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Location and Geographical Characteristic of Safranbolu

Safranbolu is located at west of Black Sea Region of Türkiye 65 kms inland from the sea and its coordinates are 41 degree 16 minute northern latitude, 32 degree 41 minute eastern longitude. Safranbolu is town of Karabuk Province which is only 8 kms away from the center of the city. it has been surrounded by Karabük (central town, Ovacik, Eflani), Bartin (Ulus) and Kastamonu (Arac). it is possible to reach the town by three different roads. 82 kms long road to Karabuk coming from Ankara-lstanbul highway seperated at Gerede, continues from here for 8 kms and reachs Safranbolu. At the north of the town there is Bartin and at the east Kastamonu. It's possible to reach Karabuk city center by railways. Transportation by airvvays has not been established yet.

The town is surrounded by hills and mountains. The lovvest point is 300 meters and the highest point is 1750 meters high. The lovvest point at the city center is 400 meters and the highest point is 600 meters high. The area of the town is 1013 square kms mostly covered with forests.

Arac and Soganli brooks and Ovacuma creek are the branches of rivers vvhich pass through the tovvn. Other then those there are numerous creeks vvhich make up big canyons although they do not have a lot of water.

Geological formation of the town is interesting. Along with deep and long canyons there are big caves and streams coming out of the caves on the slopes of the hills. The center of the city is, also located on an interesting geological formation. Tokatli (Gumus), Akçasu and Bulak Rivers pass through the city forming three seperate canyons and they unite with Arac River. it is possible to see buildings in Carsi area built on the norrovv section of these canyons.

The climate of Safranbolu shows the characteristics of a transition from Black Sea Region to Central Anotolia . The summers are hot, winters are cold, springs and falls are warm, cool and also quite long. it is rainy in spring, fail and winter. in the last few years the summers passed rainy. Avarage rainfall in a year is 500 mm and the humidity is 60%. Avarage number of days of snowfall is 35. There are differences of temperatures between Carsi and Baglar since the center of city is located on different altitudes and is surrounded with forests. Carsi section (Old Safranbolu) which is on the side slopes of the hills is warmer and protected against winds, the winter houses are located here. The snovvfall to this area is less than the other parts.Bag lar section which is located on higher altitudes is open to air currents, cool in summer and snowly in vvinter. That is why it is where the summer houses are.

BULAK (MENCİLİS CAVE); 4 km far from SAFİRKONAK at the west ( Google Map )

GLASS TERRACE & İNCEKAYA AQUEDUCT; 4,3 km Far from SAFIRKONAK at the North East ( Google Map )

YÖRÜK VILLAGE ( Google Map )


Established in the 14th Century, Yoruk village is a tiny replica of Safranbolu. A designated historic site, it contains 119 original homes out of which 86 are registered by Ministry of Culture as cultural heritage dwellings.


Yenice Forests was designated by WWF (World Widelife Fund) as one of the top 100 marvels in the World that must be preserved. It is the biggest block of forests in Turkey. It is a spectacular venue for hiking, biking, nature walking, nature photoraphy offering breathtaking lake and mountain views.


There are 32 tumulis and four big ancient graves in and around Safranbolu which may reveal important Information about prehistoric time and historical periods of the region and its surroundings. 24 of those tumuli are located between Safranbolu and Eflani, 5 of them are in Eskipazar and the other three are in Ovacik. three of the ancient graves are in Eflani and the other one is within the district of Eskipazar.

An archaeoloigical surface research conducted by a team underthe supervision of English archaeologist, Dr. Royer MATTHEWS in settlements of Ovacik and Eskipazar in 1998, testifies to the fact that the earliest settlement in the region started in the early Bronze Age. Unfortunately we do not have Information about when the social life started in Safranbolu because no archaeological research has been made so far in 24 tumuli and 3 big ancient graves located between Safranbolu and Eflani.

The region was called Paplogonya in the epic lliad written by Homer in ancient times. The region was dominated by Hittites, Phrygians, indirectly Lydians, Persians, Hellenistic Kingdoms (Ponds), Romans, Seljuks, Cobanogullari, Candarogullari and Ottomans in chronological order.

After the split of Roman Empire in 395 A .D. Safranbolu was under the sovereingnty of East Roman Empire ( Byzantium ). We have traces showing that the Turks came and settled in the region before the lO th century. However those were group settlements and were not meant to become sovereign.

One of the important evidence that the Turks were becoming more and more powerful and independent in the region can be understood from the incident that the Byzantian army going to Istanbul via Ankara-Kastamonu in 1074 was attacked by nomadic Turkomans. In 1075, borders of the Anatolian Seljukian State, which was established upon surrendering Nicosia by Kutalmis oglu Süleyman Sah, grandson of Selçuk Bey, extended to the Kastamonu-Safranbolu-Gerede line, but probably excluding Safranbolu. Safranbolu Castle (today, the old government house rises on this hill) was taken over by the Seljukian Sultan II. Kilic Arslan's son Muhittin Mesut Sah in 1196 and according to the documents found recently, it is cleared that Turks started to govern in 1196.

In its history, the reign of Safranbolu changed hands between Turks and Byzantines and even between Ottomans and small Turkish states several times. Cobanoglu Beyligi reigned from 1213 to 1280 and political state became obscure for about fifty years from this time on. Some authors claim that Umur Bey established an independent Turkish state during this period and this view is supported by Byzantine sources as well. it has also been claimed that at that time Gerede and Safranbolu were in close relations and the capital of Gerede Beyligi which Ibn Batuta was talking about was Safranbolu.

in 1326 Candaroglu Süleyman Pasha took Safranbolu under his reign. Ibn-i Battal who had visited Safranbolu in 1332 gives detailed Information about the city in those days.

It is possible that Safranbolu was taken over by Ottomans for the first time in 1354 by Sehzade Gazi Suleyman Pasha who is known as conquerer of Rumeli, son of Sultan Orhan Bey at the same time. A contrary view claims that the city was under Candaroglu reign at that time and Gazi Suleyman Pasha foundation and the possesions of this foundation belongs to l. Süleyman Pasha, Candaroglu Bey. After that date Safranbolu was ruled sometimes by Ottomans and sometimes by Candaroglu. Civil wars started in the area during the "Fetret Period" which started in 1402 when Yildirim Beyazit was defeated by Timur. As l. Mehmet ( Celebi Sultan Mehmet ) United Ottomans again, the Ottoman army had a battle with Candaroglu Beyligi and Safranbolu was taken by Ottomans one more time.

During the Ottoman period Safranbolu was made up of two towns. First o ne was "Medine-i Tarakli Borlu" which was at the center, the other o ne was "Yorukan-i Tarakl i Borlu" which was at todays Yoruk village. Those two towns were ruled by Bolu Sancak at first and as Bolu Sancak was abolished they started to be ruled by Kastamonu in 1692. in 1826 Safranbolu gained a new administrative structure as independent Viran Sehir Sancagi and in l846 Kastamonu became a city and Safranbolu became a "Sancak" of Kastamonu.

In 1870 Administrative structure of Ottomans were rearranged and Safranbolu became a town of Kastamonu. The same year the town became a municipality and the first mayor was Haci Muhammed Aga, in 1927 Safranbolu became a town of Zonguldak, in 1945 Ulus and in 1953 Eflani and Karabuk were seperated from Safranbolu and became towns. Karabuk showed a rapid growth with the establishment of iron-steel industry and has become a city in 1995 and Safranbolu has become a town of Karabuk.

Daily Life in Safranbolu In Safranbolu the master of the family or the house is the eldest male. His wife has much influence on the administratation of the house. Men work outside for the family and women do the housework. Men and women are used to wake up together very early in the morning. They used to make breakfast (usually soup) and take c are of the animals. Adult males go to the mosque to pray and when they return everybody has breakfast together. After the breakfast, men who are in manufacturing and trade goto their jobs and the other men take c are of the land. in the meantime the housework is done by the women of the house and the adopted girl under the supervision of the eldest female. There usually is a lot of housework to be done since the house is big and crowded. Men used to have small take-out lunches outside and the people in the house do not have big lunches either. Women used to go visiting their neighbours after they finish the housework and come back home on time to prepare the dinner. Men used to go to cafes in the afternoon o r after dinner. People usually had early dinners and went to bed early. Some evenings they, used to go visiting neighbours but they never sat long. In the begining of the summer people used to move to summer houses. Since the summer houses are not very far away, the necessary goods were carried from the winter houses. During the summer men used to go to work from the summer houses. They used to commute by horses o r mules. During the summer fruits meet etc. were stored and they were carried to the winter house in fall.


The most important feature which makes Safranbolu distinctive our country and in the world are the Safranbolu houses built according to traditional Turkish architecture. These houses are ' specific by their urban structures and their architecture. in otherv Safranbolu Houses are the structural cornerstones of Turkish ur culture which were formed in hundreds of years and are stili livi i today. That is why in order to learn more about Safranbolu hol we need to have sufficient Information starting from the climatf the culture, family structure, economy and traditions of the area.

There are approximately 2000 traditional Turkish houses at the center of the town which were built during 18th, 19th and at the beginning of 20th centuries. 800 of those houses are under legal protection.

Houses are grouped at two seperate regions of Safranbolu. The first is the part which is known as "the city" and was used as winter residence. The second one is the section known as "Baglar" and was used as summer residence. The city consists of the sections Kale administrative center, Carsi, the shopping center and Akcasu, Gümüs , Musalla, Kirankoy and Tabakhane where houses are located. This part of Safranbolu is located at two low altitude valleys which are protected against harsh effects of the weather. Here the, houses are close to each other and the streets are narrow. Baglar is located at high altitude, open to air current, on wide lands. Almost everyone has one winter ando ne summer house. The people of area live in winter houses in winter and as the weather gets warmer the move to their summer houses. Nevertheless, production and trade continues at " Carsi " in summer as well.

In Safranbolu, functionalism being the main concern in the formation of the city, esthetical aspects have never been neglected The settlement order of houses and public buildings, bazaars and market places, the structures of roads, streets and squares are the examples of functionalism. All houses face public and religious buildings and monuments. No matter from which house you are looking the scenery is never blocked. The closer parts of the houses do not see each other while the far parts are open and face each other. The commercial area is at the center, bazaars are just around this area and the production sites which have a pollutant effect are st the lower parts and the sides of the city. The people living in the area cell their products at the grains, vegetable, animal and timber markets which are all separate from each other. After selling their goods. people buy their daily needs from the leather shoe makers, coppersmith, blacksmith, drapery markets and etc. close to each other and which are organized as guilds.

Roads and streets leading to the center of the city are all covered with stone as well as the courtyards of the houses and squares of the city. The existing pavement style of the stones minimizes the humidity, resistant to floods and passes enough water to the roots of the trees. The scenery and the outlook are as important as the climate while locating the houses. The scenery from the windows, outer door of the courtyard or between two houses, they ali have the same importance. At the first glance, this detail might be overlooked but it is evidentfor ali buildings and the whole city.

As we see the Safranbolu Houses \vithin the general structure of the city we can say that these houses are the result of a vast culture accumulation, wealth and great expertise. As Celik Gülersoy pointed out, not even one house is made like a cottage in Safranbolu. Ali houses have been built in the middle of a big yard, they are mostly 3 floors, 6 or 8 rooms big houses designed for the convenience of the people living in it and aesthetically beautiful.

There are three factors which determine the size and the shape of a Safranbolu House; big families, rainy weather and cultural and material prosperity. Normally, a family has two or three children. When the son gets married, he does not move to a separate house, his wife moves in with him to his father's house. Uncles, aunts and grandchildren ali live in the same house. in orderto help the housewife with the housework there usually is an adopted girl. The adopted girl who is taken from a family in need and from villages, is treated like one of the family. When the adopted girl gets married like a daughter of the family, a new girl is adopted. Sons move out as they get economically independent and powerful.

A traditional Safranbolu House comprises two living parts; one is "harem " for household and the other is "selamlik" for guests and visitors. Cattles and horses live in the stables at the entrance level of the houses. Because of the rainy weather there is need for covered areas. The food for the people and the animals and the fire-wood are ali kept in the appropriate parts of the houses. For ali those reasons Safranbolu Houses are big. Another effect of the rainy weather are on the roofs. The roofs must have long eaves and have to be perfect since it rains a lot. Therefore the expression "five sided architectural work" is used for Safranbolu.

Architects of our day usually point out that, Safranbolu houses have "respect for the environment". Nature - human - house, street-house and street-bazaar relations are harmonious and balanced. The respect for the neighbour is as important as the respect for the environment. Houses do not blockthe view of each other. We can say that the scenery is fairly shared in Safranbolu. The houses which have functional designs in means of people and reason, are constructed using stones, sun-dried brick, wood and tile. No matterthe shapeof the land, appropriate geometry has been achived at upperfloors.

The yards are separated from the street with stone walls. The entrance to the yard and sometimes directly to the house is through a big two wing door. There are big locks, door knockers and latches on each door. The strangers who come to the house knock the door by using door knocker while a member of the house check the latch to see if the door is open. The noise coming from the latch lets the people in the house know that the person coming is not a stranger.

The way the neighbours use the door knockers to knock the door lets j the people in the house understand who is at the door. In case the door is locked, it can be opened by with a rope pulled from the upper j floors of the house.

As the result of the tradition Harem- selamlik (household and guests sharing separate quarters) some houses have two entrances.
At the entrance of the house there is "hayat" at the first floor. If this i part is covered with stones, it is called "taslik". Here there is "gliste" which provides light and where the fire-wood is left to dry at the same time. There are also stables, big furnaces and granary at the first floors.

There are stairsto the upper floors which demonstrate the best examples of woodcraft. Second floor hasa lower ceiling than the other floors.
At this floor there is a kitchen which can also be used as if necessary. There is a wooden revolving cupboard for conving food between the kitchen and the selamlik. Daily life usually taket place at the mid-floor. it is easier to keep this floor warm on cold winter days. The third floor is the point where the perfection is reached in a Safranbolu house. At this floor the ceilings are higher. The entrance to the rooms are through the doors which are opened from shorter four sides of an eight sided "sofa" ( Cardak). The entrance doors of the rooms are at the corners and there is wooden screen at the door which blocks the direct contact to the room at the entrance. Sofas and the ceilings of the rooms are decorated with wooden ornaments. There is a sofa arrangement and most of the time a furnace in each room. At the side walls of the room there are wooden wardrobes and shelves. Each room has been designed as an independent guarter to accoia small family or a relative. in each room, inside the wardrobes are small rooms for ablution like today 's shower cabins.


The History of Safranbolu based on documents dates backto Byzantian period (395-1453). Safranbolu Dadybra was an important fortress (Aktaria) against raids of Muslim Arabs in Byzantian period. The town, called Dadybra in Byzantian period, was later called Zalifre in 1196 in Seljuk period. During the principality and early Ottoman period, its name was changed to Borglu and Borlu. When we study 16 th century Ottoman written surveys of the province we note that. The name Borlu became Tarakli borlu hence Tarak tribe settled in the region. in the Ottoman period the subsequent names of Safranbolu following Tarakli borlu were Zagfiran-i Borlu in mid 18 th century, Zagfira- i Benderli for short time in the second half of the 19 th century, Zagfiranbolu in the last quarter of the 19 th century, and finally Zafranbolu and Safranbolu. During its past which goes back to very old days, Safranbolu reached the top economical and cultural level during Ottoman period. During the 17th century the road which connects Istanbul-Bolu-Amasya-Tokat-Sivas to Sinop passed through Gerede-Safranbolu-Kastamonu. Being and important lodging place on this road caused trade to develop in a short time and that brought wealth and prosperity to Safranbolu. The Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmet Pasa stayed in Safranbolu for a period and had a mosque built at the city. This mosque was for worshippers in 1661. Izzet Mehmet Pasa from Safranbolu who was another high rank officer, had be come Grand Vizier and had a mosque built at the market place of the city.

During that time, besides being in close relations with Istanbul , Safranbolu was also in close relations with Kastamonu. People from Safranbolu were taking jobs in Istanbul and Kastamonu in transportation, bakery etc. The relations with Istanbul and Kastamonu, the experience acquired in trade and production and the economical power they have gained from ali those have given shape to the development of Safranbolu. Two areas of high culture settlements, one for winter and one for summer living, emerged at Carsi and Baglar. As the result of this cultural accumulation and prosperity, Safranbolu reached the top at urbanization, quality of housing and human relations. Leather and leather shoes manufacturing, copper and ironworking, saddle and horse shoe making, drapery and timber trading were the main business fields in Safranbolu. Those professions were organized as guilds (Lonca) and separate market places. Safranbolu have devoted its economic and human powerto the co. during The independence War. The shoes for the arrny were supplied Safranbolu during the war. They have also supplied great number soldiers most of whom were killed in action. Today the remains fror history of Safranbolu are; tumuli, sarchopaghies, rock tumbs, reliev and the Byzantine Tempie at Sipahiler village. So far the excavation. researches around Hacilarobasi where quite many remains were found are not satisfactory. Church of Hagios Stephanos in Kirankoy is bee used as g mosque today and it is assumed that Thedora had it built remains other than those beiong to the period of Turkish, especially Ottoman reign.

This informations prepared from Association Service of Safranbolu.

CANVAS, FORESTS AND SPRINGS; There are photo safari and Tracking opportunities in Düzce Canyon, Sırçalı Canyon and Tokatlı Canyons. Sarıçiçek Plateau and the world-famous YENCE FORESTS, which are only 30 km away from Safranbolu, are waiting to be discovered for those who like hiking and taking photos.

There are many rock tombs and tumuli in the districts of Hadrianapolis Ancient City, Hacılarobası, Çavuşlar, Üçbölük and Akören villages..