmir and a daytime train taking 6 hours from Denizli, for Pamukkale.

2 Eskişehir railway station is in the modern district of Hoşnudiye, 3 km northwest of downtown and 5 km from the old quarter. Trams connect to the centre.

By road edit

Porsuk River

The city is 335 km southeast of Istanbul, 228 km west of Ankara and 144 east of Bursa.

From Istanbul go east on O-7 (toll) to Adapazarı then D650 south to Bozüyük, then D200 east.

You could also leave O-7 at Gebze for O-5 south to Bursa, then O-22 onto D200 east through İnegöl.

From Ankara follow D200 / 90 southwest via Polatlı. Don't follow signs for Istanbul, as the direct highway sweeps well north via Bolu.

By bus edit

Buses from Istanbul run every hour or so and take 5-6 hours, for a fare in 2024 of 450 TL. They mostly continue to Ankara, another 3 hours.

Buses from Bursa take 2 hr 15 min via İnegöl. From Antalya is 7 hours, from Izmir 7 hours, and from Adana 10 hours.

Bus lines include Metro Turizm, Pamukkale and Flixbus.

3 Eskişehir Otogar is by Highway D200 three km northeast of town centre. Take the tram downtown.

Get around edit

Simit are bread rings

Walk: old town sights are in a compact area around Kurșunlu Mosque.

Trams: Line 1 starts from the bus station (Otogar) and loops through old town / Odunpazarı (Atatürk Lisesi), the modern centre / Köprübaşı (Çarşı), Doktorlar Cd (İsmet İnönü), the railway station (Espark), and the Yunus Emre campus (Anadolu Üniversitesi) to SSK interchange. There it connects with suburban Line 8 to Batikent and Line 9 to Çamlıca.

Line 4 also runs from the bus station through old town, then heads west to Osmangazi University. Line 3 makes the third side of the triangle, from Osmangazi University to Çarşı then with Line 1 north to the railway station, Yunus Emre campus and SSK interchange.

Line 7 from Osmangazi University runs through the south suburbs to Çankaya.

From the southeast, Line 10 runs from Sehir Hospital and Line 12 from Yil to old town. Line 12 there joins Lines 3 and 4 to Osmangazi University, Line 10 goes north to the Opera and Kimlubel.

Dolmuşes and public buses cover the rest of the city. The city also has a small fleet of 19th century-looking fayton horse-drawn carriages.

Taxis: On the main streets, you’ll see buttons looking like electric switches on walls, trees, etc. Push the switch and the taxi at the nearest rank will come and pick you up.

See edit

Odunpazarı edit

Mihrab in Kurşunlu Mosque

Colourful renovated Ottoman houses line the cobbled streets of Odunpazarı, the old town 2 km south of the modern centre.

  • 1 Alaeddin Mosque, Alaeddin Cd. This was built in 1267 AD in Seljuk style, though later renovations lost this. It's still in use.    
  • 2 Cartoon Museum (Karikatür Müzesi), Malhatun Sk. Tu-Su 09:00-16:00. Cartoons and caricatures. Free.    
  • 3 Kurşunlu Mosque, Mücellit Sk, +90 222 230 4030. Daily 08:00-17:00. This mosque and religious complex (külliyesi) was completed in 1525, probably by Acem Ali, who set the style for classical Ottoman architecture followed by Mimar Sinan. The roof is leaded, hence the name kurşunlu. The complex is given over to craft workshops and displays called "museums" but many pieces are for sale.
  • Meerschaum Museum (Lületaşı Müzesi), Alaeddin Cd (within Kurşunlu Mosque complex), +90 444 2600. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Dedicated to meerschaum (German for "sea foam"), known by geologists as sepiolite or hydrous magnesium silicate Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O. This is mined as a soft white clay that can easily be shaped, then it sets hard when warmed. Tobacco pipes were a traditional use, as the material is robust and insulating yet light - even light enough to float, hence the resemblance to sea foam. The world's main deposits of meerschaum are in Eskişehir Province.    
  • Glass Arts Workshop (Cam Sanatları Atelyesi), Kurşunlu Cami Sk (west side of Kurşunlu Mosque complex), +90 222 213 3030. Daily 09:00-17:00. Displays and demonstrations of modern decorative glass.    
  • Typewriter Museum (Daktilo Müzesi), Kemal Zeytinoğlu Cd 6 (just southwest of Kurşunlu Mosque). Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. Collection of old typewriters amassed by Tayfun Talipoğlu.    
  • Museum of Woodworking (Ahşap Eserler Müzesi), Şeh Şemşettin Sk 3 (north flank of Kurşunlu Mosque). Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 09:00-18:00. Ornate carvings from around the world.    
Meerschaum Museum
  • Atatürk House, Yeşil Efendi Sk 22 (block south of Kurşunlu Mosque), +90 222 213 3030. Tu-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su 09:00-17:00. Atatürk spent one night in this mansion, now a small museum of those times. Free.
  • 4 Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM), Atatürk Blv 37, +90 222 221 2737. Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 11:00-18:00. A modern art museum in a striking modern building of sustainably harvested wood.  
  • Museum of Independence (Kurtuluş Müzesi), Arifbey Sk 171 (block east of Modern Museum), +90 222 234 3734. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Documenting the conflict with Greece that became the War of Independence. Adult 50 TL, conc 30 TL.    
  • Museum of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Tarihi Müzesi), Kemal Zeytinoğlu Cd 5 (block north of Modern Museum), +90 222 335 0580. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Small museum of the Turkic people and founding of the modern republic. Free.  
  • Yılmaz Büyükerşen Wax Museum, Atatürk Blv 43 (block northwest of Modern Museum), +90 222 220 8185. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Wax effigies of Turkish and other public figures. Adult 80 TL.    

Elsewhere edit

  • 5 ETİ Archaeology Museum, Atatürk Blv 64, +90 222 230 1371. Daily 08:00-16:30. Displays local history from the Stone Ages to the Byzantine era. Adult 20 TL.    
  • 6 Reşadiye Mosque, Reşadiye Cd 1. This was built in traditional style in 1916 and rebuilt in 1979.  
  • 7 Çarşı Mosque, Hamam Yolu Cd 20. Built in 1929, this large mosque is plain outside but richly decorated within.  
  • 8 Türasaş Museum, Ahmet Kanatlı Cd, +90 222 224 0000. Tu-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su 09:00-17:00. Small museum of transport: its prize exhibit is the only surviving Devrim, in 1961 the first ever Turkish-manufactured car. Only four hand-crafted prototypes were made and it never went into mass production. Meanwhile the Ford Otosan works in Istanbul was already on stream and scooped the market. Adult 10 TL.    
  • 9 Aviation Park (Vecihi Hürkuş Havacılık Parkı), Uludağ Sk 10, +90 539 896 5403. Daiily 09:00-17:30. An open air military aviation museum. Free.    
  • 10 Kentpark is a park on the banks of the Porsuk River, with an artificial beach and a lake. It's 3 km east of town centre, just south of the bus station, and accessible free 24 hours.
  • Love Island: don't get your hopes up. It's a small bosky island in the Porsuk River 500 m west of Kentpark, accessed by a bridge from the south bank, popular with smooching couples.
Fantastical Castle in Sazova Park
  • 11 Sazova Park   5 km southwest of downtown is a huge leisure complex. Officially it's the Science, Culture and Art Park, but you won't be overly troubled by those. Its main attractions are
    • The Zoo, open Tu-Su 10:00-16:00. Bilim is an events venue within the zoo.
    • Underwater World is the aquarium, open Tu-Su 10:00-17:00.
    • Science & Space Centre, open Tu-Su 08:30-17:30.
    • Turkish World is a cultural centre.
    • Esminyatürk: scale models of landmark buildings from around the Turkic-speaking countries.
    • Japanese Garden, just west of the large parking lot.
    • Fantastical Castle (don't call it Disney or the lawyers will all descend) with games inside.
    • Noah's Ark near the castle is closed and derelict in 2024.
    • Pirate Ship open daily 09:00-19:00.
    • A miniature railway chunters round the extensive park.

Further out edit

Devrim: only four were made
  • Odunpazarı Botanik Park is on the road out to Karacahisar, open daily 08:00-00:00.
  • 12 Karacahisar   10 km southwest of town is the scrappy ruins of a Byzantine hilltop fortress, open 24 hours. It was built (or re-built) around 1175 but soon after fell to the Seljuks or their allies the Germiyanids. In 1288 it was captured by the Ottomans, in those days a small semi-nomadic tribe based in nearby Söğüt. Ottoman mythology dates the capture earlier, to portray it as a first victory for Islam against the Byzantine Christians, but it was their fellow Muslims that the Ottomans hacked to bits here.
  • 13 Seyyid Battal Gazi Tomb   is on a hillside at the south edge of Seyitgazi town, 40 km south of Eskişehir. It's a Seljuk-built külliyesi or religious complex dedicated to the folk hero Battal Gazi (605-740 AD). He's probably fictional, but his deeds became intertwined with those of a real 8th century Islamic warrior, and have been embellished in films. The complex was extended by the Ottomans, and consists of a mosque, a madrasa, a dervish lodge, and a caravanserai serving traders and pilgrims.
  • 14 Yazılı is a village 27 km south of Seyitgazi and 70 km south of Eskişehir, with rock-cut reliefs in its valley walls. Best of these, just south, is "Midas Throne" built 7th century BC, but probably after that king's death. It was also a shrine to the Phrygian mother goddess Cybele, whose cult long preceded and outlasted Midas, as it was exported by the Romans across their far-flung empire.
  • Phrygian Valley is an unofficial name for the rocky countryside starting at Yazılı and extending over a wide area, with numerous Phrygian rock-cut tombs and other ancient sites.

Do edit

Bars and cafes in Haller Gençlik Merkezi
  • Hamams: a dozen traditional Turkish baths are in the streets around Çarşı Mosque. Women and men have separate sections.
  • Kılıç Lunapark is a family-oriented funfair on İsmet İnönü Cd, west side of Capella Hotel. No overall admission, you pay for separate rides.
  • Football: Eskişehirspor were relegated in 2023 from TFF Third League, the fourth tier, so they now play soccer down in the regional amateur leagues. Their home ground New Eskişehir Stadium (capacity 32,500) is west edge of town on Sazova Science, Art and Culture Park.

Learn edit

  • Anadolu University has 22,622 undergrads and 1672 postgrads on site, but almost 2 million participate in its distance education. It has about 1700 academic and 1800 non-teaching staff. Its main Yunusemre Campus is 6 km north of town centre.
  • Osmangazi University has about 30,000 undergrads, 5100 postgrads and 1500 academic staff. The main campus is 5 km west of town centre.
  • Eskişehir Technical University (ESTU), established in 2018, has 12,000 students and 600 academic staff. Their campus is by the airport, which they run.

Buy edit

  • Lots of ATMs and small stores. Credit cards are accepted in most places.
  • Meerschaum souvenirs are often in the form of tobacco pipes.
  • Atlıhan is a shopping centre off Pazaroğlu Sk in a renovated caravanserai, with handicraft shops ranged around its courtyard.
  • Espark is a modern shopping mall northeast side of the railway station, open daily 10:00-22:00.
  • Haller Gençlik Merkezi 100 m east of Espark is a smaller but more interesting bazaar with cafes, bars and small shops.

Eat edit

A plate of çi börek and vegetables
  • Donas is a wrap of chicken meat, potatoes, and a dash of vegetables, all slathered with sauce. It's sticky, tasty, hearty, and cheap.
  • Çi börek (or çiğ börek) is a Crimean Tatar delicacy, a deep fried pastry of thin, half moon-shaped dough filled with minced meat and onion lightly sprinkled with black pepper. True Tatars eat it by hand, perhaps with a napkin, so they don't provide forks in their eateries. Examples are at Şeh Şemşettin Sk 11 just north of Kurşunlu Mosque, at Atatürk Blv 97 west near ETI Museum, Papağan Çiğbörek (below), and Porsuk Çibörek nearby.
  • Pizza and other western fast food outlets are near the roundabout just east of the Ibis Hotel and down the strip southeast to the Porsuk bridge.
  • Papağan Çiğbörek, Yalbı Sk 5, Köprübaşı Cd (50 m east of Çarşı tram stop), +90 222 231 4362. Daily 11:00-22:00. Budget chain cafe for Tartar quick eats. They have another branch nearby at Değirmen Sk 12.
  • Şömine Kebap, İki Eylül Cd 31/A (100 m south of Çarşı tram stop), +90 222 230 5455. Daily 11:00-23:00. Serving more mainstream Turkish cuisine.

Drink edit

  • Haller Gençlik Merkezi near the railway station (see Buy) has several pubs and wine bars.
  • Vural Sk leading downtown from the railway station has Campus (formerly Station), Las Vegas Live, Beer O'Clock, Varil Pub, Beerschot Eskişehir, Cuba Bar, Tuttis Super Pub, Sünger Teras, No 46, Peyote, Social and Fedfull.
  • 6:45 Trip, İsmet İnönü-1 Blv 104/B (in Cappella Otel 200 m northwest of Espark), +90 539 694 0645. Daily 12:00-01:00. Self-service bar with trad Turkish music.
  • Travelers Cafe, Porsuk Blv 7, +90 222 230 3011. Daily 10:00-22:00. Cafe-bar with big screen TV sports.

Sleep edit

OMM: Odunpazarı Modern Museum

Budget edit

  • 1 Paşa Konağı Butik Otel, Kalender Sk 5, +90 222 220 2356. Good budget accommodation near the museums. B&B double 1000 TL.
  • 2 Arasta Konak Butik Otel, Mücellit Sk 19, +90 222 222 1232. Great reviews for this creaky but charming old mansion. B&B double 1500 TL.
  • 3 Grand Hotel (Büyük Otel), Sivrihisar-1 Cd 36, +90 222 380 6800. Venerable concrete slab in town centre, comfy enough.

Mid-range edit

  • 4 Atışkan Otel, Yunus Emre Cd 87, +90 222 220 1666. Simple place, mostly clean but miserable breakfast. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • Soyic Otel is next to Atışkan Otel at Yunus Emre Cd 95.
  • Arslan Otel is next along the street at Yunus Emre Cd 101.
  • 5 Smart by Dedeman, Pehlivan Cd 13, +90 222 233 4041. Reasonable mid-price chain hotel. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • 6 Capella Otel, Hacı Hüsnü Sk 64, +90 222 320 8080. Mostly good reviews for comfort and cleanliness. Has a sauna and small fitness center. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • Radisson Individuals Nova Vista, Istasyon Cd 3 (100 m east of railway station), +90 222 224 2626. New in 2023 so it's squeaky clean. B&B double 2500 TL.
  • Hotel ibis, Siloönü Sk 5 (200 m east of railway station), +90 222 211 7700. Reliable inexpensive chain. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • 7 Ramada Plaza, 738th Sk 7, Hoşnudiye, +90 222 235 1111. Smart clean modern place northwest of railway station. B&B double 2500 TL.
  • Merlot Hotel, 738th Sk 2, Hoşnudiye (opposite Ramada), +90 222 310 0000. Clean hotel in the business district. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 734th Sk 8, Hoşnudiye (block east of Ramada), +90 222 217 8888. Another decent business hotel just off main highway. B&B double 3000 TL.

Connect edit

Sunrise in Phrygian Valley

The city and surrounds have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Feb 2024, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.

Go next edit

  • Kütahya to the southwest makes beautiful faience tiles, which decorate its mosques.
  • Çavdarhisar has the Roman site of Aizanoi, with the Temple of Zeus.
  • Söğüt is the unremarkable little town to the northwest where the Ottomans emerged to bestride the continent and history.
  • Konya to the south was the base of the "Dancing Dervishes".
  • Sivrihisar to the east is an attractive old town with a UNESCO-listed wooden mosque.
  • Polatlı further east is where the Greek invasion was turned back in 1921 in the War of Independence.
  • Unmissable Ankara lies another 80 km east of Polatlı.

Routes through Eskişehir
Bursaİnegöl ← Bozüyük (    N / S) ←  W   E  SivrihisarAnkara
EdremitKütahya  W   E  Ends at  
Istanbul ← Arifiye (Adapazarı) ←  W   E  → Junction SPolatlıAnkara

This city travel guide to Eskişehir is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.