Where to Visit in Sivas

Sivas is a city in central Turkey and the seat of Sivas Province. The city, which lies at an elevation of 1,278 metres (4,193 ft) in the broad valley of the Kızılırmak river, is a moderately-sized trade centre and industrial city, although the economy has traditionally been based on agriculture. Rail repair shops and a thriving manufacturing industry of rugs, bricks, cement, and cotton and woolen textiles form the mainstays of the city’s economy. The surrounding region is a cereal-producing area with large deposits of iron ore which are worked at Divriği.

Sivas is also a communications hub for the north–south and east–west trade routes to Iraq and Iran, respectively. With the development of railways, the city gained new economic importance as junction of important rail lines linking the cities of Ankara, Kayseri, Samsun, and Erzurum. The city is linked by air to Istanbul. The popular name Sebastian derives from  Sebastianòs, Σεβαστιανός, meaning someone from the city.

The name of the city is a truncated form of its Byzantine Greek name Sivasteia from the Koine Greek name Sebasteia, meaning that it was named in honour of an emperor using the title Sebastos, the Greek equivalent of Augustus, In Kurdish it is called Sêwas.

Specialties of Sivas are tarhana (a soup made using sour yogurt), kelecos (a sour potato soup made with yoghurt) and  katmer, a flaky pastry-bread which can be consumed on its own. One distinct feature of Sivas cooking is the use of  madimak, which is a local herb used similarly to spinach. Sivas kebabı is a variety of kebab originating from Sivas.

A cultural hub as well as an industrial one, Sivas contains many examples of 12th and 13th-century Seljuk architecture. The Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) of Sivas was first built in 1197. The Sifaiye Medresesi was completed in 1217–1218 and served as a darüşşifa (hospital and medical school). It has a four-iwan layout typical of Seljuk madrasas and is fronted by an elaborately – carved entrance portal. It also contains the tomb of its founder, the Seljuk sultan Izz al-Din Kayka’us I (d. 1220).  In 1271–1272, when the city was under Ilkhanid influence, three different madrasas were built by competing patrons: the Buruciye Medrese, the Çifte Minare Medresesi, and the Gök Medrese (“Blue Madrasa”; depicted on the  obverse of the Turkish 500 lira banknote of 1927–1939). All three have elaborate entrance portals.

The city also contains some fine examples of the Ottoman architectural style. The most prominent example of Ottoman architecture in the city is the Kale Camii (“Citadel Mosque”), built in 1580 by Mehmet Pasha, an Ottoman vizier. Kurşunlu Hamamı (“Leaden Bath”) which was completed in 1576, is the largest historic bathhouse in the city and it contains many details from the classical Ottoman bath building. Behrampaşa Hanı (a caravanserai), was completed in 1573 and it is famous for the lion motifs around its windows.

Atatürk Congress and Ethnography Museum (Atatürk Kongre ve Etnografya Müzesi) is a museum with two sections. One is a dedicated to the Ottoman heritage of Sivas. The other is to the Sivas Congress, one of the pivotal moments in the Turkish national movement. Other museums include the Sivas Congress and Ethnography Museum and the Sivas Archaeology Museum. The Madımak Science and Culture Centre is housed in the former Madımak Hotel.

The modern heart of the city is Hükümet Square (Hükümet Meydanı, also called Konak Meydanı) located just next to the Governor’s mansion. This area is also home to many of the city’s high end hotels and restaurants. The city’s shoppers usually head to Atatürk Avenue.

Sivas is also famous for its thermal springs which have a respectable percentage in the city’s income. People believe that the water of these thermal springs can cure many illnesses. The most famous thermal areas are, Sıcak ÇermikSoğuk Çermik and Kangal Balıklı Kaplıca.

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