Old meets new in Kayseri, a vibrant city where modern towers stand alongside monuments from the Seljuk, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Much of the city has been industrialised, though there are still plenty of opportunities to discover the rich cultural heritage. The city is a gateway to Cappadocia, an enchanting region studded with fairy chimney rock towers.
Things to do in Kayseri
Kayseri Castle looms over the city and features an imposing black basalt façade. It was built by a Seljuk sultan in the 13th century and is encircled by fortifications. Walk around the complex and view artefacts on display at the Archaeological Museum.
The Museum of Seljuk Civilisation occupies a 13th-century hospital and features exhibits on local history, culture and art. You’ll leave with a deep understanding of the Seljuks, a group of Turkish warriors who rose to power in medieval times and helped drive art, culture, literature and music in the Middle East.
The Historic Kayseri neighbourhood protects a block of cobbled streets and beautifully restored traditional stone houses. Some of the prettiest buildings are clustered around the main square and house cafes and boutique hotels. Stop to sit in the sunshine and enjoy a cup of “çay” Turkish tea.
Surup Krikor Lusavoriç Kilise recalls the city’s once thriving Armenian community. It’s one of the best-preserved Armenian churches in Turkey and features a domed roof, gilded altars and faded frescoes painted in the 19th century.
Try local specialties from Kayseri at one of the many cafes that dot the city. Look for dishes like “tepsi mantisi” Turkish ravioli and “yağlama” flatbread stuffed with minced beef. “Centik kebap” potatoes topped with grilled meat, yoghurt and tomato sauce is another delicious local dish.
Getting around Kayseri
Buses and trams are a fast and easy way to get around Kayseri. Parts of the city, including the Historic Kayseri Neighbourhood are best-explored on foot. Erkilet International Airport is a 10-minute drive from the city centre.