West of Cappadocia, over the mountains, lies Kayseri, known as Caesarea in Roman times. The city spreads out at the foot of Mt. Erciyes (3916 meters), an extinct volcano. In the winter months the ski center has excellent runs for downhill skiers. Close to the Byzantine fortress the 13th century Huant Mosque and Medrese and the Mahperi Hatun Mausoleum comprise the first Seljuk complex in Anatolia.
South of the complex stand the beautifully decorated Döner Kumbet of 1276, the Archaeological Museum and the Kosk Medrese, a Mongol building of classic simplicity. A major Seljuk city, Kayseri was an important center of learning and consequently there are many medreses among the remaining historical buildings. Those interested in this particular architectural form should see the Cifte Medrese, the first medieval school of anatomy and the lovely Sahabiye Medrese. Near the city’s bedestan is the restored 12th century Ulu Mosque.
The Haci Kilic Mosque, north of the Cifte Medrese, dates from 1249. Rugs woven in finely knotted floral patterns continue a centuries old tradition. Local production can be purchased in any of the town’s carpet shops. South of Kayseri, in Develi, stand three more important Seljuk buildings: the Ulu Mosque, the Seyid-i Serif Tomb and the Develi Tomb. Nearby, the Sultan Marshes, the habitat of many species of bird, are of interest both to ornithologists and nature lovers.
North of Kayseri, Kultepe, known in ancient times as Kanesh or Karum was one of the earliest Hittite commercial trade cities. Today, however, only the foundations remain. Many of the finds can be examined in the Kultepe Museum as well as in the Kayseri Archaeological Museum. On the same road is Sultan Han, a caravanserai built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the early 13th century and a favourite stop for tourists.