Merzifon is a small Anatolian town located north-west of the famous city of Amasya. Although it is not a well-known destination amongst tourists, its Ottoman atmosphere and unique charm will win you over.
The medrese (koranic school) was built in the first quarter of the 15th century by Mehmed I and bears the sultan’s name. A magnificent clock tower built in stone and brick work was added to the structure in 1865 by Ziya Paşa, the administrator of the region of Amasya. This addition blends perfectly into the landscape and enhances the original building.
The old town centre lies around the pretty mosque of Kara Mustafa Paşa, the grand vizier under sultan Mehmed IV. The most interesting feature of this place is the ablution fountain located in the garden. Its dome is beautifully adorned with a magnificent landscape painted in 1875 by Zileli Emin and is considered an artistic masterpiece of the late Ottoman era.
The complex of the mosque also includes a hamam (Turkish bath) as well as a bedesten (covered market). The latter was superbly renovated and harbours since 2006 a restaurant where the guests can discover traditional Ottoman cuisine in an exceptional setting.
After lunch, why not take a stroll in the surrounding alleys and browse the numerous small shops which have retained some historic character. A weekly market also takes place every Monday near the mosque.
A few hundred yards from there you will find a number of traditional houses as well as the old Armenian church which is now home to a cultural centre and the municipal administrative services.