Generally, when visitors arrive at Gordion, they see the monumental Midas Mound, the tomb of the Phrygian king, and the Museum where a collection of excavated artifacts are displayed.
Next to the Museum is the tea-house, “çayevi”, where tea, cold drinks and freshly baked thin-layered crusty bread, (gözleme), and pita type bread (bazlama) are served with fresh butter and cheese upon request.
However, beyond the çay evi is the Yassıhöyük village (hereafter YH), where only a few visitors venture to see and take some photos. It provides the visitor a first-hand experience of a “living” Central Anatolian village, with its traditional mudbrick architecture, “kitchen gardens”, with vegetables and fruit trees alternating with flower beds, sheep folds and mudbrick ovens all situated within walled courtyards.
Generally, few people are seen idling in their gardens during the day in spring and summer as both men and women are busy at work either doing agriculture or herding, except for the retired or elderly grandparents who stay at home, and take care of young children.
Presently Yassıhöyük has nearly 350 inhabitants, each household comprises several generations of unmarried children, married couple/s and widowed grandparents. In mid 1950s as plough and oxen gave way to tractor, the village population increased from a few households of about 30 people to nearly 150, living in one to two storey houses built with stone, mudbrick and timber.
In the 1990s Modern houses built of cinder-block appeared in courtyards. The old mud-brick structures were converted into storage of crops, dung fuel, and animal pens. However, the age-old mudbrick hearth, oven and tandır (bake-house) fixtures are kept intact but rarely used.
Starting in 2000 the well-to-do farmers began to build large storage buildings for wheat, straw, up-to-date farm equipment, and pens for milk cows.
In the last 10 years milk cooperatives are formed in villages that collect milk daily from households, which in turn is distributed to factories through a central station located in Ankara.
The village is more than its physical appearance, and it is changing at a fast pace. It is divided into two sections by a dry canal. The older single storey mudbrick structures reflect a simpler and, admittedly, a healthier lifestyle. But they are quickly being replaced by “modern” two-three storey concrete (cinder-block) structures with indoor plumbing and modern kitchens. Nevertheless remnants of the traditional culture still persist.