Niğde



Niğde is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey. In 2020 the city had a population of 161,110, with another 70,000 in the surrounding province.

Understand

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This area has been settled at least since 8000 BC. It has agriculture and silver and tin mines, and was a Hittite town to about 800 BC; they named it Nakita or Nahita from the Persian goddess Anahita. A string of civilisations and armies passed through and the city's heyday was the Seljuk era of the 13th century. Yet by the 14th century it was in ruins, but gradually rebuilt under the Ottomans from 1467. Until the First World War it had large populations of Armenians and Greeks: here and there stand the remains of their churches. Niğde thereafter was rather a sleepy provincial place, invigorated somewhat when the university opened in 1992.

The city is at an elevation of 1229 m, so while it still enjoys the interior Mediterranean hot, dry summer, its winters are cold and snowy.

Get in

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A daily train Erciyes Ekspresi takes 2 hr 20 min from Kayseri and continues south to Adana. The direct train from Ankara has been suspended for years.

1 Niğde Garı the railway station is east side of the castle and city centre.

Buses from Istanbul run every two hours, taking 21 hours via Gebze, Izmit, Adapazari and Ankara, for a fare in 2023 of 330 TL. They continue to Adana, another hour. Operators on the route include Metroturizm and Flixbus.

Buses from Kayseri run every hour or two and take 1 hr 45 min. Operators incude Ali Osman Ulusoy, Suha and Oz Sivas.

2 Niğde New Terminal is the inter-city bus station, on the main Adana highway southeast edge of the city.

By road follow O-21 the Ankara - Adana motorway.

Get around

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The dolmuş to Bor runs every hour or two and takes 20 min.

3 Niğde Otogarı the old bus station is used by local transport.

Erciyes Ekspresi also calls at Bor, Kemerhisar, and Ulukışla.

See

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  • 1 Niğde Castle crowns the hill of the ancient citadel. It's perhaps 8th century, the Byzantine era, but much altered by modern demolitions and additions. Most prominent addition is the clocktower built in around 1902. The area is free to explore 24 hours.
  • 2 Alâeddin Mosque was built in 1233, the Seljuk era. The highlight is the magnificently carved eastern gate.
  • 3 Sungur Bey Mosque was built maybe in the 1320s. Sungur Bey was the governor who commissioned it, and his tomb is outside.
  • Prodromos Church, built in 1861 and in good condition, is 100 m east of Sungur Bey Mosque. "Prodromos" means the forerunner, John the Baptist.
  • 4 Ak Medrese ("white medrassa") was built in 1410. It houses the historical museum (with prehistory exhibited at the Archaeology Museum) but has been closed for years. You can still admire the fine exterior.
  • 5 Archaeology Museum, Dışarı Cami Sk 11, +90 388 232 3390. Daily 08:30-17:00. Small but interesting museum of prehistoric material. The mummified babies and nuns are creepy. The most interesting object is the Hittite stele from circa 700 BC, depicting Tarhunzas the weather god.
  • Şerifali Tomb 100 m north of the archaeology museum is a simple but elegant mausoleum built in 1865.
  • 6 Hudavent Hatun Tomb is the best of the city's Seljuk tombs, a octagonal mausoleum of 1312, richly carved. Hatun was daughter of Sultan Kilij Arslan IV.

Further out

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Frescoes in Gümüşler Monastery
  • 7 Gümüşler Monastery (10 km northeast of town), +90 388 232 3390. Daily 08:30-17:00. Remarkable monastery and settlement carved out of the soft rock: the church frescoes look to be 6th century. "Gümüşler" means silver, mined locally, but the place was forgotten about for centuries until rediscovered in 1962. Gümüşler Monastery on Wikipedia
  • 8 Bor is a large town 14 km southwest of Niğde, almost entirely modern. Alâeddin Bey or Great Mosque of 1407 was damaged by floods in 2016 and remains closed. Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque just south is of similar date. Şeyh İlyas or Fortress ("Kale") Mosque 500 m east of town centre was built in 1530. You might have to travel via Bor to reach Kemerhisar, another 5 km south.
  • 9 Kemerhisar is a small town on the site of ancient Tyana. The main sight is the 1.5-km Roman aqueduct, built under Trajan and Hadrian. Two km northeast by D805 is a large Roman reservoir tank. Gala to the east in Karamahmutlu is an underground settlement similar to Gümüşler, but poorly-preserved.
  • 10 Gökbez is a village 12 km beyond Kemerhisar with a 2 x 2 m relief of the weather god Tarhunzas. This is carved on a large fragment of rock that nowadays sits in a courtyard leaning against a house. It's probably the same age as the Niğde Stele, say 700 BC.
  • 11 Öküz Mehmet Paşa Complex is in the town of Ulukışla, 56 km south of Niğde. Ulukışla means "great barracks" - built in 1616, the complex is believed to have originally been military quarters rather than a merchant caravanserai or pilgrim hostel. It was restored in 1753 and 2011 and is now a market place.

Do

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Alâeddin Mosque in Niğde
  • Football: Niğde Anadolu FK were relegated in 2022 so they now play soccer in TFF 3. Lig, Turkey's fourth tier. Their home ground is 5 Şubat Stadium, capacity 5000, between the castle and railway station.
  • Outdoor sports: Aladağlar National Park, accessed via Çukurbağ 63 km east, is a popular mountaineering, rock climbing, and hiking destination.

Buy

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  • Supermarket: Migros is south of centre at Selçuklu Cd 2, open daily 08:30-22:00.

Eat

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  • Eating places straggle along the main street and include Kösebasi, Damak Lahmacun, Melisa döner and pastry shop, Safahat Cafe, Pala, Lavas Center, Sofram and Hanedan.

Drink

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  • You might struggle, as few cafes serve beer. Maybe try Nizam Izgara 100 m north of the castle clocktower.
  • Geothermal mineral water bubbles out of the mountains. Some is marketed with flapdoodle "official" certificates attesting its therapeutic properties, but it's just over-priced Epsom Salts.

Sleep

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  • 1 Grand Hotel Niğde, Ahi Paşa Cd, +90 388 232 7000. Grand it's not, and pricey for what you get, but overall a decent central mid-range business hotel. B&B double 1500 TL.
  • Ruya Otel[dead link] 100 m northeast of Grand Hotel is simple but clean.
  • Hotel Sahiner, Giray Sk 4 (200 m northeast of Grand Hotel), +90 388 232 2121. Basic but adequate small hotel. B&B double 1000 TL.
  • 2 Nahita Hotel, Emin Erişingil Blv 19, +90 388 232 3536. Friendly place and value for money. B&B double 900 TL.
  • 3 Ramada, Atatürk Blv 6, +90 388 233 9500. Smart modern hotel 2 km west of centre, convenient for motorists. B&B double 1500 TL.

Connect

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Roman reservoir near Kemerhisar

Niğde and its approach highways have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Jan 2023, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.

Go next

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  • Adana southeast is a large modern city but with many old mosques and museums.
  • Mersin south has a few antiquities but is primarily an industrial port with ferries to Cyprus.
  • Kayseri northeast has several Seljuk-era buildings, such as the castle.
Routes through Niğde
AnkaraAksaray  N  S  PozantıAdana
KonyaÇatalhöyük (N / S) ←  W  E  → Göksun ( S) → Ends at (W E)
Nevşehir ← Derinkuyu ←  N  S  END



This city travel guide to Niğde is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.