Niğde (NEE-deh, alt. 1216 m, 3990 feet, pop. 70,000), a farming center, is famous for a Turkish proverb: “If there’s no market at Niğde, go on to Bor.” In other words, if you go in search of something, don’t give up. Persevere!
Among Niğde’s historic buildings is the Seljuk TurkishAlaeddin Mosque (1223), on the hill with the fortress; the fascinating Süngür Bey Mosque, built by the Seljuks but extensively modified (1335) by the Mongols, of all people. The Ak Medrese (1409) is in post-Seljuk, quasi-Mongol style.
Niğde’s museum houses the mummified remains of a blonde Byzantine nun of the 900s discovered in the church-filled Ihlara Valley.
The troglodyte monastery is at Eski Gümüşler, 10 km (6 miles) east of Niğde’s center (map):
The city’s famous market still takes place on Thursday around the city’s clock tower near the hill with the fortress and Alaeddin Mosque, so if you plan ahead you won’t need to continue to Bor, 10 km (6 miles) to the southwest.
Most people stop here for just part of a day to see the mosques and Eski Gümüşler on their way to somewhere else.
—by Tom Brosnahan