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Afyon: a view of the spectacular castle dominating the city

Afyon's official name, as decreed by Turkish parliament in 2004, is Afyonkarahisar meaning Opium Black Fortress. The production of opium for pharmaceutical purposes is still the most important activity for the agricultural sector of the region. Afyon produces more than a third of the world's legally grown opium. But in Turkey, Afyon is really famous for the production of kaymak (clotted cream). Kaymak is the rich cream produced by cattle that are fed the left-over opium plants. Afyon also played an important role during the Turkish War of Independence. In August 1922, the Turks decisively destroyed the Greek expeditionary army in the so-called Battle of the Commander-in-Chief (guess who?), at nearby (40 km to the west) Dumlupinar.

The skyline of Afyon is dominated by the black, craggy rock topped with the large citadel (kale or hisar. The first stronghold here is thought to have been built by the Hittite king Mursilis II around 1350 BC. Contemporary restoration made the original kara hisar disappear. There are 700 steps leading to the 226 m high summit. The Imaret Camii was built for Gedik Ahmet Pasha in 1472. The design of the mosque demonstrates the transition from Seljuk to Ottoman architecture, with its fluted minaret dashed with zigzagging blue Iznik tiles so typical for Seljuk style.

During our 2003 Turkey tour, we arrived in Afyon coming from Ankara after a bus drive of about 4 hours. We were very lucky to stay in the Grand Özer Termal Otel, Afyon's best hotel. The hotel asks a reasonable price of about 30 Euro (about 35 US dollar) for a single room, breakfast included. For this price we got a nice room with air-conditioning and sattelite TV, a buffet style breakfast and, last but not least, access to the thermal swimming pool in the basement. The Grand Özer Termal Otel (Tel +90-(0)272 214 33 00, e-mail: email.grandozer@turk.net or email.info@grandozer.com ) is located at the Süleyman Gönçer Caddesi No. 2 near the main square Hükümet Meydanı.

Here are the photos of Afyon, click on the thumbnails to see a greater picture

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