Avanos is a sweet county of Cappadocia district which is 18 km away from Nevşehir and on the Aksaray- Kayseri caravan route and even is subjected on the poem of Aşık Seyrani who said: “The blind knows his way too, jug comes out from its fracture”. Kızılırmak, which along history without getting tired of flowing, strolling Middle and Northern Anatolia and ending its definitive path by reaching the Black Sea, created an art community by painting Avanos’ tufted and clayed soil to scarlet. Even so, soil which is getting kneaded like creating a masterwork sculpture, transformed into art by getting shaped into potteries, ceramics and many more. Continuing; with madders acquired from herbs collected from the mountains, rugs are knitted, with grapes wines are made unique to the county.
Also-called “Jack of all trades”, the art county Avanos’ two shores are connected to each other with four paths which are one stone path, one skyway, hand two beltways. Built on 11 mounts, the stone bridge has a history since the 1900s, the wood bridge was made in 1973 and became the second skyway of Turkey. Avanos’ streets which are as narrow as a maze, is surrounded by historical houses made with stockpiling stones. Avanos, which history and nature become together to create a different sight, probably has one of the most fascinating sunsets in the World.
Historical Information about Avanos
Avanos’ known history, which is going back to 2000s BC to Hittites, is presenting a lot of different tastes and views that are unforgettable. According to the research, Avanos was known as Zu- Winasa or Nenassa claimed by different historians. At the ages of Ancient Greece and Byzantine, it was known as Venessa. Venessa was shown as the third most important center after Kayseri and Kemerhisar for the Cappadocia Kingdom and has a religious and political importance origination from Zeus cult.
Rumour has it, Avanos had taken its name from a Seljuk commander called Evranos, and to another rumor from a county, a culture called “Evani”, which is the making of kitchen hardware. However, according to the latest Ottoman documents, the city is known as “Enes” or “Evenez”.
We wouldn’t be lying if we say Avanos is a little heaven for tourists!
Maybe the biggest impact on Avanos’ history is the bowl studios, which create art from soil and artist from human, Inside the caves with carved Stones, watching scarlet soil getting shaped on the ateliers turned by feet encourages lots of tourists to get creative. An ancestor occupation, bowl makings history goes back to Hittites just like Avanos. These studios, turning the soil into handicraft work of arts is one of the “must see” places in Avanos.
Also known as ‘Monks’ Valley’, Paşabağı is actually an entity exhibition of fairy chimneys. Some of the fairy chimneys are still small like a baby, and some at the completion of its entity like an old and wise human being. Taking place in the middle of the valley and having antithetic crosses at the entrance, three-headed fairy chimney is also known as the final resting place of Monk Simeon. This multiple headed and multiple bodied fairy chimneys are some carved into chapels. Inside are little rooms, stove carvings, and windows to allow sunlight inside.
Paşabağı is 3 km away from Avanos and on a walking distance from the centre. White hill just at the right of the road is strongly recommended to those who ask “Where can I find the most beautiful sunset?”
After seeing Paşabağı you can keep following the road and see Zelve Valley filled with sharp-edged fairy chimneys and at 3 km south of Avanos. You can see the most number of fairy chimneys from this valley which is made of three valleys that are almost the same.
Zelve has a historical importance from the aspect that it is one of the most important religious center between the 9th and the 13th centuries. Even though it has 15 churches, the most famous ones are Geyikli, Üzümlü, and Balıklı. Caves that are carved into the Stones, Romans lived until the battle of 1924 and with the movement of Romans to Greece, Turks started to live in this place. Because of the danger occurring from the Stones, the place is evacuated in 1952.
Özkonak Underground City
In Nevşehir Avanos having 4 floors and discovered in 1972, the building date is not known but estimated as 400 BC. This underground city which is built close to where the İdiş Mountain has the most volcanic tuffs, pushes those who see it think “How people managed to build this at those ages?” To live and to create a defense from the enemies, it is built with every little detail that is thought at this modern age. Narrow tunnels connecting with wide exhibitions, doors that are carved with great patience, the little holes that are made to create a path for hot oil at the invasions, capillary canals to provide air are as mysterious as the Egyptian pyramids.
Taking place at 13 km at the North of Avanos, Özkonak Underground City can be reached with private vehicles and public bus’. The district also has lots of caves and mounds!
Discovered near Kızılırmak at Avanos, this tomb is a must see even though it now takes place at the Kayseri Archeological Museum because of its historical importance. The findings are stolen at the times when its gable roof is discovered. This tomb discovered at the district of Nevşehir Cappadocia in 1971 was belonging to a woman with hennaed hair.
A must see in Avanos is this 2nd-century church. The church is open to worshipping with the decision of municipality and the Vatican delegates. The church is reached by walking 1 km West from Avanos.
Taking place on the silk route of Aksaray- Kayseri and in Nevşehir city borders, the last caravansary of Seljuk ages, this Caravansary is taking place 4 km southeast of Avanos and one of the most important stops between İstanbul and Baghdad. It is built in 1249 by II. İzzettin Keykavus to an area of 2000 m².
The most attractive aspect of this Caravansary is the cutoff Stones used in the building. It is built as one floor from pink, yellow and fallow cutoff Stones. Having a pretty stupendous entrance is consisting of an open backyard with rooms on the sides of it and the closed areas which guests tie their horses. This building, giving a sense of a pilgrim illuminating his way with candles, was restored in 1991.
Taking place 15 km southwest of Avanos in Nevşehir, looking like a cowboy hat, Çeç Tumulus is 30 meters tall and still keeping its mystery since the excavation work isn’t done. It is predicted that this tumulus is the tomb of a Byzantine king or someone important like Gordion. The rumor has it, the dog of a shepherd near the Tumulus falls to this hole while chasing a fox and can never get out.
At the Nevşehir road while going from Avanos to Göreme 2 km out of the road a small village built in the Stones Çavuşin is one of the most famous Churches of the area with Güvercinlik and Vaftizci. Even though the fronts are deformed, they harbor figures of Jesus and Christianity.
Güllüdere (Saint Agathangelus) Church
Taking place at the 5 km South of Avanos, you can reach to Güllüdere Church, by following the path to the left pitch of the Güllüdere Valley from Çavuşin Church. Built on an upright tamp, this church is going back to the VI-VII. An apse is added to the building at the centuries of IX-X. At the medallion figure, Jesus and the Bible writers around him can be seen.
15 km away from Avanos at the Özkonak town, this monastery is built by Christians that are escaping from the oppression of the Romans in the VI century. Inside there is a division that the girl and boy students took education, kitchen, dungeon and a bathhouse benefited from Ayazma water. Rumour has it Belha is a beautiful girl of a warden and while bathing in Ayazma water she falls in love with a boy. It is a must go to feel the emotion of the two lovers getting hit with the same arrow in the games that Belha’s father organized for her aspirants. While closeby we recommend seeing the historical oak tree and Genoese Valley.
Historical Avanos Houses
The foundation of the modern architecture is built in the ages of the Anatolian Seljuks. First, the Saruhan Medresah, then the Alaaddin Mosque going back to 1202 is the start of the architecture. A sergeant protecting the inn at the first ages that the Saruhan Medresah is built a prayer room at the North shore of Kızılırmak. With time it is filled by the houses by the immigrants of the near villages, and later this settlement is named as Çavuşin (the name for Sergeant) Starting from these ages that the settlements have started, the Turkish houses of Avanos has a history of 150 years. After the first settlement at Çavuşin, Alaaddin, Bayır, Middle and Upper Districts had Turkish houses built. Turning soil into art, Avanos people gave importance to stone workmanship. Used as old settlement places, the caves had stone houses built with geometrical and herbal adornments carved in. Caves getting washed with the water coming down from İdiş mountain, we only have around 50-60 Turkish houses today. Some of them restored, these houses are one of the must-see places.
In the district that Kızılırmak splits, in the Middle District Zafer Street the Doktor Hacı Nuri Bey Mansion is one of the most fascinating houses. It has an architecture unique to Nevşehir’s Cappadoccia houses and 3 floors. It first became a home for TV shows and movies, and then a school. At one of the wooden balconies, you can see the building date of 1902 under one of the “Maşallah” writings.
In the Upper District Çarşı Street, Tevfik Körükçü Mansion is one of the few still-going Avanos houses. It is two floored and built without a yard. Under the Maşallah writing, the building date is 1903.
Again taking place in the Upper District İlyas Street Ahmet Benzer House has two floors and no yard and built-in 1903.
Near the Middle District Alaaddin bathhouse, Mustafa Erdil House’s building is done at the ends of the 19th century. This two floored house has a small balcony.
In the Middle District Cerit Street, Hikmet Cingi House (Postman Hikmet’s Mansion) is built in 1859, and this makes it one of the oldest Avanos houses. Different from the other houses, it has a well inside it and is operated as a boutique hotel since 2013.