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Turkey

Safranbolu, the saffron city

Safranbolu rassembles tthe old European cities such as Liège, Strasbourg and Francfort. If nothing calls you to stop there, its calm and its architecture, far from the noise pollution of large cities, justify this break south of the black sea.

A walk outside of time

The visit of Safranbolu starts early in the morning in order to come across inhabitants and hotel staff around the back alleys. The majority of Ottoman houses, renovated by UNESCO, share the same architectural characteristics: of structures of an immaculate white which are held by wooden posts on both the inside and out. All seen from large windows stretch across 3 to 4 floors until slate roofs. If you manage to mix with the inhabitants, they will tell you with pleasure the history of their houses: certain buildings have been occupied with pride for over 300 years by the same family.

The quarters are very calm, outside the beautiful hubbub of certain bungalows or souvenir markets: silk scarfs remember the caravaners, soaps and perfumes close Turkish baths, stands and saffron (always cultivated in the region and are where the city gets its name from) or even handcrafts proposed by forger families. Here, all is a question of heritage, passed on down through generations , be it architectural, cultural or a matter of ancestral awareness.

Saffron

An art of living

When visiting Safranbolu, it is imperative to take your time. I have always liked to walk with Turks because the ritual is essentially the same, the place doesn´t really matter: choose an objective to follow, stop to drink a çay en route, try the gözleme or Turkish delight once you have arrived (accompanied by Turkish coffee) then take the return route stopping for a reglemented tea break half-way back. An end mixed with gastronomy, of tourism with a pinch of laziness; seemily appropriate.

This route is very applicable to your trips out in town as well as the walk towards the aqueduct in Incekara: from the old town go towards the north and allow one and half hours to see the gorges. The route is well marked out but not especially well indicated so don´t hesitate to get yourselves well informed by people on route...The view when arriving fully justifies the "effort" made and the coffees at the top of the summit are comforting !

A nature preserved

If the walk doesn´t fit into your timetable or is an inconvenience, visiting the cave of Bulak is a good alternative. Looking for a dolmus to take you there or going by car on location. Situated just 15 minutes from the town centre, the cave has 2 entrances: the first ends in a U-bend, of a 30 metres walk. The second, of fossils, is situated at the back of the hill and extends for 300 metres of galleries, open to visitors. A refreshing outing not to mention tea on arrival as well!

Elodie Arnouk
43 contributions
Updated 23 November 2015
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