With its ornamented bridges, gondola rides, a wax museum and historical buildings, Eskişehir is one of the Anatolian region's most fully developed cities.
Home to the largest student population in Turkey, vibrant youth from the Anatolian University make Eskişehir lively and vibrant no matter day or night. Cafes, modern restaurants and malls are always sparkling and every corner is full of history, attributable to the significant role it played in the War of Independence. There are numerous historical artifacts from the era of the legendary King Midas all the way up until the Republican period.
The glass arts museum, for one, is very impressive and yet what impressed me most was the Wax Museum. The museum, full of the wax sculptures of politicians, authors and athletes who left a mark on Turkish history, takes you on a unique journey through history. The museum has 198 wax sculptures, to be exact and it also displays the wax figures of world-known names.
What introduced us to this city was the "Sarar" brand, founded by one of the well-established families of Eskişehir. Ece Sarar and Sara Sarar, the new-generation members of the Sarar Family, welcomed us decently during our visit hosted by Cemalettin Sarar.
Founded in 1944, the brand is just a success story. With almost 350 stores in Turkey and around the world, Sarar produces a number of products from men, women and kids garments to home textile. What's more, world giants such as Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Zara and many other famous brands contract Sarar to produce home textile products. The three brothers, Celalettin Sarar, Cemalettin Sarar and Selahattin Sarar introduced this Turkish brand to the world, together with their children.
You respect the garment you wear, once and again, you visit the factory and see how meticulously the job is done. I was particularly impressed by their scarf printing techniques.
The factory which produces 2,000 scarves a day prints patterns by employing traditional printing methods rather than digital methods. That is, the scarves are produced as a result of manual labor, not a mechanical process.
The main factory in Eskişehir is built over the premises of the bygone institution Sümerbank. It includes both the production plants and a very stylish hotel. The majority of the plant is nestled in the middle of verdant woods and operated mainly by women.
The historical factory produces 3,000 shirts and 1,000 suits a day while the quality and designs of the fabrics are outstanding. Sarar makes its own fabric, in addition to imported ones and I was able to examine the 2017 creations.
Especially, men expect some designs with more vibrant and distinguished lines. While the sub-brand of Sarar, called "Interview," appeals to younger groups, the brand, called "Sartoria," which means embroidery in Italian, offers tailor-made suit service. Your size is measured at Sarar stores before your suit is sewed by hand with skilled workmanship. The most assertive samples of dressmaking art are presented with this service.
The Sarar family delivers all these services with the motivation and loyalty it extends to its employees and particularly with the value it attaches on its female employees. I congratulate the Sarar family, which performs a number of social responsibility projects in the city, for all its success.
As for the food in Eskişehir, there is much to mention. I especially recommend that you try the cafes in the historical Odun Pazarı (Wood Market). Most of the old-style houses with bay windows have been turned into cafes, shops or boutique hotels. I particularly recommend that you have the Balaban Kebab and patty (Turkish-type ravioli) at the Kırım Tatar (Crimean Tatar) Pastry House. You can also buy poppy-seed and tahini bread at the local bakeries in the city.
And while you're there don't forget to try the city's famous "boza," a fermented drink and one of the oldest drinks in Turkey dating back to the 4th century.
If you're passionate about the good old days then be sure to check out Varuna Gezgin, a very famous venue as a contemporary location. The lounge vibrant with old typewriters and sewing machines by the walls, the giant flags and radios on the ceiling as well as its library that holds hundreds of books, all make this venue quite authentic. It is rather spacious and the flooring is quite nostalgic, so do not forget to have a cup of coffee at this venue when you visit Eskişehir.
Another favorite location of the city is the suburban "Sazova." This entertainment area is designed in a leisure park style with a pirate ship, water fountains and much more attractions and is a favorite location for tourists. Called the "Fairy Tale City," this venue offers hours of fun to visitors of any age.
But, the most popular touristic event is the gondola ride in the Porsuk Creek. This ride takes you through long gondolas like in Venice and takes about 20 minutes. It is quite fun in spring so touristy or not, your visit to Eskişehir won't be complete until you take one of these water taxis for a ride.
Another location to visit is the historical factory at which "Devrim," the very first national automobile of Turkey, was manufactured. Although the automobile project of Devrim never managed to take off, one of the three automobiles that were manufactured is still on display to visitors. I would highly recommend that automobile lovers visit this historic place.
The last museum I would recommend is the War of Independence Museum. The museum, which narrates the story of the Independence War in wonderful three-dimensional animations, is located in another mansion.
As you would expect from a very old Turkish city, Eskişehir has many monumental mosques. For me, the most impressive is the one within the Kurşunlu Madrasah, which is absolutely an architectural wonder! It took this name for its dome made of copper. The Madrasah has a very nice garden and the small shops inside sell hand carved pipes, pendants/necklaces and similar items made of sepiolite stone, also known as meerschaum.
There are also some small shops which produce and sell the ney (reed flute), an essential instrument of Sufi culture. Moreover, you can hear the magnificent tunes as the masters teach their students, as you walk around the Madrasah.
In short, there is lots of stuff to explore in Eskişehir so be sure to visit this unique Anatolian city the first chance you get!
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