In ancient times the town was known as Acroënus. It fell to the Seljuq Turks in the 13th century and was renamed Karahisar (“Black Fortress”) for the ancient fortress situated atop a cone of volcanic rock some 660 feet (200 metres) above the town. The word afyon (“opium”) was subsequently prefixed to the town’s name as a reflection of the region’s chief product. The town came under Ottoman rule briefly in 1392–1402 and then conclusively in 1428–29. It was heavily damaged in the Turkish War of Independence (1919–22), when it was occupied twice by Greek forces. Historical monuments in Afyonkarahisar include the partly ruined fortress (the landmark of the town), the 13th-century Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), and the Altığöz Bridge built by the Seljuqs. The local archaeological museum is housed in an old theological school.
An important railway junction on the İzmir-Ankara line, Afyonkarahisar is also well served by highways and air service linking it to all the major towns in Turkey. The region surrounding the city has traditionally been the leading opium-poppy-producing area in Turkey. Its other agricultural products include wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, and livestock. Industry is confined to mohair, wool, carpets, cement, and marble.