Sivrihisar is an attractive old town in Western Anatolia. It's at an elevation of 1070 m, below a craggy granite ridge, hence the town's name: "sharp, pointed fortress". In 2022 the population of the municipality of Sivrihisar was 20,087.

Understand edit

Sivrihisar is on the main highway between Ankara and Eskişehir, and has a well-preserved historic quarter, yet receives very few tourists. The town may be hoping that inscription of its Grand Mosque into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2023 will raise its profile. What's more likely to succeed is what UNESCO might call an intangible cultural heritage: Gönül Dağı or "Mountain of Hearts" is a TV comedy-soap filmed here (the fictional town of Gedelli) and screened since 2020.

Get in edit

Sivrihisar is on D200/E90 100 km east of Eskişehir and 140 km west of Ankara, at the junction with D260/E96 to Afyonkarahisar, Uşak and Izmir. These are good divided toll-free highways.

Intercity buses flash past on these highways and don't stop in Sivrihisar. Look for a dolmuş in Eskişehir or Polatlı.

The railway bypasses town to the north, so the closest stations are in Eskişehir and Polatlı, both served by YHT high-speed trains.

Get around edit

The old town is compact and walkable. You need a vehicle for sights further out.

See edit

Within the Grand Mosque
  • Old town has many traditional houses in various states of repair or dereliction. Tourists crane for selfies at "Taner's House" 100 m south of Grand Mosque – in Gönül Dağı Tayyar Sk 2 was the abode of the main character Taner Kaya.
  • 1 Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii), Ordu Cd 1. Mosque built in 1275 AD and listed as a   UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stone exterior is simple, but the interior is wooden with 67 columns supporting its roof and an elaborate pulpit.    
  • Alemşah Tomb north side of Grand Mosque was built in 1327 for Sultan Şah.
  • Kilim Museum, Prof Dr Nabi Avcı Cd 32 (opposite Grand Mosque), +90 222 711 4035. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Large display of kilim, traditional carpets, some a century old, and has a sales office. Free.
  • 2 Armenian Church (Ermeni Kilisesi), Muzzafer Attasoy Sk. The Church of Holy Trinity (Surp Yerrortutyun Kilisesi, Սուրբ Երրորդութիւն Եկեղեցի) has stood here since 1650, but the current building is from the 1880s, when it was rebuilt after a fire. In 1915 the Armenians were massacred and the church was abandoned. In the 2010s it was renovated as a event centre, obliterating all its frescoes. You're unlikely to find it open.    
  • Sculpture Park is ranged across the hillside behind the church, with some 100 human figures in noble poses. They're the work of Metin Yurdanur, born 1951 in Sivrihisar. The park is free to visit 24 hours.
  • 3 Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) is on the hillside east of the church, reached by a boardwalk over the jagged rocks. The tower is 12 m high and you may find the doors to its steps open. Otherwise admire the view outside from the glass-floored viewing terrace, built in 2015. Access is free 24 hours.
  • 4 Zaimağa Mansion (Zaimağa Konağı), Kavakdibi Sk. Mansion built in 1902 and restored as a museum. In March 1922, at the height of the War of Independence, the Turkish National Assembly convened here, the only time it did so outside Ankara.
  • 5 Hoşkadem Mosque at Hoş Kadem Sk 14 was built in 1274 AD by Necibittini Mustafa, Treasurer to the Seljuks.
  • Hazinadar Mosque is adjacent, set in the same garden, and of similar date. In Ramadan the custom is that women pray here and the men in Hoşkadem Mosque.
  • 6 Aircraft Monument   is a replica of the Breguet 14B2 biplane that fought over Sivrihisar during the War of Independence. The town was captured by the Greeks in Aug 1921. It was liberated a year later after the Battle of Sakarya, but the war was far from won, and Turkey only had slow obsolete aircraft. The citizens raised the money to commission the biplane, which had a mixed role of reconaissance, fighter and bomber. The replica was installed in 2007.
  • 7 Pessinus, Ballıhisar (16 km south). Daily 08:00-17:00. Ruins of a Phrygian and Roman city at the south edge of Ballıhisar village. The site is extensive though only the temple area has been excavated, but the ruins are little more than orderly-laid foundation stones. Free.    
  • 8 MSÖ Air & Space Museum (formerly Sivrihisar Aviation Centre), Yeşilköy (21 km southwest off D260), +90 222 724 3031. Tu-Su 10:00-12:30, 13:30-17:00. Large new museum with many aircraft in working order. SHG Airshow is held here in late September. Adult 190 TL.    
  • 9 Nasrettinhoca (22 km east off D200/E90). A 13th-century house in this village is claimed as the birthplace of Nasreddin Hodja (1208–1285). This satirist and sly fool is the subject of folk tales from the Balkans to China, and many towns make similar claims. Akşehir to the south even has his tombstone, but like the Wise Men of Gotham there was probably no such person. He's often depicted riding a donkey back-to-front.    
  • 10 Yunusemre   is a tiny village 44 km north, not to be confused with Yunusemre district of Manisa. Here is the tomb of Yunus Emre (1238–1320), a Sufi mystic poet, one of the first poets to write in Turkish (in its Old Anatolian form) rather than Persian or Arabic. The road is signposted off D200/E90 east.

Do edit

Pulpit of the Grand Mosque
  • 1 Karakaya Tırmanış Bahçesi (39 km west, off D200/E90). The property has several rock climbing and bouldering routes, suitable for both beginners and those with experience. There is also a basic campground.

Buy edit

Lots of little supermarkets in old town, with another cluster near Kaytan Otel towards the main highway.

Eat edit

A dozen eating places cluster round Grand Mosque, with a handful more at the top of Atatürk Blv at the entrance to old town, and a scattering south towards the main highway.

Drink edit

Some cafes serve beer.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Çini Otel 2, Ordu Cd 82, +90 222 711 2097. Basic hotel in old town. Cleanliness, water and heating erratic.
  • 2 Kaytan Otel, Şehit İsmail Tetik Sk 5, +90 222 255 5878. New in 2023 and still squeaky-clean. B&B double 1000 TL.
  • 3 Sivrihisar Otel, Tansu Çiller Blv 5, +90 222 711 4678. Basic hotel, part of Osmanli chain, by the main highway junction.

Connect edit

The replica biplane

Sivrihisar and its approach highways have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Dec 2023, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.

Go next edit

  • Gordion, the ancient Phrygian capital, is another   UNESCO World Heritage Site, near Polatlı east of the Sakarya River.
  • The road north from Yunusemre across the hills takes you towards Nallıhan Bird Reserve. The waterfalls near Gürleyik on the way are worth the short detour.
  • Eskişehir to the west is the lively provincial capital on the banks of the Porsuk River, with a student buzz.
  • The road across the lonely steppes to the south leads to Afyonkarahisar, another traditional town with craggy surroundings.

Routes through Sivrihisar
BursaEskişehir  W   E  PolatlıAnkara
ENDAfyonkarahisar  SW   E  PolatlıAnkara

This city travel guide to Sivrihisar 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.