Uşak city centre (Dick Osseman)
The ancient town of Uşak was known as Temenothyrea when it was at various times Lydian and Phrygian as it lies between the two kingdoms. Now a provincial capital, it has long been a commercial centre, and it was the first town in Turkey to have electricity. Though a modern city, some Ottoman houses remain and have been restored.
The 7th-century Lydian, or Karun, Hoard from a tumulus near the village of Güre, 25 km west of Uşak, is an unexpected eye-opener in the archaeology museum where some of the locally made carpets are on display. Uşak is a justly famous for its carpets, which are often westernised as ‘Ushak’ or ‘Oushak’. Greatly sought after since the 16th century, they are also referred to as Holbein carpets because they figure in the artist’s paintings. There is no sign of carpet making here today, but they can be seen in museums around the world. A room in the Carpet Museum in Istanbul is devoted to them and many of Istanbul’s large mosques were carpeted with examples.
The nearby town of Eşme, to the west, is known for its kilims. There are a number of spas in the area, and the 75km-long Ulubey Canyon to the south is a tourist attraction.
Usak is 210km from Izmir on the main Ankara road.