January 31, 2008

Houses of Safranbolu

Safranbolu which is famous with its historical houses is established by an Ion Princess. The city and its surroundings has seen many civilizations like Roman, Byzantine, Seljukians and Ottoman. Safranbolu was an important roadhouse on the Kastamonu-Gerede-Istanbul part of the silk road.Safranbolu was included in the "List of World Inheritance" bu UNESCO in 1994 and became a world city because of its success in protecting its natural heritage. Safranbolu has 1008 traces that are being protected in the natural tissue as an expression of the historical and cultural wealth. Rock Graves, mounds, Cinci Ýnn and Turkish Bath, Köprülü Mehmet Pacha Mosque, İzzet Mehmet Paşa Mosque, Yemeniciler Arastası, İncekaya Water Vault, Houses, Fountains and Tombs are some of the traces that has survived.

Safranbolu has won its first fame with its houses that have a traditional and special architecture. These houses are wonderful architecture samples that shows Turkish society life of 18th and 19th centuries. These splendid houses which carry the effects of crowded family structure, economic wealth and local climate properties are defined as "Five sided architecture" because of their roofs.

Safranbolu houses are buildings with 2-3 floors, 6-8 rooms, balconies, lots of windows in every room. In these buildings; esthetical use of stone, unbelievable quality of wood work, ornaments of wall and ceilings, pools inside the houses, stairs and door knockers... All of them are magnificent.In house settlement neighborhood was the most important thing people care. Narrow streets with Albanian pavement made people closer.

Safranbolu has very interesting natural beauties besides its historical dimension and houses. Saffron plant which can paint a liquid of 10 times heavier to yellow and gave its name to the city; grows in safranbolu and is very important for the city. The other famous crop of Safranbolu is Çavuş Grape. Safranbolu is besides known with its delight. By introducing Safranbolu increasing interest develops tourism here. Today Safranbolu is an interest focus of cultural tourism.


Safranbolu; is in the West Black Sea region and is 406 kms away from Istanbul, 240 kms. away from Ankara and 10 kms. from Karabük. A huge part of the road that connects Safranbolu to Ankara and Istanbul is highway. The closest connection to the sea is 91 kms far touristic Inkumu and 97 kms far touristic Amasra.In Safranbolu you can live four seasons. Safranbolu is such a city center that you can have all kind of restaurants and hotel


The most important thing that brings Safranbolu to the forefront in Turkey and the world is the Safranbolu houses which are an example of Turkish architecture. These houses are important due to their place in urban life and their architecture. In other terms, the Safranbolu houses are an important structure that continue to survive centuries-old to our modern day urban life.

The houses are in two parts of Safranbolu. The first are the houses in the “Şehir” (the town Centre and Kıranköy) and these are used in winter. The second are the houses in “Bağlar” and they are used as summer houses.

Almost everybody there has a winter house and a summer house. The residents in the region live in the town during winter and go to the summer houses in Bağlar when the weather starts to warm up. The production and trade in the “Town Centre - Çarşı” continues through the summer months as usual.

inside one of the safranbolu houses that are turned to a museum

Three factors contrbute to the sizes and designs of the houses in Safranbolu: large families with many members, raining climate, cultural and financial richness.

Architects of today often emphasise the design of “respect for the environment” of the Safranbolu houses has. The relationships between nature-human-home, street-house and street-town is very structured and balanced. There is a great respect not only fort he environment but also to neighbours. No house prevents the view of another. In short, the “view is equally shared” in Safranbolu.
Stone, mud brick, timber and turkish roof tiles have been used to build the houses that are not only functional for use by people but also logically designed. No matter what the shape of the land is, the upper floors of the house are always contructed appropriatly geometrical.
The gardens are separated from the street with stone walls. The double wing doors lead to the garden and sometimes straight into the house. It is possible to see the grandeur at the entrance, the door.
As a result of the tradition of the separate quarters for men and women, some house have two entrances.
At the entrance of the house, there is the courtyard or “foyer” on the ground floor. Here, there is a wooden cage called a “gliste” to allow light to come inside and to help in drying out the wood which is stacked behind it. Also on the groud floow is the stables, large boilers and cellars.
A stairway, displaying skillful mastery in wood handicraft, takes you to the upper floors. İkinci kat diğer katlara göre daha basıktır. On this floor, there is a kitchen that can also be used as a bedroom. There is a wooden cylindrical turning cupboard between the kitchen and the mens quaters used for serving of meals. The daily living quaters are on the middle floor. It is easier to heat this floor on cold winter days.
The third flor is were the Safronbolu house meets perfection. The ceiling is higher on this flor. The rooms are entered through the doors which are open to four diagonal sides like a pergola that is made of many sides. The entrance of the doors to the rooms are from the corners and there are special wooden screen that prevent a direct entrance to the room. The pergolas and rooms are decorated with wooden handcarvings. There are divans in each room and most rooms have a fireplace. The side walss of the rooms contain wooden cupboards and shelves. Each room has been designed to accomodate a nuclear family or relatives as an independant quarter. Due to this reason, each room contains a small bathroom much like a shower cabin inside the wooden cupboard called a “yüklül”.
The protruding structures of the Safranbolu houses not only gives the houses an aesthetic look but it also allows the person sitting by the window a view of the whole street.
It is common to come across handcarved decorations on the pergolas, terraces and in rooms.
The windows of the house are specially designed and are narrow and long. The windows have wooden shutters and also wooden, handcrafted cages called “muşabak”. Although the number of windows changes according to the size of the room, there are generally many windows. This gives the illusion of a large room from the interior and also a unique aesthetic from the outside.


Air Traffic Control and Large Systems said...

Harika! Elinize sağlık!

RennyBA said...

Hi, Pearl from PageHalfFull sent me and I'm glad I came by as I think your blog is great, educative and very readable. Like this post as I just love places that is protecting its natural heritage - thanks for sharing with great pics and a good story!

We have some of those places in Norway too, also on UNESCO's list. If you like to know more about my county's culture, traditions and habits, you always welcome.

Wishing you a great end to your week :-)

derick said...

it is great to do some arm chair travelling with a guide.

Karlonia said...

Wow, those are some nice buildings - I will make a note to visit Turkey after I get enough money together to do some serious traveling.

Franco said...

Hi..very interesting architecture. Wonderful buildings!! Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed my visit. Will be back.



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