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- New Art Again
- For Future Generations
- A Wealth Of Turkmen Jewelry
- A Lasting Contribution To Cinema
- Changing The Lock On The Kaaba
- Antiques From East To West
- Rally On The Ocean Shore
- 2 Cities, 2 Film Festivals
- The Tennis Season Opens
- His Father’s Son
- Europe’s Little Gem
- Happy Travels To All
Write: Ömer Kokal Photos: Ahmet Bilal Arslan
A Different Kütahya
A Different Kütahya
FAMOUS FOR ITS TILES AND PORCELAIN, KÜTAHYA ALSO STANDS OUT FOR ITS HISTORIC MANSIONS, TASTY FOOD, MAGNIFICENT MOSQUES, AND MANY FASCINATING MUSEUMS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RUINS.
Evliya Çelebi’s family was from Kütahya. Stopping in his ancestral home on a journey, the famed traveler wrote of it: “Its castle on a hill is pentagonal. There are seven thousand houses. Both sides of the river are adorned with mansions and several levels of gardens.” Home throughout history to prominent historical figures like Evliya Çelebi, and Sultans Bayezid II and Selim II, both of whom governed the province as princes, Kütahya occupies a key place in the history of the Republic as well. Commander-in-Chief Mustafa Kemal fought his fiercest battles against the occupying armies at Kütahya. It was in Kütahya that Turkish rule first began with the Seljuks in 1078. Following them, the Germiyan Principality made the city its capital. Passing to the Ottomans in 1429 as a legacy of the Germiyan ruler Yakup II, Kütahya is a typical Anatolian city in everything from its handicrafts and cuisine to its religious and civilian architecture and its everyday life.
City of mosques
The most prominent monument of the Ottoman period, Kutahya’s prized Great Mosque is dazzling in its architecture. Built at the behest of Bayezid the Thunderbolt in 1410, this mosque acquired its present-day form in 1893. Last renovated by Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1893, it dazzles the eye. Another of the city’s famous buildings, the Revolving Mosque, was built in the 1240’s as a Mevlevi Lodge. Used today as the Archaeological Museum, Vacidiye Mosque, too, can be regarded as a legacy of the Germiyan Principality. A madrasa built in 1314 by one of the Germiyan beys, Umur Bin Savcı, was converted in 1965 into a museum that houses numerous artifacts from the Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Selcuk and Ottoman periods.
Tiles, a Kütahya heritage
Yet another monument attributed to the Germiyanids is the mosque complex of Yakup II, which serves today as the Tile Museum. This is how it is described in the promotional brochure: “In our museum are rare examples of the tiles the Kütahyans call ‘flowers that bloom in fire’, which have been produced here since the 14th century.” The tiles are the symbol of Kütahya today. Produced mainly to meet popular need, the traditional Kütahya tile with its predominant blue and white colors has always preserved its character as an urban art. Kütahya, where tile production flowered in the 17th century especially, has remained one of the important centers for Ottoman tiles for many years.
You can now see dazzling examples of tiles from that brilliant period in the Istanbul Pera Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics”. Keeping the historic tile legacy alive, Kütahya tile makers are learning the art in schools today as well as through the traditional master-apprentice relationship. The Tile and Ceramics Department of Kütahya Industry Vocational High School and the Handicrafts and Tile Working Department of Dumlupınar University are training schooled tile masters.
If you’re keen to see more examples of Kütahya’s historic legacy, Germiyan Street awaits you. The majestic mansions that line the street live on today as bed&breakfasts, art galleries, museums and restaurants. International chains are also among the many hotels that have opened in the city in recent years. And Yoncalı is the right address for those who want to enjoy the spa experience at their hotel. You can also find spas very near the city center of Kütahya, which is famous for its thermal waters and springs.
If you still have haven’t explored the whole city, you can survey the city’s entire cultural panorama thanks to the ‘Kütahya 360 Project”, created by the Office of the Governor of Kütahya Province. Once a closely guarded secret, Kütahya is easier to reach than ever now thanks to Zafer (Victory) Airport, which opened on November 25. The town awaits you with all its treasures.
RICH GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES
Kütahya is distinguished by their rich underground water resources. The spas and thermal resorts in the area are especially popular in spring and winter. Boasting modern infrastructure and comfort, the Kütahya and Afyonkarahisar thermal hotels are ideal for winter tourism. Besides their thermal baths, these hotels also offer detox packages and spa alternatives. Rich in minerals, the underground waters here are known to be beneficial in treating a variety of ills.
The Kütahya thermal waters are beneficial in the treatment of rheumatic disorders as well as dermatological conditions and diseases of the joints and digestive system.
Effective spa treatment should be undertaken under the direction and observation of medical experts. Cures too should be organized and monitored by doctors who are specialists in the field.
Kütahya Yoncalı Spa dates back more than 800 years to the period of the Anatolian Seljuks. Evliya Çelebi even praises these spa waters in his Book of Travels.
A wide variety of services are available at most of the 5-star thermal hotels at Kütahya. These include surface heat therapy, spa treatments, mud therapy, deep heat (ultrasound), pain relief by electric current, laser treatments, hydrotherapy tubs, vacuum therapy and isokinetic strength training.
Hediye Güral Gür
(NG Hotels & Resorts Executive Committee Chairman )
“Kütahya distinguishes itself from other spa destinations by offering the spa experience right in the heart of nature. You can take the waters here in the depths of the region’s pine forests.
And Afyonkarahisar, which is known countrywide for its rich thermal resources, caters to groups of spa tourists. Thanks to new investment, the region is developing by the day and is a candidate for being Europe’s gateway to Turkey in the thermal tourism sector.”