Amasya is a tale of two shores. On the north of the Yeşilırmak River, rows of half-timbered Ottoman houses sit squeezed together like chocolate cakes in a patisserie window. To the south, the newer, more modern Turkey tries to get on with things in an outward-looking ode to the succession of empires that reigned in this narrow, rocky valley.
An economic powerhouse that is religiously inspired and a busy university city that's as conservative as they come: Konya treads a delicate path between its historical significance as the home town of the whirling dervish orders and a bastion of Seljuk culture, and its modern importance as an economic boom town.
Locals claim you can hear the steps of civilisations creeping up behind you in Tokat, where history buffs gorge themselves on the mosques, mansions, hamams and hans (caravanserais) in this ancient town at the heart of Anatolia. The town's history features an inevitable roll-call of Anatolian conquerors.
With a colourful, sometimes tragic history and some of the finest Seljuk buildings ever erected, Sivas is a good stopover en route to the wild east. The city lies at the heart of Turkey politically as well as geographically, thanks to its role in the run-up to the War of Independence.
The mountainous, isolated site of Hattuşa was once the capital of the Hittite kingdom, which stretched from Syria to Europe. At its zenith this was a busy and impressive city of 15,000 inhabitants with defensive walls over 6km in length, some of the thickest in the ancient world, studded with watchtowers and secret tunnels.
The tiny farming hamlet of Alacahöyük is 36km north of Boğazkale and 52km south of Çorum. The site is very old, but the excavation area is small and most of the movable monuments are now in Ankara's Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, so it's really only worth the effort if you've got some spare time after visiting Hattuşa.
The village of Boğazkale has geese, cows and wheelbarrow-racing children wandering its cobbled streets; farmyards with Hittite and Byzantine gates; and a constant sense that a once-great city is just over the brow. Most visitors come solely to visit Hattuşa and Yazılıkaya, which can be accessed on foot if it's not too hot, but there is more to explore.