Eskişehir, Turkey

Eskişehir, 324 km (201 miles) southeast of Istanbul, and 233 km (145 miles) west of Ankara (map), is an important industrial and transport center in western Turkey, but its claim to fame is meerschaum.

The soft white stone which mineralogists call sepiolite(hydrous magnesium silicate, called lületasi in Turkish) is mined in nearby villages and carved into beads, necklaces, earrings and especially tobacco pipes.

Though its name means “Old City,” what you’ll see of present-day Eskişehir (ess-KEE-sheh-heer, alt. 730 meters/2400 feet, pop. 800,000) is mostly modern, though the Roman city of Dorylaeum was located here or nearby.

Meerschaum Carver, Eskisehir, Turkey
master carver making pipes
from the soft white mineral.

Assuming that you’re not interested in visiting factories making cement, locomotives and sugar, and are not allowed into the big Turkish Air Force base on the outskirts, you’ll spend your time seeing its several museums: Archeology, Ethnography, Ottoman House and Lületaşı (Meerschaum) Museum. The local produce markets are fun. More…

In other words, without a keen interest in meerschaum, There’s not much to hold you in Eskişehir.

South of the city 42 km (26 miles) at Seyitgazi is the tomb complex of Seyit Battal Gazi, an Umayyad military commander who led his Arab army against the Byzantines in 717-740 AD.

South of Seyitgazi was ancient Phrygia, ruled by King Midas around 725 BC. The most impressive remaining monument is at Midas Şehri (Yazılıkaya). More…

Bus and train service to Eskisehir is frequent. The trains on the main Istanbul-Ankara, Istanbul-İzmir and Istanbul-Konya runs come through here. More…


Distances & Travel Times

Afyon: 190 km (118 miles) N, 3 hours

Ankara: 232 km (144 miles) E, 3.75 hours

Bursa: 148 km (92 miles) W, 2.25 hours

Istanbul: 330 km (205 miles) NW, 4.75 hours

İzmir412 km (256 miles) NE, 6 hours

Konya: 333 km (207 miles) SE, 5 hours

Kütahya: 78 km (49 miles) SW, 1.5 hours

—by Tom Brosnahan


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