Turkey City Safranbolu Travel Guide

safranbolu turkey

The known history of Safranbolu, located near the north western coast of Anatolia ,dates back as far as 3000 BC. Once a city of Roman Province of “Paphlagonia” Safranbolu has hosted many civilizations including the Roman, Byzantine Seljuk and Ottoman Empires throughout its history. During the Ottoman era the town served as an important junction on the Kastamonu – Gerede – Istanbul route of the famous silk road. Safranbolu was at the same time a popular residence for Ottoman Royalty close to the Sultan and Grand Vezirs. The city received its name from the saffron which is native in Safranbolu. The powder obtained from its flower is a very strong dye. Used in very small quantities, Saffron adds a delicate flavor, distinct aroma and a very unique color to deserts and other food. Also unique in Safranbolu is the famous Cavus grapes with its extremely thin skin and sweet flavor.

If Ottoman houses interest you, Safranbolu is a must see. Most of the town is under historic preservation and gives a glimpse of domestic life 200 years ago. Safranbolu hasn’t been artificially renovated to suit tourists it’s genuine, and the houses are in everyday use. We recommend the Cinci Hamami (Turkish bath), which has been fully restored for modern use, and the Kaymakamlar Evi (Governor’s House), which has been turned into a museum. You’ll want a full day to soak up the rare pleasures of this pretty town. Try to spend the night in one of the few restored mansions in use as hotels. Visitors enjoying walking along the old narrow cobbled streets, and seeing some of the traditional crafts and trades that are still practised today. It is also known as the Capital City of Preservation, acknowledging its ability to hold onto not only pieces of art, but also the atmosphere.

Architecture of Safranbolu
Safranbolu displays its extremely rich historical and cultural heritage through 1008 architectural structures all preserved in their original environment. These structures include the public buildings such as Cinci Hodga Kervansaray and Cinci Hodga Hammam, Mosques of Koprulu Mehmet and Izzet Mehmet Pashas, The Tanneries Clock tower, Old hospital premises, The guild of shoe makers, The Incekaya aqueduct, The old city hall and fountains as well as hundreds of private residences. Rock tombs and tumulus just outside the city are also of interest.

The climate in Safranbolu is a combination of the Black Sea and Central Anatolia. The summers are hot, winters are cold, spring and autumn are tepid and cool and very long.

Previously known as Paphlagonia, Safranbolu took its name from saffron and has hosted many different civilisations in its history including Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. It was conquered by the Turks in 1196. The town reached its economic and cultural peak during the Ottoman Empire, partly because its position as an important stop on the Istanbul to Sinop trade route in the 17th century improved the commerce and wealth of the region. During this period it had close relations with Istanbul and Kastamonu, and state officials from the Ottoman Palace had important pieces of art in Safranbolu. The wealthy inhabitants of the town built large houses made from wood and stucco, many of which still survive. During the 19th century nearly 25% of the population were Ottoman Greeks, who left after World War I.

Outside Safranbolu
Safranbolu has impressive areas of natural beauty in addition to its historical and architectural interest. Areas of dense forest, canyons and valleys all offer other activities such as trekking, mountaineering and cycling, as well as the more gentle activity of picnics. Places of interest outside the town include Ancekaya Aqueduct and canyon, the houses of Yoruk Village, Bulak and Hizar Caverns, Hacilarobasi, Ucboluk and its surrounding rock tombs, Duzce Canyon, Saricicek Plateau and Uluyayla.

Natıonal And Natural Parks in Safranbolu
Safranbolu has impressive natural beauties besides historical piece of arts and houses. Dense forest areas, canyons and valleys are maintaining possibilities for other touristic activities such as trekking, mountaineering and cycle as much as it is appropriate for picnic. Incekaya Aqueduct and canyon, marvelous houses having Yoruk Village, Bulak and Hizar Caverns, Hacilarobasi and Ucboluk Village surrounding Rock Tombs, Duzce Canyon, Saricicek Plateau and Uluyayla, Gurleyik Picnic Area are the other tourism areas of the city.

Museum Houses in Safranbolu
Many of the oldest houses have been made into museums by cultural departments, and most have attractive tea gardens. Kileciler Evi is one of the best, and has been restored and organised by the Ministry of Culture as a good example of an old Safranbolu house and its lifestyle. Other well known ones are Mumtazlar Konagi (Mansion with pool) and Karauzumler Evi.

Major Sights, Things To Do Places To See in Safranbolu
Enjoying the view from the top of Hidirlik Hill, Visiting the museum houses, Visiting Incekaya Aqueduct and Yoruk Village, Staying in a restored house


Access Safranbolu By Road
Safranbolu is accessible by bus, although most go from Karabuk 10 km south and there is a regular dolmus service that shuttles between the two. From here there are regular services to Ankara (4 hours) and Istanbul (5 hours). Kirankoy is the modern part of Safronbolu and most buses will stop here.

Access Safranbolu By Rail
The nearest station is Karabuk, with a daily train from Ankara to Zonguldak, which stops there.

Access Safranbolu By Air
The nearest air connection is 240km south at Ankara Esenboga Airport, with flights to all parts of Turkey.

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