Isparta is a city in western Turkey and the provincial capital of Isparta Province. The city’s population is 222,556 (as of 2010) and elevation from sea level is 1035 m. Another name of the city is “City of Roses”. The main economic activities of Isparta are rosewater production and handmade carpets. Some historical buildings historical buildings and houses remain from the 19th century, but these are very rare, compared to the number of modern constructions.
There are several important mosques in Isparta, including the pre-Ottoman Hizir Bey Mosque (c. 1325), the Kutlubey or Ulu (Grand) Mosque (1429, with major restorations in the 19th century) and Haci Abdi Mosque (1569). The city also boasts a mosque by the Ottoman Royal Architect Mimar Sinan, the 16th century’s Firdevs Pasa mosque. This mosque is also known as Mimar Sinan Mosque, among the public. There are several remains of Greek Orthodox churches from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods (14th-19th century). The Byzantine fortress is mostly in ruins. The city lies close to a fault line and thus prone to violent earthquakes.
Once a part of the Byzantine Empire, Isparta was conquered but the Sejuks in the early 1200s. A century later, it became a part of Hamidoglu Emirate, but was sold in 1381 to the Ottoman Emperor. In the late 1800s, it was settled by Muslim refugees from the Balkans. Bulgarian refugees brought knowledge of producing rose oil, which has risen to one of the major economic activities in the region. Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was born near here, so many things are named after this town’s favorite son.
Places to Visit;
You could visit the several important mosques there including the pre – Ottoman Hizir Be Mosque, the Kutlubey or Ulu mosque and Haci Abdi Mosque. The 16th century Firdevs Pasa Mosque built by architect Mimar Siman is also a place of historical importance. If you like ancient cities, then Antocheia in Isparta is the place to be.
You could also visit the Limenia Island, within the Hoyran Lake near the Gaziri locality, which is 25 kms away from Yalvak County. Adada is also an antic city that is worth a visit. It is 12 km away from Sitculer County and 2 kms from Sigirlik village. You can find ruins of temples made of rectangular stones and a necropolis, mausoleum and a part of the city`s water system.
If churches fascinate you, then head to Saint Paul church, Aya Payana church or Aya Yorgi church. The two national parks in Isparta are the Kovada and Kizildag, which please the visitors with their natural beauties and historical remains. The Kovada Lake is made up of bays and beaches, surrounded by forests, and possesses a fresh atmosphere just like the National Park of Kızıldag full of thousands of nice cedar trees and wild ducks. The Egirdir lake is one of the most important lakes in Isparta. It is the fourth largest lake of Turkey with 517 kilometers square surface area. The lake is separated into two sections one on the north called Hoyran Lake and another on the south, the Egirdir lake.