The hidden gem of Phrygia becomes a tourist hub
A hidden gem in the ancient Phrygian valley has become an alternative tourist destination in western Turkey with many historical places and ‘fairy chimneys’.
Üçlerkayası village in İhsaniye district of Afyonkarahisar province is a “hidden paradise”, according to Tanju Tetik, director of the Phrygian Culture Foundation.
The village bears traces of Phrygian, Hellenic, Galatian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations, Tetik said.
Noting that there are many Phrygian artifacts in their village, he said more tourists are visiting the area with increased tourism investment under the leadership of Governor of Afyonkarahisar Gökmen Çiçek.
The village offers a glimpse into Phrygian life with open-air temples, rock tombs, living spaces in single- and multi-storey rock-carved houses, wine cellars, dungeons, royal tombs and 3,000-year-old fairy chimneys.
“One can call here the mysterious village of the Phrygians. Recently this mystery has started to slowly disappear, ”said Tetik.
Stating that the area has become well known to the people, he added that Lake Emre and the village of Ayazini in the area are also famous.
“Local and foreign tourists stop at the village of Üçlerkayası when they see the rock settlements along the way when visiting these areas. The number of tourists who come to our village is increasing day by day, ”he said.
Aziz Ahmet Özdemir, who runs a restaurant and boutique hotel in the village, said large numbers of European visitors come to the area.
“Natural habitats, villages and historic places are at the top of peoples’ lists due to the [coronavirus] pandemic, ”said zdemir.
Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, the Phrygia Valley stretches through the capital Ankara and the center of Eskisehir as well as its neighbors in the Aegean region, Kütahya and Afyonkarahisar.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Phrygia is a civilization that existed in 800 BC and dominated central Anatolia from the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the North.