Avanos, which was known in the Hittite period as Zu-Winasa, or Nenassa, was called Venessa in the Greek and Roman period and Vanote in the Byzantine according to some historians. The name Avanos is believed to derive from Evranos Bey, a Seljuk military commander. In his ‘Geographika’, written between 58 BC. and 25 AD., the Roman historian Strabo explains that in the political and religious sense Venessa was the third most important city of the Cappadocian Kingdom after Mazaca (modern Kayseri) and Tyana or Eusebia (modern Kemerhisar).
More about Avanos Village
Avanos and its environs, like the entire Cappadocia region, escaped Roman oppression and acquired importance with the habitation of the early Christians here, becoming one of the principal centres of settlement in the region. The city’s architecture also attests to this in structures such as Yamanlı Church, one of the oldest in Cappadocia, the Sarihan Caravanserai, built by the Seljuks in the 13th century of the local yellow volcanic stone, the Alaaddin Mosque, a Seljuk monument that has been open for worship for centuries, and the Mansion of Doctor Hacı Nuri Bey, one of the oldest surviving Avanos houses.
Set on the banks of the Kizilirmak, the Red River, about 8 km (5 miles) from Goreme, Avanos has a lively centre with all the usual amenities including a modern, tourist-oriented hamam (Turkish bath). A large travelling market visits Avanos on Fridays.
Starting just outside the shopping centre 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 recognised along with ancient decorations, motifs and murals.
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