30 June 2021
Niğde, the crater lakes in the Bolkar Mountains, the Aladağlar with 37 peaks over 3,000 meters, the “silent frogs” protected by the Bern Convention, the mountaineers’ address Demirkazık, and the “Smiling Virgin Mary” fresco, which is known to be the only example in Anatolia, await its visitors.
Home to many civilizations such as the Hittites, Romans, Seljuks, Karamanoğlu Principality, and Ottomans, Niğde awaits its visitors with its churches, ruins, mosques, mountains, lakes and natural beauties. 50 PLACES TO VISIT IN TURKEY
Located between the borders of Niğde, Adana, Mersin and Konya, the Bolkar Mountains in the Central Taurus Mountains host many local and foreign tourists with their glacial lakes, unique scenery and green vegetation.
The crater lakes Karagöl and Çiniligöl, which are approximately 2,650 meters high, draw attention with their endemic plant and animal species.
The Taurus frog, also known as the “silent frog”, which lives only in Karagöl, Çiniligöl and Eğrigöl in the Bolkar Mountains in Niğde, attracts the attention of those who see it. The Taurus toad (Rana Holtzi), which was determined to live in the region about 120 years ago and was taken under protection by the Bern Convention, continues to live in the meadows and small water sources on the edges of glacial lakes at an altitude of 3,000.
Mountain frogs have become the focus of attention of local and foreign tourists with their appearance resembling a “Zorro mask” extending from around their eyes to the ear area.
Aladağlar hosts the most popular routes for nature and sports enthusiasts with 37 peaks over 3,000 meters, valleys, trekking tracks, Yedigöller, Hacer Forests and Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls. Located within the borders of Niğde, Kayseri and Adana, Aladağlar covers an area of 55 thousand hectares.
Aladağlar, where the highest peaks of the Taurus mountain range are located, has many peaks, valleys, lakes and waterfalls with its geologically interesting structure. While the summits of the region are devoid of vegetation, there are herbaceous plants in the lower parts, and red pine, larch and fir forests in the lower elevations.
Demirkazık, one of the most important peaks of the region, hosts many amateur and professional mountaineers. Kızılkaya, Kaldı and Emler summits also attract great attention.
Those who want to do trekking, on the track starting from Sokullupınar and extending to Soğukpınar, pass through the valleys and Yedigöller, cross the Hacer Strait, and then reach Kapuzbaşı Waterfalls.
Gumusler Monastery, which is estimated to have been built between the 8th century and the 12th century, located in the Gümüşler town of the center, has interior decorations, which are considered the best wall paintings of the Cappadocia region, carved priest rooms, kitchen, storage cubes, a two-storey underground city Secret compartments made to hide in emergencies are waiting for their visitors.
The “Smiling Virgin Mary” fresco, which is known to be the only example in Anatolia, attracts the most attention among the structure, which stands out with its monastery, ruins, church and settlement areas carved from the rock, extending on an area of approximately 1.5 kilometers.
Although some of the wall paintings in the church with a Greek cross plan inside the monastery were destroyed by the collapse, the “Mother of the Laughing Virgin Mary” fresco remains mysterious.
The silhouette of the “crowned woman’s head”, formed by the reflection of the sun’s rays on the stone engraving on the upper part of the east facing door of the historical Alaaddin Mosque, built by Zeyneddin Beşare in 1223, on the Alaaddin Hill in the city center, attracts the attention of visitors.
Tourists who come to see the mosque show great interest in the silhouette of the woman at the door. The decorations on the entrance door and mihrab of the mosque, which was built quite simply, are also the focus of attention.
It is believed among the people that one of the masters who built the mosque fell in love with the daughter of the Niğde Sancak Beyi, and to immortalize this “impossible” love, he painted the silhouette depicting the brain’s daughter on the door of the mosque. Alaaddin Mosque, which was included in UNESCO’s World Cultural Temporary Heritage List in 2012, along with Niğde Castle and Sungurbey Mosque, maintains its originality despite the intervening 800 years.
Niğde Governor Yılmaz Şimşek said that Niğde, which has a history of approximately 10 thousand years, is the “gateway of Cappadocia”. Stating that the city hosted many civilizations such as the Hittites, Romans, Seljuks, Karamanoğlu Principality, and Ottomans, Şimşek said, “It is possible to see the works of these civilizations in and around Niğde. Gümüşler Monastery is one of the best preserved and largest monasteries of Cappadocia, dating from the middle ages. It also comes to the fore with the fresco of the Smiling Virgin Mary,” he said.
Governor Şimşek spoke with the Andaval Church in Aktaş town, saying: “The Andaval Church was built in the name of Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine. The church, which is the same age as Hagia Sophia, is extremely important in terms of faith tourism.”
Şimşek stated that the ancient city of the late Hittite period Tabal Kingdom, located in Göllüdağ, 30 kilometers from the city center, continues to work to bring it into tourism.
Pointing out that Niğde Castle, clock tower, Hüdavent Hatun Tomb and the covered bazaar that will be converted into a city museum in the city center are among the important works, Şimşek emphasized that it is possible to visit the Roman Pool, the ancient city of the Tyana Kingdom and the aqueducts in the Bor district.
Stating that there are around 80 historical mosques, nearly 30 churches, caravanserais and fountains, and historical underground cities throughout the city, Şimşek said: “Niğde is actually an open-air museum. Our aim is to reveal our riches in this open-air museum. “Niğde is a city that stands out with its natural beauties. We have two crater lakes in the Bolkar Mountains, Çinili and Karagöl. This region stands out with its endemic plant and animal species. The Taurus frog (Rana holtzi) is an endemic animal.” “There are Aladağlar and Demirkazık, which are known as the sanctuaries of the world mountaineers, in our Çamardı district. There are 30 peaks over 3,000 meters in this region. This is an important center for mountain and nature tourism.”
Şimşek stated that the thermal spa in Çiftehan village of Ketençimen Plateau, which is 15 kilometers away from the center, is one of the important values of the city. Emphasizing that Niğde is an important city in terms of history, culture, mountains, nature, faith and thermal tourism, Governor Şimşek said, “Niğde is a very important city in terms of both historical riches and natural beauties, but many people are not aware of this. Niğde’ Those who came to Turkey and saw these beauties said, ‘We did not know Niğde like that.’ “Our aim is to introduce these beauties and riches to everyone. To get a bigger share of the tourism cake. Therefore, I invite everyone to come and see these beauties,” he said.