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Avanos from above
Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizilirmak, the Red River, which gets its name from the clay that it deposits. This clay has provided Avanos with pottery for centuries and the town is still dominated by this industry despite the inroads that tourism has made in the area. The main street has numerous shops and workshops selling plain and decorated pots and plates and you can watch the potters at work using kick wheels, the design of which has remained unchanged for generations. Many of the workshops will encourage you to have a go yourself. It's harder than it looks.
The present population of the district is 15.900.
In 1750 there existed 56 dwellings at Avanos. Kurena Arif Bey of Avanos, who was an official of the palace during the reign of Abdülhamid II, had made great efforts for the development of Avanos. A revival is observed at Avanos after the first half of the 18th century. Houses were being built with reliefs on the facades and magnificent interior decorations. One of these houses, an Ottoman house remaining up to the present day, was built 1872 and still preserves its original beauty.
There are around 10 hotels and two three pensions to be found. Avanos is reknown for its restaurants, bars and discos.
History of Avanos
We learn from the findings obtained in the excavations initiated in 1967 at the Topaklı village by Italians and still continuing at present, that the oldest known history goes back to the bronze and iron ages. It has been determined from a Hittite tablet found at Boğazköy, Hattuşaş in 1926, showing that the residents of the region had communicated with each other and read by philologist Emile Forrer, that Avanos was called Zuwinasa in the Hittite era. Michel Condoz found out from an Assyrian tablet in the region that Avanos was called Nenassa in the Assyrian era. The Geographia1 of Strabon writes that the emperor of Rome, Tiberius Caesar (14-17 AD) and the Roman Senate had resolved to make this region a Roman province after the death of Archelaos, the last king of the Cappadocian Kingdom (17 AD). The Byzantine sources mention the Region as Venasa at the earlier Christian era. Strabon mentions this name as Ouenasa as written in Hellenic and says that the region is renown for the Ouenasa Zeus temple. Moreover, he makes no mention of other towns in the region. Accordingly, we can assume that the town in the Venasa region had flourished in the late Middle Ages and named after the region.
As for the origin and meaning of the Ouenasa / Venasa, we know that Vanassa means queen in the Anatolian Pamphillian language, a successor of the Luwi language of 1000 BC. We can mention the script on the town coins (Pergessus) which describe Artemis of Pergessus as Vanassa Prella (the hill of Pergessus). Most probably, the Venasa in the Cappadocian language, which is another successor of the Luwi language, is not anything other than the mentioned Venassa, which signifies the Mother Goddess. It is again probable that the Mother Goddess temple in this area in the Morimene region, which proves by its name that this was a centre of Mother Goddess worship dominant at Cappadocia, had been owned, as seen in many regions, by a Hellenistic goddess during the Hellenization age. While this owning is generally attributed to Artemis or Apollo (sometimes both jointly), here as in Euromos and few other places, the temple of Mother Goddess was owned by Zeus.
1 Source for Strabon interested people:
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