Afyonkarahisar is a city in western Turkey, the capital of Afyon Province. Afyon is in mountainous countryside inland from the Aegean coast, south-west of Ankara along the Akar River. Elevation 1,034 meters. Population (2000 census) 128,516.
Being high up the weather in winter is cold and the roads are icy.
The top of the rock in Afyon has been fortified for a long, long time. It was known to the Hittites as Hapanuwa, and was later occupied by Phrygians, Lydians and Persians until it was conquered by Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander the city (now known as Akroinon), was ruled by the Seleucids and the kings of Pergamon, then Rome and Byzantium. The Byzantine emperor Leo III after his victory over Arab besiegers in 740 renamed the city Nicopolis (Greek for the Victory City). The Seljuk Turks then arrived in 1071 and changed its name to Kara Hissar (the black castle) after the ancient fortress situated upon a volcanic rock 201 meters above the town. Following the dispersal of the Seljuks the town was occupied by the Sahipoğulları and then the Germiyan.
The castle was much fought over during the Crusades and was finally conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazid I in 1392 but was lost after the invasion of Timur Lenk in 1402. It was recaptured in 1428 or 1429.
The area thrived during the Ottoman Empire, as the centre of opium production and Afyon became a wealthy city with the typical Ottoman urban mixture of Jews, Armenians, Greeks and Turks. During the 1st World War British prisoners of war who had been captured at Gallipoli were housed here in an empty Armenian church at the foot of the rock. During the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) campaign (part of the Turkish War of Independence) Afyon and the surrounding hills were occupied by French, Italian and then Greek forces. However, it was recovered in August 27, 1922, a key moment in the great Turkish counter-attack in the Aegean region. After 1923 Afyon became a part of the Republic of Turkey.
The region was a major producer of opium (hence the name Afyon) until the late 1960s when under international pressure, from the USA in particular, the fields were burnt and production ceased.
This is a natural crossroads, the routes from Ankara to İzmir and from Istanbul to Antalya intersect here and Afyon is a popular stopping-place on these journeys. There are a number of well-established roadside restaurants for travellers to breakfast on the local cuisine. Some of these places are modern well-equipped hotels and spas; the mineral waters of Afyon are renowned for their healing qualities. There is also a long string of roadside kiosks selling the local Turkish delight. Afyon is also an important railroad junction between İzmir, Konya, Ankara and Istanbul.
With its rich architectural heritage, the city is a member of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions