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The town of Kayseri is in the geometric center of Anatolia and on the ancient trade routes connecting the west with the Middle East and Asia. Although its history may be traced back to earlier periods, during the first millennium BC, Kayseri was named as Mazaca. Later, after the establishment of the Roman province in 17 AD, it was called Caesare and with the later Arabic rule, Kaysariye. Byzantines constructed the present citadel and outer city walls. Later on, during the Seljuk period, Kayseri became one of the most important centers in Anatolia with many religious and secular public buildings. The flourishing city spread beyond the citadel and a number of town quarters were established around the city walls. In the late 16th century, under the Ottoman rule with a population of 40,000, Kayseri was the largest city of Anatolia after Bursa, four-fifths of its population being Muslim and the remaining, Christian. Evliya Celebi visited Kayseri around 1650 and described it as a lively urban setting comparable to Bursa and Edirne (Evliya Celebi Seyahatnamesi, 1970, 68). The town had a major earthquake in 1835 destroying many of its buildings and killing more than 660 people (Ainsworth, 1842; Ahmet Nazif, 1987). The economic boom after the Second World War gradually forced Kayseri to turn into a so-called "modern" town with medium-height, densely built apartment buildings at the expense of destroying the historical quarters. In the last fifty years, drastic changes have taken place and a rich corpus of traditional urban houses has disappeared. Today one can still see a very small proportion of traditional neighborhoods and the last examples of houses mostly in quite poor condition.