Afyonkarahisar or Afyon is a city in Central Anatolia 250 km southwest of Ankara, with a population in 2020 of 245,405. Its fortress or citadel perches on a black volcanic crag, an obvious defensive position. The area is dotted with similar volcanic plugs, and underground heat makes this a geothermal area, with many hotel spas. These and the collection of mosques around the foot of the citadel are the main reason to visit.
Afyon - kara - hisar literally means "opium black fortress". This is a large growing area for opium poppies - the open fields have been burned out to curb the illegal trade but production continues under tight control for medicinal opiates such as morphine.
Afyon produces fine marble, the Docimian Pavonazzetto variety being white with purple veins. The quarries are ugly places and the best place to admire the marble is in the many grand buildings it has gone to adorn, such as the Pantheon and St Peter's in Rome, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
In 2004 the Turkish parliament decided it didn't like having a city called Opium (maybe too much confusion with YSL perfume?) and changed the name to Afyonkarahisar. "Afyon" is what it remains locally and on this page, but you might want to give it the full name when explaining your travel plans to border guards.
1 Otobüs Terminali is the bus station just off the bypass 3 km northwest of town centre. It's modern and spacious with cafes and shops, and long-distance buses often take a rest stop here. Take a taxi or dolmuş to get downtown.
Konya Mavi Tren runs daily from Konya at 19:00 to reach Afyon shortly after 23:00. It trundles on through the night via Uşak and Manisa to reach Izmir by 07:30. The eastbound train leaves Izmir towards 20:00 to reach Afyon at 04:30 and Konya at 08:30.
A regional train runs from Eskişehir at 17:45 via Kütahya to reach Afyon by 21:00; the return train leaves Afyon at 07:30. Two other trains down this line only run as far as Kütahya, and trains no longer continue from Afyon to Konya.
A YHT line under construction towards Izmir may one day bring high speed trains from Istanbul and Ankara. Don't hold your breath.
2 Afyon Ali Çetinkaya is the town railway station, an Art Deco structure of 1939 named for the minister of transportation of that era. It's 1 km northwest of the castle.
Şehir Garı (City Station) 1 km west off Atatürk Blv was the terminus of trains from Izmir until it closed in 2017. The area has been redeveloped for industry, so its Ottoman chalets have been swept away.
From Istanbul follow O-7 east onto O-5 then O-22. Continue on D200 via İnegöl and Bozüyük, then D650 / D230 south past Kütahya.
From Ankara take E90 / D200 / D260 via Polatlı and Sivrihisar.
AFRAY is a city suburban railway under construction. There's no word on when it might open.
- 1 Afyonkarahisar Castle. It perches atop the crag above the town. It was built by the Hittites in 1350 BC and rebuilt several times since. It's reached by a 226 m climb up some 800 steps, starting from the southwest on Kale Cd above Ulu Camii; the project to build a cable-car has stalled. The site is open 24 hours free and has extensive citadel walls, cisterns and views but not much else within except trash.
- 2 Ulu Camii (Great Mosque) near the start of the castle ascent was completed in 1277. Its roof is supported by an array of 8 by 5 wooden pillars that were originally richly carved. It's one of five world heritage listed wooden mosques in Anatolia.
- 3 Sultan Dîvânî Mevlevîhâne Museum, Zaviye Türbe Cd. Daily 09:30-18:00. A lodge for the Mevlevi, the Sufi "whirling dervishes", now a museum. Free.
- 4 Sülüm Mosque on Birlik Cd north of the castle was built in 1813.
- 5 Victory Museum (Zafer Müzesi), Ordu Blv 7. Closed. This museum dedicated to the Turkish War of Independence is closed long-term for rebuilding.
- 6 Gedik Ahmet Pasha Imaret Mosque on Kurtuluş Cd is centrepiece of a kulliye, a religious complex with a medrese (seminary), imaret (hospice) and hamam. It was built in 1472 and restored in 1795.
- The Archaeological Museum at the foot of Kurtuluş Cd has closed down. It's not known what will become of its extensive collection.
- 7 Altıgöz Brige was built in 1209, and is still used by light vehicles. Altıgöz means six eyes or arches. The setting is scrappy and not scenic.
- 8 Tarihi Değirmen means "old windmill", a wooden tower. You mostly come for the view, as it's not as tough a climb as the castle.
- 9 Gazlıgöl is a geothermal area 25 km north of town on D665. Lots more spa hotels here.
- Football: Afyonspor play soccer in 2. Lig, Turkey's third tier. Their home ground Afyon Kocatepe Stadyumu (or Zafer Stadyumu, capacity 15,000) is 5 km northwest of town centre.
- Lunapark amusement park 2 km northeast of town centre is in poor shape in 2022, with many broken rides.
Supermarkets are mostly in the residential areas northeast towards the railway station. The closest to the old town is Migros, corner of Kadınana Cd and Yeşil Yol Cd, open daily 09:00-22:00.
Cheap eating places cluster in the lanes radiating southwest from the roundabout on Birlik Cd.
Kızılay and other brands of mineral water are produced from sources around Afyon, but the tap water is safe to drink.
Many cafes and restaurants serve beer. A couple of free-standing bars remain closed in 2022.
- 1 Grand Arı, Milli Birlik Cd 108, ☏ . Value for money hotel within walking distance of old town. No a/c and cleaning erratic. B&B double 800 TL.
- 2 MCG Marble Hotel, Süleyman Gönçer Sk 2, ☏ . Near the castle, this is a decent mid-range place, though the a/c doesn't work and cleaning is sometimes indifferent. B&B double 720 TL.
- 3 DoubleTree by Hilton, Ali Çetinkaya Blv 25A, ☏ . Chain hotel by riverside with spa, comfy enough. B&B double 1600 TL.
- 4 NG Afyon, Atatürk Blv 14, ☏ . Now you've arrived - comfy upmarket spa hotel west side of city. B&B double 3000 TL.
- 5 Ikbal Thermal Hotel, Afyon-Kütahya Yolu, ☏ . Large spa hotel at the highway junction west of town. Comfy enough but only just worth what you're paying. B&B double 2500 TL.
- 6 Oruçoğlu Termal Otel, Kütahya Yolu 14 km, ☏ . As the address indicates, this spa hotel is 14 km northwest of town. It earns reasonable scores for comfort, service and facilities. B&B double 2500 TL.
Afyon and its approach highways have 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Nov 2022, 5G has not rolled out in Turkey.
- Akşehir southeast was the home of the fictional Nasrettin Hoca, hero and sly wit of many folk tales.
- Konya further southeast was the medieval Seljuk capital and main lodge of the Mevlevi "whirling dervishs".
- Kütahya north makes decorative tiles, which adorn its mosques.
- Uşak west has a collection of preserved Ottoman houses.
|Routes through Afyonkarahisar|
|Izmir ← Uşak ←||W E||→ Akşehir → Konya|
|Adapazarı ← Kütahya ←||N S||→ Sandıklı → Antalya|
|END ←||W E||→ Sivrihisar → Ankara|