Çankırı is located in the north of Central Anatolia, between the Kızılırmak (Red river) and Western Black sea basins. Surrounded by Ankara and Kırıkkale to the south, Bolu to the west, Kastamonu and Karabük to the north and Çorum to the east, the city encompasses an area of 7490 square kilometres. With its forests, plateaus, numerous thermal springs and glorious snow capped mountains which have been the source of inspiration for many poems, Çankırı offers a wide range of nature activities such as camping, caravanning, trekking, horse riding, climbing, cycling and hunting. Admirable Tuz Magarası (Salt cave), Koca Meşe (Big oak), preserved historical and culturel assets and traditional hospitality of friendly people are the other attractions that make the city special for those seeking to leave the stressful urban life behind and to become one with nature while experiencing the city’s nostalgic atmosphere.
Information related to the prehistoric periods of Cankırı is insufficent due to the limited scientific excavations and archeological surface explorations. However, foregoing research states that history of humanity began in Cankırı in the middle paleolithic period and have proceeded without interruption since the chatcolithic period. During the early bronze age (3000 – 2000 B. C.), Hattians, the local people of Anatolia governed as principalities, maintened their sovereignty in the region until the Hittite occupation the early years of the 17th century B.C.. Hittites took over the control of the region and founded an empire.
Dating back to the Hittite period, many mounds have been found in Çankırı. Inandıktepe Mound is one of them. The excavations at the Inandıktepe Mound have brought to light the early Hittite period works togother with the sacred Hittite vase and the Endowment Document in cuneiform, revealing the importance of the settlements of the period. On the vase that have embossed motifs, all stages of the sacred wedding ceramony are described in a regular order from down to up. It is one of the unique examples representing the illustrated vase art of Early Hittite period.
Hittite Empire collapsed and receded to the Southeast Anatolia as a result of the migration of sea tribes. Since then from now on the region stayed under the control of respectively Phrygian, Cimmerian, Lydian, Persian, Paphlagonian, Roman and Byzantine states. Finally Seljuk and Ottoman Empires took the control of the region.
Throughout its history, the city has been known by many names. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods the name of the city was Gangra, it was also cited as Germanicopolis in Roman Period. It was named as Kanghari and Kengiri in Ottoman period and finally it took the name of Çankırı i Republican period.
Çankırı museum was opened in a part of the Public Eduction building in 1972. On August 23, 1981 it took its present place on the second floor of 100. Yıl Cultural Centre. The Museum Collection includes archaeological and ethnographical works bolonging to Early Bronze Age, Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
In the central district Yapraklı, since 1977, scientific excavations have been conducting jointly by Çankırı Museum and University of Ankara, Faculty of Language, History and Geography. The excavations revealed animal fossils (perissodactyla, artiodactyla, proboscidea, and monkey) dated to 7-8 million years ago, the Late Miocene Period. Rarely found Hominoid fossils were also discovered in the area during the excavations. Moreover, in 2006, a skull belonging to the ancestors of saber-toothed tiger was found. All these fossils are on display in the museum.
Taş Mescit (Stone School)
The school started to be built in 1886, entered into service in 1893 under the name of Idadi Mektep (Senior High School). The two storey and cut stone building is located in the central district and still serves as the High School of Fine Arts. The most important feature of the building is that Atatürk was hosted in a class of this school during his travel throughout the country for Hat Reform. The class in which Atatürk was hosted in August 31, 1925 was furnished in accordance with the present capabilities and converted into Atatürk Room.
The Civitcioglu Madrasa located in the city centre dates back to the 17th century. Standing in a courtyard, the building has two storeys and cabins lined next to each other from east to the west. Today it serves as the center in which traditional Turkish adornment art is performed and produced.
The madrasa, built in 18th century, is setin the courtyard of Bugdaypazarı Mosque in the city center. The two storey wooden building was built on a stone basement wall and consist of cabins lined from north to south.
The clock, made in Switzerland, was brought to Çankırı in 1886 and it was placed on a square planned and rectangular bodied tower. Located in a central position, the tower has a height of 15 m. There is a balcony on its upper part and on four sides there are clock faces.
The Salt Cave
The cave is located 20 km far from the central district and it includesthe biggest rock sat reserves of Turkey, which are thought to have been exploited since the Hittite Period. The cave consists of cavities which have been slotted to obtain salt. Visitors while wandering in these cavities suppose themselves as in a modern tunnel of highway.
The cave encompassing an area of 100 hectare is composed of many galleries. There are salt stalactites and stalagmites in patches. Mineral salt derived from this cave is processed in salt factories in the city and marketed as table salt or industrial salt throughout the country. The cave is targeted to be introduced as a tourism attraction by Governorship of Çankırı with the lounch of Crystal Art Gallery project which will involve sculptures and reliefs belonging to various periods in history. Within the frame of this project, salt sculptures have been started to be exhibited in the cave.
Another feature of this cave which makes it interesting is the donkey in it. About 250 years ago a villager comes to the cave to get some salt. But his donkey staying in the cave for several years constitutes an interesting scene for the visitors. The Salt Cave with its stable heat and moisture rates is a beneficial environment for patients who have asthma and efforts to introduce the cave to health tourism are continuing.
Cavundur Thermal Springs
Set on Cavundur townof Kursunlu district, the thermal spring is very near to Istanbul – Samsun highway, Kursunlu and at a distance of 90 km from Cankırı. There are many accommodation options in the resort.
47 litres water spring from the source per second which has a temperature of 54 degrees centigrade. Because of its natural temperature, its thermal waters are used to cure painful illnesses. Thanks to its alkalic content, it can be used as drinking cures.