Sivas, called Sebastea in Roman times, is 440 km (273 miles) east of Ankara and 220 km (137 miles) northeast of Kayseri (map). It was an important Seljuk Turkish city, and has the grand old buildings—excellent examples of Selçuk architecture—to prove it.
Today it’s also a center of Turkish Alevi (Alawite) Islamic culture.
What to See & Do
If you come to Sivas, it will be to see the Seljuk monumentssuch as the Çifte Minare Medrese (Seminary of the Twin Minarets, 1271), the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque, 1197), the Bürüciye and Şifaiye Medreses, and the splendid Gök Medrese (Celestial or Sky-Blue Seminary, 1271). There are also a number of Seljuk türbes (cylindrical tombs) scattered about the town.
A more recent historic building is the site of the Sivas Congress, convened by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) on September 4, 1919, to rally the country to the cause of independence.
Seljuk architecture buffs (I’m one) may make a special trip to the city, but most people find themselves passing through on their way to somewhere else, such as Amasya, Kayseri, Malatya(and Nemrut Dagi) or Erzincan and Erzurum. That’s fine. You can break your trip here, stay overnight, see all there is to see in a half-day, and continue refreshed the next morning.
Metro Turizm runs about eight buses daily between Kayseri and Sivas, taking 90 to 150 minutes, depending on the bus. At least six other bus companies run this route as well.
A high-speed train line is being built from Ankara to Sivas, but right now two daily conventional trains connect Sivas with Ankara, Kayseri and points east and south. The Vangölü/Güney Kurtalan Ekspresi is an evening train. The Doğu Ekspresi comes through Sivas in the middle of the night eastbound, and late at night westbound.
Distances & Travel Times
Adıyaman: 414 km (257 miles) SE, 7 hours
Ankara: 441 km (274 miles) W, 7 hours
Amasya: 221 km (137 miles) NW, 4 hours
Erzincan: 247 km (154 miles) E, 3.75 hours
Erzurum: 439 km (273 miles) E, 7.5 hours
Kayseri: 194 km (121 miles) SW, 3.75 hours
Malatya: 247 km (154 miles) SE, 4 hours
Tokat: 107 km (67 miles) NW, 2 hours
Yozgat (near Boğazkale): 224 km (139 miles) W, 3.5 hours