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KARAMAN: CAPITAL OF TURKISH LANGUAGE

“Our door is open whoever enters; our food is halal whoever eats”

A city that nurtures scholars and great people who became unforgetable figures in Turkish and global history. You will fall in love with this city after getting to know its historical richness, experiencing the cultural uniqness and familirasing yourself with the picturesque surroundings.

Although unknown to many, Karaman is the city where Hz. Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, commonly known in West as the Rumi lived for a period of time before settling in the town of Konya and Karaman sadly is also the city where his mother Mümine Hatun reached her eternal rest. It is also a beatiful city that is the hometown of a famous love and peace envoy called Hz. Yunus Emre. Yunus Emre’s inpiration was to shine a a light of kind heartnessness on the whole humaity by saying “Come let us all be friends for once”.

Karaman is the city of Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey who firmly stated; “After this day, no one in the council chamber, the dervishes lodge, the palace, the parliament and the square will use any language other than Turkish”. Karamanoglu Mehmet Bey’s grandson Ibrahim Bey also had a message to mankind “Our door is open whoever enters; our food is halal whoever eats”.

It is worth mentioning that Karaman is also the hometown of a world-renowned Turkish Sailor Piri Reis who was a first man who draw the world map for the first time in history. Karaman is also the hometown of two main figures in recent history, the Founder and the First President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the commander of Eastern Army during the First World War, Kazim Karabekir Pasha.

Before the Ottoman Empire, Karaman was the capital city of Karamanid Principality for many years. Karaman is an ancient city where each street still has the mystical scents of history, with significant footprints from various eras and civilizations.

When you reach this beautiful city through well presented graceful apple orchards, not only you feel the traces of different civilizations on the streets, you will also witness the historical harmony in the culture and daily life of the locals.

JOURNEY INTO HISTORY

Karaman castle welcomes you on a small hill overlooking the city. According to the legend, Karaman castle was surrounded by hordes of Mongolian soldiers. The Mongol thread was defused by intrigue - the Karamanid soldiers wrapped in fur disguised themselves in the heard of sheep then infiltrated the Mongol army. As a result of this strategy came a popular saying "The Karaman's sheep sooner or later will play a trick on you"

As soon as you enter Karaman castle, you will see an open-air museum that used to be a palace. If you go to one of the towers of this well preserved castle, you will see the great view of the city of Karaman stretching out between the two mountains. With a short carriage ride, you will reach the Hatuniye Madrasah, which sets an example for the world heritage with its magnificent crown gate. Who knows how many dedicated ancient scholars of those days such as Molla Fenari or Zenbilli Ali Efendi passed through this door. Next to the Madrasah, the Karaman City Museum exhibits fascinating artefacts from thousands of years of history in the region.

In addition, in the archaeological exhibition hall, there is a mummy estimated to have lived between 1000-1200 AD, discovered in Taşkale Manazan Caves not far from Karaman. The wonder of this mummy is that it was naturally preserved until modern times without any mummification techniques, earning it the name “Beauty of Manazan”

With a short walk, you can reach Aktekke Mosque (Mader-i Mevlana) integrated within the city square. After visiting the mosque you may want to rest under the centuries-old plane tree that challenges the years with its  grand outlook in the courtyard, and shelters the tomb of  Hz. Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi’s Mother, Mumine Hatun.

Every year in April, the symbolic event of Mevlana’s leaving Karaman for Konya is performed by local theatrical artists under this plane tree and Şeb-i Arus (Wedding Night) is held in December.

Karaman Tourism Information Centre is located in the city's busiest street, in a historical building where you can relax and get to know Karaman. The Centre providing information about Karaman's stunning natural landscape, history, economy, cultural and tourism values harmonized with the latest technology and visual contents was enriched with the wax statues of historically known Karaman’s people, information kiosks, navigation binoculars, thematic maps, aerial, walk and bus trip simulations.

Within a little distance, Yunus Emre Mosque built with typical characteristics of the Karamanid Principality architecture welcomes you to the tomb of famous Turkish philosopher Yunus Emre. Like Rumi, Yunus Emre was a famous mystical brand originated in Karaman who wrote celebrated lines;

“Come let us be all friends for once,

Let us make life easy on us,

Let us be loved ones and lovers,

The world shall be left to no one.”

In the rear of the mosque is a small poetry park dedicated to Yunus Emre with his poetry written both in pure and clean Turkish language of Anatolia.

In a more recent era, the Tartan family were very well known in Karaman. The historic Tartan Mansion located in the Topucak neighbourhood of Karaman within a protected area of the city provides unique example of traditional Turkish housing. In particular, it is noteworthy that the decorations engraved in pencil work rather than wooden work is glamorous. On the interior walls of the house, there are pencil depictions of Istanbul, many varied plants and even pencilled clocks.

In front of Tartan Mansion, the Çeşmeli Church (Church with Fountain) used as a prison in recent years will greet you with its grandeur.

KARADAG MOUNTAIN:ONE THOUSAND AND ONE CHURCHES AND YILKI HORSES

Karadag mountain, located 25 km to the north of the city of Karaman, shines as brightly as a star offering you a splendid natural enviroment as well as history,culture and faith. With its potential of nature and faith tourism, it takes you to the depths of history whilst offering a visual feast with its nature. Karadag is an extinct volcanic mountain which forms one of the routes of St. Paul's on his route to Ephesus when he spread the gospel in Turkey. One church in particular, Binbir Church was one of the most important Christianity center in this region. These ruins show the density in the places, known by the locals as Binbir Church around Madenşehir ruins, Yukarı ruins and Değle ruins.

Besides Christian churches, you will find civil and military locations, castles, mausoleums and even an ancient Roman pool. In addition, Hittite hieroglyphic inscriptions considered sacred by the Hittites can be seen in Karadag.

As well as being an area of religious devoution, there is also great wilderness around the mountain. The Yılkı Horses grazing around the Great Crater have been living freely for centuries with all their naturalness and nobleness.

NATURAL GRANARIES

Between Yeşildere and Taşkale villages, in the the north of the Yeşildere Valley, you can visit the 5-storey Manazan Caves carved by hands on a mass of high rock displaying the samples of community housing of that time. Due to its natural structure, the formed cells and the carved rooms can maintain the various organic crops such as wheat, barley and pulses without deteriorating for a long period of time. Granaries located in Taşkale Village have been completely carved out of human hand since Byzantine period and are still used even in our times.

There is no other example of Taş Mescit located next to these Granaries. It is not worth to leave Taşkale without seeing the İncesu Cave which is one of Turkey's longest caves. The stalactites and stalagmites formed in different colors and the pools formed by water droplets will present a visual ceremony for you.

THE FULL HEART OF STEEP KILIKYA

After about 1.5 hours of enjoyable driving, accompanied by natural pine odours and spectacular views, you reach the city of Ermenek surrounded by canyons and rivers in the heart of the Central Taurus Mountains. The mysterious, steep and impenetrable mountains of Steep Kilikya have always made Ermenek an unique place.

You will not be able to resist the pleasure of the scents coming from regional endemic plants, the glowing blue waters in the middle of the high Taurus Mountains, the spectacular necropolises of ancient cities and the abysmal caves and  the cedar forests inspired the greatest love stories of the history. Karaman is a rare city with number of natural, historical and touristic attractions. In brief,  as famous poet from Karaman, Bekir Sıtkı Erdoğan expressed on one of his poem “Karaman can not be described all by writing;

Go and visit the Imaret, ohh,

Who’s come and gone from time to time

In brief, that the city of Karaman

Can not be described all by writing