FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A Sunday stroll in Uşak

Posted in Turkey, Uşak by folkestonejack on October 12, 2014

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep I headed out for a stroll, having seen almost nothing of Uşak on our arrival. The city is some way off the normal tourist path with a largely agricultural/industrial base, but my short walk soon revealed a couple of sights worthy of attention – a monument to Atatürk and a sixteenth century mosque, whilst also noting other historic buildings undergoing renovation nearby.

Monument to Atatürk

Monument to Atatürk

It sometimes feels as though every village, town or city has a monument to Atatürk, so it was not altogether surprising to find one here. An article in Hürriyet Daily News in 2011 revealed that there are over a thousand such monuments in the country and that their construction has become an industry in itself. However, the monumental sculpture to Atatürk in Uşak is a truly impressive sight and is clearly of quite a different order to most. The work, by Tankut Öktem, features a horseback charge and oxen pulling a wagon full of shells. One of the most significant battles in the Turkish War of Independence (1919-22) took place not so very far from here at Dumlupınar, giving this additional resonance (the city itself was occupied by Greek forces between 1920 and 1922).

The Burmali Camii (mosque) dates to 1570, although its impressive spiralling minaret looks like a much later addition. It appears to have undergone quite a bit of restoration over the years, with substantial repairs following a fire in 1922.

57009 at the head of the line of abandoned locomotives

57009 at the head of the line of abandoned locomotives

After noting these sights I headed up the road to a spot beyond the railway depot where a sadder sight awaited – a line of abandoned locomotives that seem to be destined for the scrapyard. As things stand today, the steam locomotive for our tour is the last operative steam loco in the country.

As there didn’t seem much else to do nearby, I found a spot on the wall overlooking the railway and ate my lunch in the company of the rather talkative depot watch-cat!

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