History of Aksaray, the White Caravanserai of Cappadocia

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Aksaray, one of the most beautiful and significant cities in all of Anatolia, made famous for its architecture and for a particular dog native to these places

The words of Ibn Battuta

“Aksaray, one of the most beautiful and best built cities in Anatolia. Surrounded by gardens and water sources, it is crossed by three rivers which, flowing between the houses, allow you to set up orchards, vineyards and gardens even inside the town , and there the homonymous and unparalleled sheep’s wool carpets are manufactured and exported to Syria, Egypt, Iraq, India, China and in the same Anatolia.”

Ibn Battuta

History of Aksaray

The city was originally founded by the Hittites with the name of Garsaura but under them it was nothing more than a very small village, so much so that it will only be under the kings of Cappadocia who will manage to achieve a certain credit, changing the name to Archelaïs, in honor of Archelaus of Cappadocia, the last independent ruler of these lands. Under the Romans its name will once again be changed, this time to “Cologne”, and it will become an important military and Christian center, to the point that its bishops participated in the vast majority of councils that made the history of the Church. Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the city will pass to the Seljuks of Rum, who will give it new and imposing buildings, almost going to refound it; it is no coincidence that the name Aksaray means “White menagerie” and should refer to the Sultan Han, the largest medieval menagerie in all of Turkey and one of the greatest examples of Seljuk architecture.

Aksaray
The Sultan Han

With the fall of the Seljuks, the city will pass to the Karamanids, which will then in turn be conquered by the Ottomans starting from 1468; the clashes between these two Turkish powers will be so important and significant that about a quarter of the population moved to present-day Istanbul, giving life to the district of Aksaray, placed inside Fatih. Under the Sublime Porte he passed centuries in serenity, then naturally passing to the newborn Republic of Turkey. Aksaray is still famous in the world today for the Aksaray Malaklisi or “Turkish mastiff”, a breed which unfortunately has not yet been recognized by any dog association.

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