| ArchNet Place ID
| Variant Names
|| Sebastea or Sebastia (classical name), Megalopolis
|| Sivas Province
|| 39 45 N
|| 37 02 E
Hide description of Sivas
Sivas lies on the central Anatolian plateau on the north side of the valley of the Kizilirmak, one of Turkey's largest rivers. It stands at the crossroads of historic trade routes between Ankara and Erzurum to the west and east and between Amasya and Malatya to the north and south. The hilltop citadel offered many generations of conquering armies a defensible position from which to control trade through the valley.
The settlement mound at Sivas probably had a pre-historic town; it is now the site of the citadel. The first large city recorded at Sivas was Roman statesman Pompey the Great's Megalopolis in the mid-first century BC. From the late-Roman period up to the eleventh century, Sebasteia -- as Sivas was then known -- became the dominant city on the Kizilirmak. During much of the 12th century Sivas was part of the Danishmendid Dynasty.
In 1175 the Seljuks captured Sivas, which enabled the city to flourish. It became an important trading center with populations from as far away as Genoa. Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad I (1220-37) built up walls for the formerly unprotected city. Many public buildings were put up until the late 13th century, when the last major public projects -- the Çifte Minareli, Bürüciye and Gök Madrasas -- were built in 1271. Although it continued to be an important city thereafter, few large projects were undertaken.
In 1400 Tamerlane sacked the city, which diminished its stature physically, commercially, and politically. Under the Ottomans Sivas was a province (eyalet) of minor commercial importance. Despite this, the Ottoman governors continued to build mosques, hamams and other public buildings on a small scale. In 1919, Sivas was the host of a revolutionary congress led by Mustafa Kemal that started the Turkish War of Independence.
Today, Sivas is a city of close to 800,000 residents, and the capital of the Sivas province.
"Sivas." Ancient Routes. 2004. Ancient Routes Online.
http://www.ancientroute.com/cities/sivas.htm [April 12, 2004]
"Sivas." Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture Website. http://www.discoverturkey.com/english/iller/e-sivas.html [Accessed April 12, 2004]
Sinclair, T. A. 1989. Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey. London: The Pindar Press II, 293-392.