avanos town center

Avanos Town A Pottery Haven Along the Kızılırmak River

avanos town centre

Avanos Town A Pottery Haven Along the Kızılırmak River

A Pottery Haven Along the Kızılırmak River Avanos

Situated along the Kızılırmak River (Red River), Avanos is renowned for its exquisite pottery crafted over millennia. Utilizing clay from the Kızılırmak, known for its distinctive reddish tint, the town boasts a rich ceramic tradition. Yet Avanos offers more than just pottery; it’s a picturesque destination ideal for leisurely strolls along the riverside promenade. Moreover, it serves as a charming base for exploring the wonders of Cappadocia.

Avanos Valley

Historical Overview to the town:

The earliest signs of human settlement near Avanos were discovered at Zank Höyük, a mound located 4 km northwest of Sarilar village. Rising 30 meters above the plain, with a diameter of 300 meters, Zank Höyük’s excavations unveiled pottery remnants dating back to the Assyrian trade colonies of the Middle Bronze Age. Subsequent archaeological endeavors unearthed ceramics from the early Bronze Age and artifacts from the Phrygian and Hellenistic eras.

Avanos, then known as Zu-Winasa, appears in written records dating back to the Hittite period of the second millennium BCE. Linguist Emile Forrer deciphered this name from clay tablets unearthed in the Hittite kings’ archives in Hattusas. The city’s later names include the Roman Venessa and the modern Avanos. Another Assyrian tablet, deciphered by Michel Condoz, referred to the town as Nenassa.

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Venessa ranked as the third most significant city in the Cappadocian Kingdom, following Mazaka (Kayseri) and Tyana (Kemerhisar). After the death of its last king, Archelaus, in 17 AD, Cappadocia became a Roman province. Strabo also mentions Avanos, known as Ouenasa, named after the nearby temple of Zeus Ouenas, which supported its priests through agricultural revenue.

kızılırmak river avanos

kızılırmak river avanos

kızılırmak river avanos


Exploring Avanos

Avanos offers a multitude of attractions, with its pottery workshops standing out as the primary draw for visitors. These workshops exemplify a longstanding local tradition of crafting pottery from the distinctive red clay sourced from the Kızılırmak river, a practice rooted in the area for millennia.

While group tours often lead to large ceramic halls near the road to Göreme, delving into the heart of Avanos unveils a more captivating experience. Numerous family-operated workshops, each with generations of expertise, populate the town center and its adjacent streets. Among the renowned ceramic workshops are İkizler Çömlek Atölyesi, Hitit Çanak Atölyesi, Le Palais du Urdu, Ferhat Pottery, and Avanos Çarşı Seramik.

These workshops, typically nestled underground in rooms carved from soft volcanic rock, shield ceramic pieces from harsh sunlight, preserving their vibrant hues. Visitors can witness pottery-making demonstrations free of charge, immersing themselves in an underground labyrinth reminiscent of a miniature town.

One standout workshop, Chez Galip, not only showcases pottery but also houses an intriguing Hair Museum within its cavernous confines. Legend has it that the museum’s origins trace back to a potter’s request for a souvenir from a departing friend—a lock of hair—resulting in a cascade of donated curls adorning the workshop walls. Established in 1979, the museum boasts around 16,000 locks of hair, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Situated in Avanos Çanakçılar Bölgesi, to the north of the city center, Chez Galip welcomes visitors from 10 am to 8 pm.


mosque avanos


The Güray Museum, also known as the Cappadocia Underground Museum of Ceramics, stands as another testament to Avanos’s ceramic heritage. Opened in April 2014 after extensive renovations by Güray ceramics company, the museum showcases nearly 500 exhibits across its 1,500-square-meter space, featuring historic artifacts, contemporary ceramics, and socio-cultural exhibitions. Located on Dereyamanli street in southwest Avanos, the museum serves as a hub for art enthusiasts and cultural aficionados alike.

Beyond pottery, Avanos boasts skilled artisans crafting sculptures in alabaster and hand-woven carpets. Visitors can witness the intricate process of carpet weaving, a craft passed down through generations of local women.

The town’s historic Ottoman-era houses, clustered north of the center and along Atatürk street, offer architectural marvels. Examples like Tevfik Körükcü Konağı, dating back to 1868 and now housing a carpet shop, showcase the intricate craftsmanship of the era. While some historic buildings have been repurposed into hotels and shops, others await restoration, revealing glimpses of Avanos’s storied past.

Avanos’s rich history also encompasses religious landmarks, including Dereyamanlı Kilisesi, a rock church likely built in the 5th century, and Alaaddin Cami, the oldest mosque in Avanos, dating back to the 13th century. These sites offer glimpses into the town’s diverse cultural heritage, where centuries-old traditions intersect with contemporary life.

Exploring Around Avanos

Venturing beyond Avanos reveals several noteworthy attractions. One such site is the Sarıhan Caravanserai, a relic from the Seljuk period located 7 km east of Avanos center (38.711799, 34.909582) along the D300 road to Kayseri. This imposing structure often hosts mesmerizing whirling dervish ceremonies in the evenings, providing entertainment for tourists. Visitors can also explore the caravanserai during the daytime, with admission priced at 25-35 Euro.
For enthusiasts of prehistory, Avanos and its surroundings offer two prehistoric mounds to explore. Avanos Tumulus lies 7 km west of the city (38.717899, 34.768214), while Zank Tumulus is situated 4 km northwest of Sarilar village.
Within the Avanos district, two destinations stand out as popular tourist attractions: Özkonak Underground City (38.8068, 34.8414) and Çavuşin Village (38.6735, 34.8395). Çavuşin is renowned for its ancient rock churches, offering glimpses into the region’s rich historical and religious heritage. Additionally, the lesser-known but equally captivating Belha Monastery (38.790599, 34.823799) provides another intriguing sight to explore.

gondolas at Kizilirmak River Avanos

Discover Avanos: Unveiling History with Expert Guides


Explore Avanos with professional guides and uncover its rich history through our curated tours. Embark on a journey to the Sarıhan Caravanserai, an architectural gem from the Seljuk period, where evening whirling dervish ceremonies captivate visitors. Delve into prehistory with visits to Avanos Tumulus and Zank Tumulus, ancient mounds steeped in archaeological intrigue. Discover the hidden depths of Özkonak Underground City and the ancient rock churches of Çavuşin Village. Unearth the secrets of Belha Monastery, a lesser-known but equally enchanting historical site. Join us for an immersive experience, led by knowledgeable guides who bring Avanos’s fascinating past to life.


With our expert-led tours, you can delve into Avanos’s captivating history while exploring its iconic landmarks and hidden treasures. From the majestic Sarıhan Caravanserai to the ancient mysteries of Avanos and Zank Tumulus, our itineraries offer a comprehensive exploration of the region’s rich heritage. Discover the subterranean marvels of Özkonak Underground City, the religious significance of Çavuşin’s rock churches, and the tranquil beauty of Belha Monastery. Let our professional guides illuminate Avanos’s past, providing insights and anecdotes that bring each site to life. Join us for an unforgettable journey through time in this historic Turkish town.

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