Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend Dynasty
Early Period of Anatolian Turkish Heritage: Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend Dynasty is part of the Tentative list of Turkey in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Niksar was the capital of the Danishmendid dynasty who ruled over north-central and eastern Anatolia in the 12th century. Later it joined the Seljuk Sultanate. Notable monuments include its Citadel and the Yağbasan Madrasa. The latter was known for its influential education system and also contributed to the spread of medical science across Anatolia.
Map of Niksar, The Capital of Danishmend DynastyLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Niksar is one of the latest additions to enormous Turkish Tentative list, which may cause suspicion that it might be pushed for inscription soon. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t have visited it if it was not on our long way back from Ani to Istanbul. Visiing Niksar requires a short detour from main road E80 linking Istanbul and Iran.
Before the visit I studied the description on UNESCO site to know what to expect. I learned that Niksar was a capital of Danishmendids, one of several dynasties that established and soon disappeared during the conquest of Turkey. Danishmendids were in power for a century from 1070 to 1178. In Niksar the first madrasa of Anatolia, Yagibasan Madrasa, was open. But the justification of Outstanding Universal Value was so unclear that I could not extract anything outstanding. The most conspicuous building in the Internet was an old bridge so I headed towards it and park my car nearby.
The bridge is eye-catching indeed but its surroundings are quite pleasant too. The center of Niksar is quite well preserved old town with many traditional buildings but nothing really remarkable. The whole town lays on the hill so we climbed up the point where the Yagibasan Madrasa is located. The Madrasa was closed but our climbing has paid off- apart from the nice panorama, there were some ruins open for visiting. There was, however, nothing really outstanding and without photos I would have trouble with reminding any particular points of interest. So in my opinion Niksar has no arguments to become WHS, though visiting the town is not a complete waste of time.
On our way back we tried to visit a building with intriguing name Roma Arsenali. We were again unlucky as the site was closed – it is very easy to miss but on photos it looks quite interesting.
2018 Added to Tentative List
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