Uclerkayasi village offers a glimpse of the lives of Phrygians, boasting open-air temples, rock tombs, living areas in single and multi-story rock-carved houses which are as old as 3,000 years.

Inscribed tentatively on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Phrygia Valley spreads across the capital Ankara and central Eskisehir.
Inscribed tentatively on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Phrygia Valley spreads across the capital Ankara and central Eskisehir. (Abdullah Coşkun / AA)

A hidden gem in the ancient Phrygian Valley has become an alternative tourist destination in western Turkey with its many historical sites and “fairy chimneys”.

Uclerkayasi village in Ihsaniye district of Afyonkarahisar province is a “hidden paradise,” according to Tanju Tetik, head of the Phrygian Culture Foundation.

Tetik said the village carries traces of Phrygian, Hellenic, Galatian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations.

Noting that there are many Phrygian artifacts in their village, he said more tourists are visiting the region with the increased tourism investments under the leadership of Afyonkarahisar Governor Gokmen Cicek.

The village offers a glimpse of the lives of Phrygians with open-air temples, rock tombs, living areas in single and multi-story rock-carved houses, wine cellars, dungeons, king’s tombs and fairy chimneys which are as old as 3,000 years.

A drone photo shows aerial view of Phrygian Valley, located between Afyonkarahisar, Eskisehir, Ankara and Kutahya provinces of Turkey.
A drone photo shows aerial view of Phrygian Valley, located between Afyonkarahisar, Eskisehir, Ankara and Kutahya provinces of Turkey. (Abdullah Coşkun / AA)

“We can call here the mysterious village of the Phrygians. Recently, this mystery has started to slowly disappear,” Tetik said.

Saying that the area has become well-known by the people, he added that Emre Lake and Ayazini village in the region are also famous.

“Local and foreign tourists stop by Uclerkayasi village when they see the rock settlements on the way while visiting these areas. The number of tourists coming to our village is increasing day by day,” he said.

Aziz Ahmet Ozdemir, who runs a restaurant and boutique hotel in the village, said there is a large number of European visitors coming to the region.

A general view of rugged terrain Phrygian Valley composed of volcanic tuff, where ancient Phrygian Civilisation were located during the era of 9th century B.C.
A general view of rugged terrain Phrygian Valley composed of volcanic tuff, where ancient Phrygian Civilisation were located during the era of 9th century B.C. (Abdullah Coşkun / AA)

“Natural habitats, villages and historical places top people’s lists due to the [coronavirus] pandemic,” Ozdemir said.

Inscribed tentatively on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Phrygia Valley spreads across the capital Ankara and central Eskisehir as well as its neighbors in the Aegean region, Kutahya and Afyonkarahisar.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Phrygia is a civilisation that existed in 800 BC and dominated central Anatolia from the Mediterranean Sea to the south and Black Sea to the north.

Source: AA