Crossroads of Historical Routes
Kayseri – Sivas – Erzurum
Due to their geographical locations at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, such as the Silk Road, the cities of Sivas and Erzurum boast multilayered cultural heritages. These cities thrived as religious centers as a result of their strategically important locations between Asia and Anatolia.
Erzurum’s citadel was first founded by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius. The continuous settlement of the region endowed the city with many architecturally and historically important monuments. Among these, Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque), a 12th-century mosque located next to Çifte Minareli Medrese (Twin Minaret Madrasa), which was commisioned by the Saltukid ruler of the era, and Lala Paşa Mosque have unique architectural styles.
Grand Vizier Lala Mustafa Pasha, a commander of Suleyman the Magnificent, commissioned the mosque bearing his name in the 16th century. Lala Paşa Mosque is the first mosque built in Erzurum during the Ottoman period, and later became a model for other Ottoman mosques built in the city.
Erzurum’s other important religious monuments bear features from different ruling perionds: three monuments belong to the Ilkhanid period (Twin Minaret, and Yakutiye and Ahmediye Madrasas), and three to the Ottoman period (Kurşunlu/Fevziye, Pervizoğlu, and Şeyhler Madrasas). While the Ilkhanid period madrasas in Erzurum were built as independent monumental-looking madrasas, the Ottoman period madrasas were smaller in size and were arranged as a part of a külliye (religious complex).
Erzurum’s many layers of culture show signs of its rich religious heritage. Demirciler Kilisesi (Blacksmiths Church), which now serves as Fethiye Mosque, and the church in the village of Gez were built in the 18th century. When Demirciler Kilisesi was transformed into a mosque, some changes were made: a mihrab niche was placed on the south wall and a minbar (pulpit) was placed inside.
The tomb of Emir Saltuk has a special place among the tomb structures in both Erzurum and Anatolia by virtue of its architecture and decorative features. The tomb monument, which is dated to the earliest period in Anatolia, differs from other Anatolian burial monuments.
Sivas is located on the historical Silk Road and became an important Anatolian Seljuk center of science, trade, culture, and civilization. During the Seljuk period, religious life in Sivas was vibrant.
Seljuk madrasas, which were among the most famous higher learning centers of the period, did not only teach religious sciences. They also taught secular sciences such as logic and mathematics, and, among others, history, philosophy, medicine, and chemistry. These madrasas were built as parts of complexes with mosques and other related edifices.
The building group known as Divriği Ulu Mosque and Hospital (Darüşşifa) is a complex consisting of a mosque, a hospital, and a tomb. This 13th-century complex is described by art historians as the "Divriği Miracle" or "Anatolia's Alhamra" and was included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1985. The magnificent motifs, especially the doors and columns, which are found in many parts of the complex, were made by masters from Ahlat and Tbilisi, and reflect the rarest and finest examples of stonework.
Çifte Minareli Medrese (Twin Minaret Madrasa) is one of the symbolic structures of Sivas with its two minarets and was commisioned by the vizier of the Ilkhanid Şemseddin Cüveyni in 1271. One of the most important features of the building is that it has the tallest stone door in Anatolia.
Gök Medrese, one of the Seljuk works in the region, was instrumental in the training of many scholars. Today, the main building of the madrasa, which impresses with its magnificent crown gate and ornamental stonework, awaits visitors as a museum.
- Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque)
- Çifte Minareli Medrese (Twin Minaret Madrasa), Sivas
- Lala Paşa (Pasha) Mosque
- Yakutiye Madrasa
- Ahmediye Madrasa
- Kurşunlu Madrasa
- Demirciler Church (Blacksmiths Church, currently Fethiye Mosque)
- Church in Gez village
- Sahibiye Madrasa, Sivas
- Divriği Ulu Mosque
- Gök Medrese (Madrasa)
- Cağ kebab
- Etli ekmek (thin crust pide with meat)
- Kelle paça soup
- Kesme aşı soup
- Sivas kebab
- Divriği pilav
- Pastırma (seasoned cured beef) from Kayseri
- Snow on Palandöken Mountain
- Tortum Waterfall