Welcome to Niğde, the capital city of Niğde Province located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. With a population of 170,511 as of 2022, Niğde is a small yet charming city surrounded by lush green spaces and gardens. The city has a rich history and has been settled by various civilizations including the Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, Romans, Byzantines, and Turks. Niğde is located near ancient trade routes, particularly the road from Kayseri to the Mediterranean coast and the Cilician Gates. Even today, the city serves as a crossroads for various destinations.
Niğde has a cold semi-arid climate, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. The town is located between the volcanic Melandiz Mountains and the Niğde Massif, which contains abandoned antimony and iron mines. The town is also famous for its white crystalline marble which is extracted from the several marble quarries.
In the town of Niğde, there are several medieval monuments scattered around the center of the town, especially around the market place. Some of the must-visit sites include the Sungur Bey Mosque, a unique early 14th-century mosque in the town center that combines elements of Selçuk and Gothic architecture, the Alaaddin Mosque, a 13th-century mosque whose portal is decorated with muqarnas, the Hudavend Hatun Türbe, the finest of several Selçuk tombs in the center of Niğde, and the Ak Medrese (White Medrese), built-in 1409 during the years when the Karamanoğlu dynasty ruled Niğde. The town also has a castle, the Niğde Castle (Niğde Kalesi), which looms above the town and dates back to Selçuk times. Its interior is now a public park. The Niğde Archaeological Museum is also worth a visit, with the Niğde Stele as one of its star attractions.
For those venturing outside the town, the Eski Gümüşler Monastery is a rock-cut frescoed monastery built by the Byzantines and contains unique paintings of stories from Aesop’s Fables. The Kemerhisar, the site of ancient Tyana, is especially noted for a lengthy surviving stretch of Roman aqueduct. The Aladağlar and Bolkar Mountains are popular with mountaineers and trekkers, while the Çiniligöl Çiftehan thermal springs offer a relaxing experience.
More recent immigrants include Turks from Bulgaria and other Balkan countries, who were settled here by the Turkish authorities in the 1950s and 1960s. The opening of Niğde University in 1992 started to bring more cultural and social amenities to what was at the time essentially a large town with a rather rural feel to it.
With its rich history, natural beauty, and unique architecture, Niğde is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Come and experience the charm of this city for yourself!