Eskişehir is a city in the northwestern part of the Central Anatolia in Turkey. The city is home to about 500,000 people and two of Turkey’s biggest universities: Anadolu University and Eskişehir Osmangazi University, therefore the city is widely known as “Students’ City” in Turkey.
The area is inhabited since before the Phrygians founded Doryleaum near today’s Eskişehir. The area to the south of Eskişehir is known as “Phrygian Valley” even today and contains many remnants from Phrygians (some parts of the valley is within the borders of Kutahya and Afyonkarahisar provinces).
Since 1999, when Yılmaz Büyükerşen, the former president of Anadolu University, has been elected mayor, the city has a somewhat-imitation Central European feel to it with its bridges, parks, statues, and trams.
The Porsuk River bisects the city all along.
Eskişehir is in junction of almost all major raillines in Turkey, so it is possible almost anywhere with a railline in Turkey (except European Turkey until Marmaray, an undersea rail tunnel which will connect Europe and Asia under Bosphorus, is completed) to find a train which has a stop either in the Central station (official name: Eskişehir station; in the city centre) or in Enveriye station (about 2 km south of city centre).
From Istanbul’s Asian station (Haydarpaşa), you can find several trains heading for either station every day (In fact, any pessenger train departing from Haydarpaşa, except the suburban trains and regional expresses which head for nearby Adapazarı, passes through and stops in Eskişehir). Price depends on the fastness of train and ranges between approximately 10 YTL (the cheapest) and 20 YTL (the most expensive)(20% discount for students possible in every train). Unlike many other examples in Turkey, rail travel between Istanbul and Eskişehir generally takes the same or less time than bus travel (it takes between 4 and 6 hours, depending on the train).
The city has a 2-line tram system. Minibuses and public buses cover the rest. City also has a small fleet of 19th century-looking horse-drawn carriages, and a large taxi fleet. At almost anywhere on the large streets, you’ll see buttons (looking like electric switches) hanged on walls, trees etc. To call a cab, you need only to push one of those and the nearest taxi stop will soon send a taxi to where you have pushed it. But walking is probably the best way of transportation in this largely flat city, it is free of charge and the distances aren’t that huge.
- Odunpazarı – This hood is the only place which keeps its traditional 19th century houses in this city, name of which translates “Old City” in Turkish.
- Yazılıkaya – A rock carving left by Phrygians with inscriptions on it. It was a site sacred to Cybele, the mother-goddess of Phrygians, whose cult later arrived as far as Mauritania and Spain in the west and Afghanistan in the east, and all the way between these two extremes. Yazılıkaya is about 90 km south of Eskişehir, near the village also named Yazılıkaya (not to be confused with a site also known as Yazılıkaya in Çorum. Çorum’s Yazılıkaya is a Hittite site). A much smaller replica of it can be seen on the square next to the intercity highway, across the main gate of Yunusemre Campus of Anadolu University.
Anadolu University participates in pan-European university student exchange programs.
As you would expect from a big city, there are many ATMs around and credit cards are accepted in most places.
- Meerschaum souvenirs – Meerschaum is extracted only in Eskişehir province in the world. They are mostly chipped into little statues or high-quality tobacco pipes.
Because of the relatively large university student population, the city centre, especially streets leading to or running parallel with the Porsuk River are teeming with local and American-style fast food restaurants and pizzerias.
Local delicacies include:
- Çi börek (or sometimes also spelled çiğ börek) – essentially a Crimean Tatar dish, it reached Eskişehir in the late 19th century when a band of Crimean Tatars was settled in the city. It is a kind of pastry with thin dough walls shaped like a half-moon and filled with finely-minced meat inside. It is cooked in a large pot filled with heated vegetable oil. Crimean Tatars consider eating it with a fork an insult, and they don’t provide any in their restaurants (hands with a paper napkin are used instead).
Since it is a usual habit for university students to binge drink and to pub crawl, there are many bars, pubs, clubs, and discos scattered around the city. It is usually possible to attain a live music performance at weekends.
- Haller Gençlik Merkezi – Once warehouse of the city for fresh groceries, this elegant building has been renovated and now houses beer-, and winehouses. It is located near the central station.
Tourism information office – Vilayet Sq 1, tel +90 222 230 38 65
The area code of Eskişehir is 222. Dial +90 222 when calling an Eskişehir number from out of Turkey.
City’s large university student population makes it a place quite easy to communicate in English, although local older generations may only speak Turkish. Also you may encounter youngsters with an ability to speak less widespread European languages such as German or French, though this is much less possible compared with English.