Eskisehir is one of the oldest settlements (3500 BC) in this region of Anatolia. It was founded in the 1st millennium BC by the Phrygians. The Porsuk River and its banks have been a proper foundation place. The city is of interest with its museums; the Archaeological Museum which houses the Phrygian objects and sculptures; the Ottoman House Museum which is a very fine example of the 19th century domestic architecture and has the local ethnographical items.
There are three significant tombs around Eskisehir. These are Sheik Edibali Tomb, The Kumbet Baba Tomb, and The Cupola of Alemsah. Phrygian Valley, The Falcon Fortress, The Unfinished Monument, and the Gerdek Rock are other historical sites to visit. In Eskisehir you will frequently see items made of meerschaum stone since this is the place where it originates. You will see the best meerschaum stone works at the Meerschaum Museum; it is a very light white stone and mostly used to make smoking pipes. The Rug and Seyitgazi Museums have many samples of different kinds of kilims and hand-knit socks and stockings.
In Eskisehir there is opportunity to have good time at Sakaryabasi where there is a spring lake and fresh fish restaurants in which you can also find traditional Turkish meals.
Outside Eskisehir is Sivrihisar (Justinianopolis) full of typical Ottoman houses and famous for its kilims. Seyit Battal Gazi (Nakoleia) is 45 km south of Eskisehir. The mosque complex on the hill was built to pay homage to the Islamic hero Seyit Battal.
The Yunus Emre Village is the burial place of the world famous great poet of the 13th century, Yunus Emre. There is a commemorative tomb built for him as well as a museum, and celebrations are held here every May.
"Birth Festivities" which are dedicated to Nasreddin Hoca, a humor master and public philosopher, is organized in Eskisehir every year in the last week of June.
117 kms from Ankara, on the Eskisehir road and 16 kms to the right you will find the Phrygian city Pessinus, its contemporary name is Ballihisar.
There you will see the Temple of Cybele
- the mother goddess, and an open-air museum housing interesting sculptures
found in this ancient Phrygian cult center, which
was built in the 10th century BC.
One of the most important settlement centers of the Phrygians, between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, was Midas, situated 66 kms south of Eskisehir.
At this place of distant past, stands the ancient city with an acropolis overlooking the lower land. On its northwestern side are two open-air cult temples, carved into the rock, and the most interesting sight in the area.
There are rock tombs and Phrygian inscriptions nearby, and a recently discovered underground tunnel which links the site to the valley extending below. The Midas Monument which was built in dedication to Cybele lies to the northwest of the ancient city.
Three tombs in the environs of Midas which are found at Kucuk Yazilikaya, Sutunlu Kale and Doganli Kale are especially remarkable. Kumbet and Deveboynu are other towns close to Midas, and visitors can enjoy the Phrygian monuments spread over these neighboring lands.
Lületasi (Meerschaum stone)
The major local art in Eskisehir is Meerschaum, called as "white gold" or "aktas" or "patal" by locals. Working with meerschaum is a handicraft and special to this province.
It is an ore in sandy-clay soil at 10-14 meters depth.
It forms between 40-60 meters depth. It is an ore existing in clay.
Meerschaum with the highest quality forms in Conglomerate series and it exists in 80-130 meters depth fitting with the topography. Other kinds of meerschaum are: cotton-piece, granular cast, unit unity and puny.
Export of Meerschaum has brought
800-900 US dollars income between years 1978-1987. In addition to tobacco pipes,
products like chess sets, bracelets, necklaces and earrings have an important
ratio in export. Foreign customers are USA, Austria, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
Nowadays, the amount of export is at least USD 1-1.5 million a year.
Furthermore, some value is added to Turkish economy by selling handworks made
by Meerschaum to tourists visiting Turkey.