It is the traditional houses of Safranbolu that have earned the city a worldwide reputation and inscribed it on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, with many trailing back to 18-19th century, however, the fact that the locals manage to keep the traditional lifestyle alive takes the visitors on a journey back in time. As you walk along Safranbolu’s streets sheltering over 2000 traditional Turkish-Ottoman houses, you will grasp the opportunity of exploring the elegancy of Ottoman housing architecture and of becoming familiar with the traditional lifestyle of its hospitable locals.
The Select Samples of The Ottoman Civilian Architecture: “Safranbolu Houses”
Safranbolu, managing to preserve its complete old settlement texture, is home to historical houses grouped in two main areas: The first is the “Bazaar” section that’s mostly used during winter and previously known as the “City”, while the second one is previously known as “Vineyards” and was mostly used during summertime. The locals spent the winter months in the “City”, and they moved to their summerhouses in the “Vineyards” upon the arrival of warmer summer days, however, life in the marketplace, the center of production and trade, used to be lively and hectic through the year.
With their unique architecture and locations, the houses of Safranbolu give the guests insight into the former Turkish lifestyle. Safranbolu houses were mostly built by the side of the valley for two reasons: the first is to avert the occupation of fertile agricultural lands and the second is associated with the good grace and decency of neighbor relations among the Turkish people. Because the houses were constructed on the slopes, they do not hinder one another’s view and exposure to sunlight. The upper stories supported by buttresses project over the cobbled pavements which were made as inclined to resist floodwaters and to minimize the humid effect.
Safranbolu adores those who set eyes on its beautiful houses that defy time with their sound stance and reflect the architecture of superior taste in company with fine wooden decoration. Some houses, designed as museums, have eye-catching wooden artwork on ceilings and some possess an indoor pool to cool the air and to avoid fire.
The Lands Where World’s Most Expensive Spices Grow
The name of the town derives from “saffron”, and Safranbolu is where the best quality saffron in the world is produced. The cultivation and care of saffron are very demanding, however, it is worth the effort since it is capable of coloring a fluid one hundred thousand times as heavy as the saffron itself with yellow. Being used in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries, it carries the title of being the most expensive spice in the world.
Safranbolu’s Famous Turkish Delight: A Matchless Flavour
Safranbolu has made a name for itself with its perfectly-flavored Turkish delight (lokum), a dessert regarded to be a leading flavor in the Turkish cuisine culture. The reason is, Safranbolu’s lokum is lighter and the mineral-rich natural water sprung from Safranbolu is used in the making of this dessert; which means, you must taste and buy lokum as a gift during your visit to Safranbolu.
How to Go?
Safranbolu is well accessible by road from İstanbul and Ankara. There are regular coach departures to Safranbolu from both cities. Safranbolu is roughly 5 hours’ drive from İstanbul while it is 2,5 hours from Ankara.