sinasos town

Sinasos The Exchange Village


Sinasos The Exchange Village

The Exchange Village Sinasos

Sinasos, now known as Mustafapaşa, is a charming yet hidden gem located five kilometers from Ürgüp, in the province of Nevşehir. Despite its lesser-known status compared to popular Cappadocia destinations like Göreme, Avanos, and Uçhisar, Sinasos is a village whose unique blend of Greek and Turkish culture deserves recognition and appreciation.

Sinasos: The Hidden Gem of Cappadocia and Its Rich Cultural Heritage

sinasos town cappadocia

The Name ‘Sinasos’

There is a legend regarding the name ‘Sinasos,’ suggesting it means ‘people who were expelled and then reunited in the same place.’ The local community also refers to it as the ‘city of the sun.’

Historical Significance

Historically, Sinasos was a favored spot in the Cappadocia region. The old inhabitants of Sinasos had strong ties with Istanbul.

They traded caviar collected from the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea.

Almost all painters working in Istanbul were said to be from Sinasos, which explains the beautifully colored embellishments on the old buildings.

Trade and Artistry

The people of Sinasos were both traders and artisans. Wealthy Cappadocians who traded in Istanbul followed European art trends, particularly from French magazines, and had replicas of these artworks drawn in their homes. The European lifestyle depicted in the drawings frequently found in the mansions is a testament to the residents’ fascination with Western culture.

Changes During the Population Exchange

The village underwent significant changes during the population exchange period of 1924-1925. The separation of Greeks and Turks who had lived together in the region occurred several times before, but the exchange decision completely altered the demographic structure. Census data from 1890 to 1924 show that the Greek population was much larger, and it was one of the rare places in Anatolia where Greek was both spoken and written. Greek prayers, household names, and other inscriptions still remain on the walls of the mansions.

sinasos town cappadocia

sinasos town cappadocia

sinasos town cappadocia

Boutique Hotels

Surprisingly, Mustafapaşa has a significant number of boutique hotels given its size. These hotels, built with the region’s architecture in mind, and more importantly, those preserving century-old structures, add value to the village. For those seeking tranquility in the Cappadocia region, Sinasos is a prime choice for accommodation. I recommend opting for mansions situated at higher elevations for the best village views. The most magnificent mansions, built on the most beautiful hills, were used by the village’s most esteemed families.

Exploring Sinasos

When visiting Sinasos, it’s best to explore on foot. I suggest visiting at the end of August and tasting the abundant grapes directly from the vine. These grapes are also used to make wine and molasses. During the early months of autumn, the villagers will likely offer you grapes while they are making molasses.


Post-Exchange Adaptation

After the exchange, new families migrating from Thessaloniki faced difficulties adapting to the region, both culturally and economically, leading to a period of stagnation.

Cultural Heritage and Beliefs

The local people’s beliefs in folklore, magic, charms, and vows, remnants of both Greek and Turkish cultures, still persist, albeit diminished.

The discovery of secret passages in the 19th-century mansions is no coincidence.

sinasos cappadocia

sinasos town cappadocia

sinasos town cappadocia

Traditional Cuisine

Speaking of food and drink, Mustafapaşa’s traditional dishes should be mentioned. Balkan cuisine is represented in Cappadocia with dishes such as muhacir mantısı and pide, koripaparoni, maznik, fasulnik, peravi, sweet rice pilaf, tandoori beans, tranenik, and sweet stew. As the names suggest, the village’s cuisine reflects the shared cultural heritage of Greeks and Turks. Those familiar with Balkan cuisine know that the world’s best pastries come from the Balkans!

Recent Developments

Mustafapaşa’s recent vibrancy is largely due to the university established in the village. The architectural heritage has been preserved in nearly all university buildings, helping to bring the village back into the spotlight.

sinasos town cappadocia

Cultural and Historical Sites

The Cappadocia Art History Museum, St. Nicholas Monastery, Mehmet Şakir Pasha Madrasa, and the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen are open to visitors and host events suitable for their historical significance. The last madrasa built by the Ottoman Empire is used by the university here. Greek visitors hold an annual mass in the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen when they visit their ancestral village. I once attended a classical music concert in the same church, which was a mesmerizing experience due to the ambiance.

Future Attractions

Moreover, a new museum is being built. There are increasing reasons to visit and explore Sinasos – Mustafapaşa.

Leave a Reply: