Western Anatolia is a region forming the western third of Central Anatolia. It's not itself an administrative region but comprises the provinces of Eskişehir, Kütahya and Afyonkarahisar.
- 1 Eskişehir the main city of this region is a liberal university town.
- 2 Kütahya is famous for its faience tradition or tilework, and the best base for seeing Aizanoi.
- 3 Çavdarhisar is a village with the ruins of Aizanoi, an immense Temple of Zeus.
- 4 Afyonkarahisar (usually called Afyon) has an impressive hilltop citadel.
- 5 Sandıklı has hot springs.
- 6 Simav also has hot springs
- 7 Sivrihisar has a mosque listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 1 Phrygian Valley is an unofficial name for the rocky countryside between Eskişehir, Kütahya and Afyonkarahisar, with numerous Phrygian rock-cut tombs and other ancient sites.
The Anatolian plateau is a steppe at about 800 m elevation, lacking trees but reasonably well-watered and fertile, and straightforward to traverse. Around its west edge is rugged terrain descending to the Aegean and Marmara coasts, with forested slopes. Several large towns stand near that edge.
The oldest major civilisation of this area is Phrygia, appearing around 1200 BC and assimilated by the Byzantines in the 7th century AD. From the Phrygians come the legends of the Gordian Knot and King Midas with his Golden Touch. Their artefacts are seen in museums but their cities are lost beneath later structures. Azanoi is a good example, where what you go to see is of Roman construction.
The region is often roiled by earthquakes so the towns are modern rebuildings, but the old mosques and other antiquities have been kept repaired.
By air fly to Istanbul or Ankara to pick up ground transport. The airports near Eskişehir and Kütahya have very few flights.
Eskişehir is on the YHT high speed railway, with a dozen trains daily from Istanbul and Ankara, and three from Konya. Some trains for Ankara also stop at Polatlı.
Three trains run daily from Eskişehir to Kütahya, with one continuing to Afyon. An overnight train runs from Izmir to Afyon and Konya. A YHT fast railway is under construction on this route but completion is nowhere in sight.
The highways are fast divided carriageways, and buses connect all the major towns.
For towns where sights and accommodation are in a compact area, buses will get you there and back. For outlying areas such as the Phrygian Valley you need a car.
- Most regional towns have renovated historic quarters.
- Phrygian ruins are mostly clustered in the triangular area between Eskişehir, Kütahya, and Afyonkarahisar known as the "Phrygian Valley".
- The area is rich in hot springs; many Turkish baths in the towns take advantage of them.
- The Phrygian Way is a hiking trail extending over much of the region. It has three legs converging on the Phrygian monument at Yazılıkaya.
- Eskişehir had many Crimea Tartar immigrants, who maintain their traditional cuisine.
- This is the only area where opium is legally cultivated in Turkey, and crushed poppy seeds are a common ingredient in local pastries.
Larger cafes serve alcohol. Eskişehir is modern and liberal enough to have a pub strip.
Take usual precautions over traffic and care of valuables.
- North Central Anatolia is centred on must-see Ankara. Battle sites of Sakarya and ancient Gordion are around Polatlı.
- The Lakes District to the south has Hittites ruins, natural parks, and yes, several lakes.
- Central Aegean southwest is centred on Izmir and has a resort strip. The principal ancient site is Ephesus.
- Eastern Marmara to the northwest is mostly urban sprawl but with fascinating medieval buildings and lush forested mountains.