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Türkiye’s centuries-old picturesque towns ‘Safranbolu and Daday’ join the Cittaslow Network

05.04.2024 | 13:32 |
 Türkiye’s centuries-old picturesque towns  ‘Safranbolu and Daday’ join the Cittaslow Network

Safranbolu and Daday, two small towns in Türkiye’s Western Black Sea region, joined the International Calm Cities Network (Cittaslow). The towns have been inscribed on the Cittaslow network during the International Cittaslow Coordination Committee meeting in Damme, Belgium, on March 23. With the registration of the districts in the network, the number of the Cittaslow cities of Türkiye has increased to 25.

Safranbolu and Daday, which underwent scrutiny in 72 different areas, including air quality, sewage systems, literacy rates and urban planning dynamics to join the Cittaslow Türkiye network, are a testament to tranquil lifestyle, preserved natural beauty, and remarkable architectural texture.

Home to almost two thousand authentic Turkish houses and a must-visit for anyone interested in sustainable cultural heritage, Safranbolu is now the only destination to be included in both the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Cittaslow network. Daday, renowned for its pristine natural landscapes and traditional Turkish hospitality, offers visitors a serene retreat.

Safranbolu: Stunning Sustainable Cultural Heritage

Located in the ecotourism zone of Karabük province in the Western Black Sea region, Safranbolu is a hidden gem featuring quaint alleyways and long-standing houses that evoke another era. Known as Paphlagonia in antiquity, the town’s current name, Safranbolu, is derived from the uncommon saffron plant that thrives in the area. Mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Safranbolu has been home to numerous civilisations, including the Hittites, Persians, Romans, and Ottomans.

The district's amazing specimens of Ottoman architecture are especially worth mentioning. The town’s two thousand classic Ottoman houses are among Türkiye’s most iconic and sustainable examples of local architecture. Dating from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, these Safranbolu houses present a harmonic interplay of wood and stone and placement. They are notable for an arrangement that does not block the sun or the view of neighbouring houses. In addition to the Safranbolu houses, the area’s attractions include other sites representative of the old urban structure, such as Cinci Inn, one of the numerous caravanserais constructed along the Silk Road, and the Cinci Bath, a stunning representation of Turkish bath culture, as well as the Köprülü Mehmet Pasha Mosque, with a striking sundial in its courtyard, and İzzet Pasha Mosque, built entirely of cut stone and regarded as a prime example of Ottoman stone carving. One of the other must-see attractions in the district is the Turkish Coffee Museum, which showcases Turkish coffee and coffee history and is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Daday: Local and Historical Charm

Located 29 kilometres from Kastamonu centre, Daday beckons travellers to embark on a journey back in time, where the rhythms of daily life are harmonised with the gentle cadence of nature. Daday’s allure lies in its scenic plain vistas, vibrant local spirit, and preserved architectural heritage.

Daday, home to many civilisations, from Kaskians and Hittites to Romans and Seljuks, was annexed to the Ottoman lands during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II. As visitors meander through Daday’s charming streets, they are greeted by a symphony of sights that reflect the town’s storied past and cultural legacy. From the distinctive Ottoman-era homes adorned with intricate woodwork to the bustling markets brimming with locally sourced delights, every corner of Daday offers a glimpse into its bygone eras.

Beyond its architectural marvels, Daday is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. While hiking among the serene natural beauty of Ballıdağ region and exploring beautiful Yumurtacı and Taşçılar ponds and Taşlıbayır Stalactite Caves, visitors to Daday are sure to find solace in the embrace of nature’s embrace. Moreover, Daday was a vital horse breeding centre during the Ottoman period. Visitors to Daday today can stay at horse farms, take riding lessons, and go on a horse safari in its unique nature.

A Cittaslow Paradise: Türkiye

The Cittaslow movement emerged in response to concerns that globalisation is homogenising city life and erasing its unique identity. In Cittaslow cities, life moves leisurely, and local cuisine, architecture, traditions, and history are well-preserved.

The Cittaslow network includes twenty-five districts extending across twenty-one provinces in seven regions in Türkiye, a country known for its rich cultural legacy. The Cittaslow Türkiye network was established in 2009 when the Seferihisar district of İzmir joined the Cittaslow Association and is slowly growing as more cities are added.

Türkiye’s twenty-five Cittaslow cities include Daday, Safranbolu, Finike, Ahlat, Akyaka, Arapgir, Eğirdir, Foça, Gökçeada, Gerze, Göynük, Güdül, Halfeti, İznik, Kemaliye, Köyceğiz, Mudurnu, Perşembe, Şarköy, Şavşat, Seferihisar, Uzundere, Vize, Yalvaç and Yenipazar.


Photo: provided by the Embassy of Turkey in Turkmenistan

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