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FRİG VADİSİ (PHRYGIAN VALLEY)

FVadi1Most people are familiar with the stunning Cappadocian landscape, but far fewer visit the almost equally beautiful Phrygian Valley (Frig Vadisi) in western Anatolia even though it harbours the finest relics of the lost civilization of King Midas, the king with the famous golden touch.

The Phrygian Valley is not really so much one valley as an area spread out between Seyitgazi, Kütahya and Afyon, with its focal point at Midas Şehri (Yazılıkaya village). This was the heartland of the Phrygians, an Indo-European people who seem to have moved into Anatolia from Thrace c.1200 BC and who flourished especially in the seventh and sixth centuries BC.

Despite the shortage of visitors, the Phrygian sites south of Seyitgazi are well signposted. Most are huge chunks of rock which, like those of Cappadocia, have been scooped out to create homes, and which have similarly fanciful names according to their shape. Particularly worth a detour from the main road are the so-called Doğankale (Falcon Castle) and the Deveboyukale (Height-of-a-Camel Rock).

After visiting Midas Şehri you should divert west to drowsy little Kümbet to see the fine Arslan Kaplan Kümbet.

Continuing south towards Afyon it’s also worth bearing west to Doğer, a sleepy small town whose imposing caravanserai dating back to 1434 will probably be locked. FVadilake

Just south of Doğer, at Üçlerkayası, you’ll stumble on a mini-Cappadocia of rock-cut caves and fairy chimneys. Not far away is pretty Lake Emre, overlooked by the ruins of an old dervish tekke and a great place for a picnic.

The direct route to Afyon heads south via İhsaniye but with time it’s worth heading towards Alanyurt in the east, a route which will take you past more fine carved Phrygian tombs including the Aslantaş (Lion Stone) and Yılantaş (Snake Stone).

Eventually you will wind up in Ayazini, once the rock-cut settlement of Metropolis, where forgotten Cappadocian-style churches have been carved out of the rock.

FVadilionsAslantaşThe best thing about a drive through the Phrygian Valley is getting the feeling that you are making discoveries of your own. There are many more sites dotted about than are mentioned here - to do justice to the area it’s best to set aside at least two days, basing yourself in Eskişehir or Kütahya for the first night and Afyon for the second.

To see the area at its glorious best, time your trip for late May/early June when the surrounding fields will be awash with fragile purple and white poppies.

Hüseyin Sarı's Frig Yürüyüş Yolu/Phrygian Way describes the newly waymarked Phrygian Way. The best source of information on the local monuments is CH Emilie Haspels' The Highlands of Phrygia.

Sleeping

The Phrygian Valley is not well served with accommodation. You will need to stay in nearby Eskişehir, Kütahya or Afyon. There is also a lot of rather uninviting accommodation available in the small thermal resort of Gazlıgöl north of Afyon on the road to Seyitgazi. 

Transport info

To do justice to the area you really need a car. Without one, you can take a bus from Eskişehir to Seyitgazi or from Afyon to İhsaniye and then organize a private taxi. Otherwise, be prepared for plenty of walking.FrigvadifallenlionAslantaş

Day trip destinations

Ayazin

Doğer

Emre Gölü (Lake Emre)

Göynüş Vadisi

İhsaniye

Kayıhan

Kümbet

Midas Şehri

Seyitgazi

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