Niğde, 85 km south of Nevşehir, was built by the Seljuks. Backed by snow-capped mountains, its a farming centre with a small but fine selection of historic buildings, including a mosque built by the Mongols. East of the town is the ancient rock-hewn monastery of Eski Gümüşler, with the best-preserved paintings in Cappadocia.
MOSQUES & MUSEUM
The Alaattin Mosque (1223), a Seljuk work on the hill with the fortress and clock tower is the towns grandest mosque. The Alaattin Mosque undoubtedly occupies a place of special importance among the buildings of this period. We learn from the inscription that it was built in 1223 by Zeyrettin Başara, whose very valuable contribution to the city we have already touched upon. The eastern portal comprises several elements of stone carving developed in the Seljuk period, such as the human faces included in the geometric decoration and the architectural inscription giving tee names of the master-craftsman Mahmut oğlu Sıddık and his brother Gazi.
The Sungur Bey Camii at the foot of the hill by the marketplace is one of the citys most interesting building. Built by the Seljuks but restored by the Mongols in 1335, the Sungur Bey Camii is a curious and affecting blend of architectures. The embellished windows at ground level differ in style one from another. On the upper storey, blind lancet arches take the place of windows. The rose window above the north window bears a six-pointed Star of David, a motif used elsewhere in the building. The big, stolid, square doors are finally carved.
The Ak Medrese (1409) is now the towns museum, where pride of place is given to the mummy of a blonde nun discovered in the 1960s in the Ihlara Valley, and thought to be 1000 years old.
The Hüdavend Hatun Türbesi (1312), built of hewn stone with an octagonal interior surmonted by a sixteen-sided pyramidal dome, was erected in 1312 during the time of the İlhanid governor Sungur Agha by the Seljuk princess Hüdavend Hatun, daughter of Kılıçarslan IV. The treatment of all the wall surfaces, beginning from the surrounds of the door and windows, and the symbolic significance of the various human and animal figures indicate that we are in the presence of a very interesting experiment. This kümbet (tomb) is a fine example of Seljuk tomb with a very beautiful portal; the Dış Cami is an Ottoman mosque with a carved mimber inlaid with-of-pearl.