The town of Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizilirmak, the Red River. The town is about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Goreme. Avanos has a lively center with all the usual amenities including a modern, tourist-oriented hamam (Turkish Bath). A large travelling market visits Avanos on Fridays. We suggest a visit to Avanos for individual travelers on Fridays. This tented market has everything for the house, clothing, fruits and vegetables and more.
Starting just outside the shopping center the old village of Avanos winds up the hills leading away from the town and is a beautiful maze of old stone houses, some restored, some converted and some sadly abandoned to their fate. In some of the abandoned houses the features of traditional Ottoman architecture can be seen along with ancient decorations, motifs and murals.
The Kizilirmak (red) river (ancient Halys river) is the longest river in Turkey and it does not only separate the town from other parts of Cappadocia, but also gives the supplies the clay for pottery. It is by this river that the red pottery clay is found from which Avanos derives its main livelihood and its foremost claim to fame. Pottery has been produced in the Avanos area for centuries and some of the techniques still used date back to Hittite times to 2000 BC. The Hittites named the town "Zu Wanes" and it became "Venessa" during the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Avanos is a mass of family run potteries. These famous potters make wonderful souvenirs and are available at a wide range of prices from simple ashtrays and mugs to ornate plates and chess sets.
About 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Avanos is the underground city of Ozkonak and the beautiful 13th century Seljuk caravanserai, Sarihan (where whirling dervishes ceremonies are performed each evening), is only about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the town center.
On one of our Cappadocia Tours, we will see the demonstration of pottery by kick-wheel technique. Our guests can also try to make a pot.
PLACES TO VISIT IN CAPPADOCIAThere are so many fascinating things to see in Cappadocia that you could spend a lifetime here and still discover new places. The main 'must-see' attractions are the two large open-air museums and the best of the underground cities. However, there are also many small, all-but-forgotten rock-cut churches and monasteries, splendid hiking trails, several spectacular caravanserais and many dramatic rock formations well worth going out of your way to visit.
- Goreme Open Air Museum: cave churches with frescoes
- Zelve Open Air Museum: an empty cave town with churches
- Kaymakli Underground City: the largest underground city
- Derinkuyu Underground City: the deepest underground city
- Ihlara Valley: the deepest gorge of Anatolia
- Uchisar: Roman rock-cut castle
- Ortahisar: Roman rock-cut castle
- Avanos: center of pottery since the Hittites
- Pasabag: mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys, monks valley
- Devrent: animal-shaped fairy chimneys, imagination valley
- Hacibektas: center of Bektasi sect of Islam
- Gulsehir: first settlements in Cappadocia
- Forgotten Cave Churches: churches located in the valleys
- Caravanserais: 13th century hotels on the silk road