Where to Visit in Isparta

Isparta is a city in western Turkey and the capital of Isparta Province. The city’s population was 222,556 in 2010 and its elevation is 1035 m. It is known as the “City of Roses”. Isparta is well-connected to other parts of Turkey via roads. Antalya lies 130 km to the south and Eskişehir is 350 km to the north. Süleyman Demirel University has introduced thousands of youths from varied backgrounds to the city’s mostly conservative fabric in recent years. The city’s football team, Ispartaspor, plays in Group 7 of the Turkish Regional Amateur League.

The main economic activities of Isparta are the production of rosewater and handmade carpets. Tourism, both local and increasingly international due to “biblical tourism”, is becoming an important source of revenue. In the early 20th century,  carpetmaking was a major industry in Isparta.

Isparta has a Hot-summer mediterranean climate, or a temperate oceanic climate. Winters are chilly, rainy and often snowy, summers are hot and dry. The lakes around the city have an important moderating influence on the climate. Precipitation occurs mostly in the winter months, with a notable decrease in summer.

The city lies close to a fault line and is thus prone to violent earthquakes. Most of the ancient city was destroyed by an earthquake 1914. So there are only a few historical buildings left. The oldest building is the Kutlu Bey Mosque (or Ulu Camii, which means great Mosque), built in 1429 by Kutlu Bey, a general of Sultan Murad II. It was very badly destroyed by the earthquake 1914, but restored 1922. Famous is the Firdevs-Bey-Camii (Mosque) (also: Firdevs Paşa CamiiMimar Sinan Camii) from 1561. The mosque and the neighboring Bedesten (market hall) are attributed to the architect Sinan. Badly damaged by earthquake in 1914, it was renovated afterwards.

Most of the churches have been destroyed, only a few remain, especially the Aya Payana Church (Turkish: Aya Baniya Kilisesi); a Greek-Orthodox church from 1750. In a state of ruin since 1923, the roof was re-covered in 1999. Another renovation is planned but has not yet been carried out (as of 2022)

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