Sebestia and Sipas were of the names of Sivas, which rests in the east of Central Anatolia, in old times. Sipas meant three pores. From these pores, springs of gratitude, indebtedness and tenderness had flown into the city.
Sivas, whose history went back to Chalcolithic Age, is a district which was on Historical King Way in Lydian period. The findings of Pilir and Tepecik mounds point to Chalcolithic (5500- 3000 B.C.) and Bronze (3000- 2000 B.C.) ages. The region which became a Hittite settlement after 2000 B.C. lived afterwards Frig, Lydia, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Anatolia Seljuk, Ilhanli and Ottoman periods. The city, in which the foundations of Turkey Republic were established during Sivas Congress on 4 September 1919 under the presidency of Ataturk, has an important place in Turkey’s history.
The districts of Sivas are: Akincilar, Altinyayla, Divrigi, Dogansar, Geremek, Golova, Gurun, Hafik, Imrali, Kangal, Koyulhisar, Susehri, Sarkisla, Ulas, Yildizeli ve Zara.
Archeology and Stone Monuments Museum
In the museum, which is located in Buruciye Madrasah that was built in 1271, Islamic epigraphs are exhibited in the garden beside archeological monuments.
Congress Building, Ataturk and Ethnography Museum
The building, which was the command center of National Movement between 2 September– 18 December 1919, was opened as a museum in 1990. The building is with three floors and internal court and shows the 19th century civilian architecture characteristics. The building, which has stone exterior and wooden interior decoration, has importance as it hosted the historical Sivas Congress. In the ethnography museum in the basement, Ottoman weapons, coins, nice slabs of calligraphy art, paintings, carpets, rugs, prayer rugs, copper utensils like round trays, ewers, cauldrons, flasks, copper dishes, shallow cooking pans, colanders, candlesticks, tap ringlets, weight measures, locks and door knobs, lodge goods and outfits of Sivas region. On the upper floor, Ataturk and Congress Museum, in which documents about Ataturk, Sivas Congress and National Movement are exhibited, exists. The historical Congress Hall and study and rest rooms of Ataturk are kept as they were in the days of the Congress.
Work continues for arranging the two floor building, which is a sample of the 19th century civil architecture and was made of smooth cut stone as museum.
Inonu Ethnography Museum
The house in which Inonu stayed during his visit to Sivas was turned into a museum.
Asik Veysel Museum
The house in which famous troubadour Asik Veysel who lived in 1884- 1973 was born and lived is in Sivrialan village of Sarkisla district. In the museum, goods used by Asik Veysel, regional textile and photographs are exhibited. The poems of the country wide famous troubadour also exist in the museum.
Ulu Mosque which is in the center of the city was built in 1197. The mosque which was made of cut stone in rectangular plan and was covered with flat roof has a plain work. Joint geometric motifs draw attention on the stone niche. The mosque, which has a great interior space with 11 falcons and 50 solid pedestals perpendicular to the Kiblah, has 2 outer niches and a rectangular court. In the middle of the cylindrical minaret which is made of brick and was erected on an octagon basement, netted kufi Koran verses cut out of turquoise tiles exist. Under the balcony of the minaret, which is dated to year 1213 and is climbed with 116 steps, a second epigraph belt wraps around.
The mosque which rests in Centrum in Seljuk Park was built in 1580. It is a good sample showing the characteristics of Ottoman period mosques because of its plan, architecture, style, decoration items and thin, tall and elegant minaret. The building with a square plan is covered with a dome covered with lead. The niche and pulpit of the mosque, whose body walls, a drum with twelve corners and a cylinder with sixteen corners are made of cut stone, are made of marble. In northwest corner, with its convex stone pedestal, the minaret with sixteen corners which is made of brick is erected. The above of the honeycomb part ends with a pointed cone which is lead covered outside.
The mosque which was built with a rectangular plan in 1564 was made of cut stone and is covered with an oblique roof.
The mosque, which was built in 1589, has dome and is plain, has niche decorated with a belt in the shape of three clovers with mukarnas decorations.
The mosque which was built in 1792 is covered with wooden roof outdoor and dome indoor. It has a minaret with single balcony.
Divrigi Kale Mosque
The mosque with date 1180- 1181 is a monument of Mengucekogullari, has a rectangular plan and has no court. The stone and brick decorations of portal niche and epigraphs are very attractive. The borders on the portal are turned into a geometric composition by the nodes formed by the intersection of the hexagons. Turquoise tiles, star joints, curly branch, rumi and palm motifs and portalin are other items of decorations. This small building with a known history and unspoiled plan is plain and affective inside in spite of the decorative richness outside.
Divrigi Ulu Mosque and Hospital
Divrigi Ulu Mosque and its Hospital with date 1229 is the most important monuments of Mengucekliler. The buildings with two different functions were built side by side. The side-to-side buildings, in which the most qualified samples of stone and wooden work are observed, in Worlds Heritage List in architectural view and has been taken into protection by UNESCO. The buildings which cover a space of 1280 square meters are entered through three doors with admirable stone decorations. Especially the decorations of Hospital door are unique. The branches, leaves and curly lines, fine flowers, rumis, star shapes, palms, lotus, circular mirrors, prismatic mukarnas motifs, double headed eagle and human headed figures on the doors which extend over the front give motion to the sedate and calm scene of the of the fronts. The middle one of the five falcons which is perpendicular to the niche front was made larger and higher. The dome which has twelve sections and oversees all structures in front of the niche is covered with a pointed cone in the shape of a polygon pyramid. The ebony pulpit which is formed by the arrangement of panels with fine rumis and curly branches as geometric stars is marvellous. The stone niche which is in a huge plain decoration is unique with its great plastic palms and strong moldings. The Hospital behind the niche was designed as a place with four sheds, a lantern in the middle, with two rooms in each corner and a cover above. The place in north east corner of the Hospital which has connection with the mosque is tomb. In the tomb, ’’Ya Allah’’ scripture with golden veneer on half turquoise tiles and motifs similar to rumis are observed. These structures, which are the most important samples of the early period architecture in Anatolia, are unique samples with their plans, architectural ratios, balance and coherency of their decorative and cover systems. If you have any chance to visit Divrigi Ulu Mosque and Hospital, you must give yourselves a long time to examine this building.
The Hospital which was built by Seljuk Sultan Keykavus II in 1217 has four sheds. Around the outdoor court surrounded with arcades, there are rooms with ovens and long dormitories. It is the one with the biggest dimensions among Anatolian Seljuk hospitals. It was converted to Madrasah in 18th century. Hospitals were the application places for the courses taught in medical madrasahs. Optical, internal, dermatologic and mental diseases were cured. The structure in which stones and bricks were used together, has lion and bull relief on the left and right sides of the scuttle of the convex portal. An epigraph belt wraps inside the niche. The woman figure with long hair of the figures on two sides of the ruined shed vault is above crescent and the other figure, the man head is above sun rays. The windows on both sides of the shed have geometric frames. Portal, windows, main shed window, main shed front are decorated with stars. Blue, white, turquoise, dark blue geometric joints, stars and netted kufis made with the technique of tile mosaic and brick mixture are attractive.
Cifre Minare (Double Minaret) Madrasah
Cifte Minare Madrasah, which is just across Sifaiye Madrasah, was built in 1271. The east front of the madrasah in which hadith science was taught survived. The madrasah, which has portal with two minarets in front, windows on both sides and corner towers, is understood to have two floors and four sheds. The double minarets which rise over the portal are made of bricks and are decorated with tiles. In the stone decorations on the monumental front, an understanding which hesitates to repeat the same decoration draws attention. On the front, which is alive, active and on which light and shadow motion is felt, in a three-section niche on the left of the portal, the name of the architect is written in a way too much destroyed to read. It is thought that the architect is Koluk bin Abdullah.
The Madrasah, which was built in 1271, has two floors and 24 rooms as told in the old sources. Today, the structure has single floor and three sheds. It is called as Gok Madrasah because of the blue tiles on the two minarets, which are made of bricks, on the portal. It has a striking architectural appearance with its double minaret monumental portal, the three section beam on the left of the portal, fountain which has an epigraph of two lines and a geometric border circulating three directions and corner towers decorated with relief. All these items bring activity to the front and increase the affect. There are two relieves showing the heads of twelve animals in ancient Turkish animal calendar on the two corners of the beam of the marble portal. Scripture, geometric and herbal motifs showing the characteristics of Anatolian Seljuk decoration art were arranged symmetrically on the marble surface of the minaret pedestals. The square plan room on the left of the entrance is Dar-ul Hadis; the square place on the right is a little mosque which has a dome decorated with tiles. On both sides of the court, there are arcades with seven orifices. The arcade beams are made of stone, the arches of the sheds are made of bricks. The interiors of northern and southern sheds are decorated with tiles. The presence of a pool with 22 corners in the middle of the court of the madrasah, where astronomy science was taught, is understood from the marble stoned here.
Buruciye Madrasah, which was built in the same period with Double Minaret Madrasah and Gok Madrasah (1271), is important for stone work on the portal and tiles of the tomb on the left of the entrance. Positive sciences were taught in the madrasah. The structure, which was built having two floors, has only basement today. The extending tags on the portal of the madrasah, which is understood to have a library from its foundation, are outstanding. The corner towers on the two corners of the front, windows and scripture belt bring activity. Star, herbal and geometric motifs were embroided like lacework. Other than the entrance gate, the interior front across the court represents the most beautiful pieces of Seljuk stone work. There are a tomb, which is decorated with blue and black tiles, on the left hand side of the entrance and a little mosque on the right hand side.
Izzettin Keykavus Tomb
Izzettin Keykavus, who got sick at a young age, was buried in the tomb at Sifaiye with respect to his testament. The sovereign who was good natured, a scholar and a poet, gave importance to medicine and doctors. The geometric joints, stars, kufi scripture and blue, dark blue, turquoise, white tile decorations on the bright red brick front of the tomb. The plain and firm brick technique within the dome, geometric tile and black bordered white joints on the sarcophagus of the sultan and other sarcophagi are outstanding. The tomb is the first great work of Seljuk brick and tile mosaic decorations.
Divrigi Sitte Melik Cupola
The cupola with building date 1106 is made of cut stone with pyramidal cone on octagon pedestal. It is an original structure with narrow and long niches having various decorations on the front. Its epigraph was written with relief sulus of curly branch rumis. The structure is the most beautiful grave-monument of 12th century in for the sake of building and fashion.
Seyh Hasan Bey Cupola
The 14th century tomb in the Centrum has a cylindrical brick body over a square pedestal. As it looks like a short minaret, it is called by the public as “Squat Minaret“.
Ahi Emir Ahmed Tomb
The tomb across Kursunlu Turkish bath was built in the first half of 14th century. The tomb which was made of cut stone completely has octagon body and pyramidal cone on square pedestal.
Samud Baba Tomb
The tomb 10 km away from Kangal in Teke village was built in 1573. The tomb, which was built on hexagon plan with cut stone, is covered with brick dome inside and pyramid cone outside. Inside, cylindrical plan rises above circular plan. The surroundings of the tomb are graveyard.
Abdulvahab Gazi Tomb
It is a tomb which honoured and visited much by the public. It belongs to Abdulvahab Gazi, who was one of the saints of the period in which Anatolia was conquered. Visitors come to this tomb and pray to get rid of bad habits and stay away from misfortune and bad luck.
Semseddin Sivasi Tomb
The tomb in the northwest direction of Meydan Mosque, located in the court of the mosque was built in 1600. The tomb which was made of cut stone has single dome having an octagon hoop outside. There are 20 sarcophagi more in the tomb other than the one of Semseddin Sivasi, who was a scholar having many works.
Other tombs in Sivas district are Seyh Coban Tomb, Kadi Burhanettin Tomb, Akkas Baba Tomb, Arap Evliya Tomb and Sut Evliya Tomb of 14th century.
INNS, TURKISH BATHS, BRIDGES
The Inn which was built in 1576 is structure made of cut stone, having two floors and an outdoor court, rooms behind court and a stable. The entrance front is in the south of the building which has a pointed beam and is extended outwards. Two windows having three sections above the entrance and lion motifs on left and right hand sides of the windows are attractive.
It was ordered to be built between 1150- 1180 by Seljuk Sovereign Alaeddin Keykubat. The structure which was built beside the historical Byzantine fortress is made of black and white cut stone. The building which is composed of mosque, Inn and walls is on Sivas-Malatya road (Silk Road). It was repaired in 17th century in Ottoman period. The building which was restored by Ministry of Culture in 1967 stands firmly today
Other Inns in Sivas are Subasi Inn, Corapci Inn, Burmali Inn in Divrigi, Mircinge Inn, Tashan and Latif Inn on Sivas- Kayseri road.
Meydan Turkish bath across Meydan Mosque was built in 16th century. It has four sheds and is covered with dome. The biggest Turkish bath of Sivas, Kursunlu Turkish bath was ordered to be built by in 1576 Behram Pasha. The structure which was built as double Turkish baths with its men and women sections adjacent shows the characteristics of classical Ottoman Turkish baths. The Turkish bath which was made of cut stone is still used today.
Other important Turkish baths are ruins of Kale Turkish Bath, Mehmet Ali Turkish bath, old Pasha Turkish Bath, Cay Turkish Bath (Sutlu Hanim) and Sirinoglu Turkish Bath.
Yildiz Bridge on 30th km of Sivas- Ankara road, on Yildiz River is a Seljuk period work. The bridge with 70 meters of length of pavement has 13 water-holes with pointed beams.
Egri Bridge, which is located in 3 km south east of Sivas on Kizilirmak, has 18 arches. The biggest arch of the bridge which is 179,60 meters long and 4,55 meters wide is 7,70 meters wide.
Kesik Bridge, which is in 10 km southwest of Sivas, is a 13th century Seljuk structure. It has 17 water-holes and 2 sections.
Bogaz Bridge which has 6 water holes with pointed archs is in 10 km east of Sivas.
Halil Rifat Pasa Bridge in Yesilkale village of Alacahan was built in 1882. The bridge which has single water hole with pointed arch is 4.15 meters high, 3,80 meters wide and 10,50 meters long.
Everybody knows the spas of Sivas. Many people come to Sivas every year to benefit from these spas.
Kangal Balikli Spas
It is located in Kavak Stream Valley which 3 km away from Kangal. Thousands of fish live in its water with the biggest one being 10 cm. They help the dermatological diseases like pimples, wounds, eczema and psoriasis to recover by cleaning the wounds. Around the people entering the pool in the spa, thin, brown, grey and beige fish of types carp and goby fish wander and clean the zones on the skin with disease symptoms. These fish with no teeth tear off the wound scabs which have been softened by the warm water having a temperature of 36- 37 Celsius degrees. And they continue this process until the skin becomes smooth. (For detailed information about this spa, Thermal Tourism section can be examined.)
The spa, which is 31 km away from Sivas, is told to be beneficial for rheumatism, nerve and muscle diseases, gynaecological, dermatological and kidney diseases. There are catering and accommodation facilities.
The water temperature of the spa which is 17 km away from Sivas is 28 Celsius degrees. If the water is drunk, it is beneficial for the diseases of stomach, intestines and gall bladder. It is also beneficial for the treatment of rheumatism and neurological diseases.
In Susehri (Akcaagil Cermik), Sarkisla (Ortakoy Cermik, Alaman Cermik) and Yildizeli districts, there are spas serving the regional people.
Kangal dogs, whose homeland is Kangal district of Sivas, are the best watch dogs of the world. Their characteristics which make them the best are their unique power of intuition. These dogs feel the bad intentions immediately and they only paralyze the ones with bad intentions. Even they notice the conversion of good intentions into bad intentions. ‘Kangal dogs’ are preferred guard and shepherd dogs which are very brave, quite fast and agile, very clever, have strong foresight and are very loyal to their owners and duties. Their properties like intelligence, reliability, carefulness, protection, power, speed and courage are at top level. As they are the best friends of the farmers who earn their lives with sheep breeding and as their care and feed are very easy, they are extant without losing their racial characteristics. Among the dog species on the world, it is the only one which can oppose the wolves. If you happen to go to Kangal district, you can visit a farm in which these charming and warm animals are breed. Kangal District will provide you with the necessary information.
OTHER CULTURAL AND TOURISTIC VALUES
There are nearly fifty caves in Demiryurt village of Zara. The caves which are ordered as side by side or in floors and were used as accommodations before Christianity are understood to have been used later on.
Kose Mountains which are extensions of Northern Anatolia Mountain Chain, Tecer Mountains which are branches of Taurus Mountains and Incebel Mountains, Ak Mountains and Yama Mountain are the mountains of the city.
The important rivers are Kizilirmak, Kelkit Brook, Tozanli Brook, Calti Brook and Tohma Brook.
Other than Egricimen Plateau, which is 20 km away from Koyulhisar and is covered with pines, there are plateus like Dumanlica Plateau, Saricicek Plateau, Kalinpinar Plateau, Arpacik Plateau, Kengercik Plateau, Topalan Plateau and Bas Plateau.
Ethem Bey Park, Akdegirmen Picnic Zone, Sizir Fall, Koyunkaya Promenade, Egricimen Plateau are favourite picnic and refreshment zones.
As well as Gurun Gokpinar Lake, Hafik Lake, Lota Lakes, Todurge Lake, Sizir Fall on Goksu Brook and Karacayir Forest are promenades, they are worth to see for their natural beauties.
Koyulhisar Egricimen Plateau, Kose Mountain, Sizir Fall, Eskikoy Ruins, Sizir and Dogansar Plateaus, Yildiz Mountain and Caldagi are suitable places for trekking.
On the rugged and steep ground of Sivas, which is between three regions, animals like partridge, quail, charnois and rabbit live. There are graylags on all lakes, coots in reeds and cranes on Lake Todurge. Lakes and rivers are rich for angling.
The meal varieties of the Sivas province mostly depend on the cereals. Food like pounded wheat, draught, noodles, kadayif, tomato paste, dired vegetables are prepared. Kes, peskutan, curd are the meal varieties produced from the milk products. In summer seasons ayranli, pancarli soup, madimak, evelik, dugurcek meal; in winters pastries as tirhit, subura, kelecos, tarhana, icli kofte, hingel are consumed at the region. The Sivas kebab is also famous. The common bread varieties cooked locally are kul patty, fodla, kombe cooked with potato or cheese, kete, lavas and yufka.
Entirely woollen and tightly knitted carpets, famous Sivas pileless carpets, bed clothing and wall decorations produced from a special clothing called tuluce, hand weaved socks, wooden mouthpieces, combs, jackknives and knifes, copper crafts and silver jewellery are original souvenir varieties of Sivas province. The shopping centers are mostly massed at the Ataturk Avenue. The major shopping malls are Sifaiye Madrasah building, Belediye Bazaar, and Jewellers Bazaar and Pasha Mosque environment. www.sivas.bel.tr www.sivas.gov.tr