A town stood still in time. Glass blowing, saffron selling, metal works, and Turkish baking are just a few of the crafts the locals live by. Walking the meandering cobbled streets, a glimpse of Ottoman Turkey beckons.
White walled, red tiled roofs line cobbled streets meandering to and fro. The buildings hug the wavy topography, with stairs leading to new vantage points. Locals engage is various trades - smithery, glass blowing, saffron and spice selling and Turkish delight creations. Numerous squares, ancient hamams and old Caravansaries dot the city in a harmonious manner. Remarkably, these are the sights one can do experience when visiting Safranbolu in the 21st century. Here is one of the few towns left truly living in the past, a town stood still in time. It is at a crucial enough location to be an important resting place in the old days, but also far enough from the main roads to avoid industrialization.
Safranbolu is one of, if not the, best preserved Ottoman towns with over a thousand historic buildings and monuments spread throughout the relatively small town. The most notable are the 17th century inn, an old resting stop during Silk Road days, and a beautiful hammam still welcoming weary locals. The town is named after the valuable spice saffron, used in things such as food, medicine and cosmetics. Saffron is still an important part of this city, with various versions appearing throughout the windows of townsfolk - the tastiest being saffron Turkish delight. A few days is well spent here - slowing down life, reflecting on the simple things and taking a step back to observe life that is mostly forgotten in the modern world.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
Safranbolu is in the north central region of Turkey, not far from the Black Sea. We arrived by a 7-8 hour bus from Istanbul.
The sunrise over Safranbolu on a small hill we climbed to the west of the town. We sat in dark as the sun slowly made its way above the horizon, revealing the white city below.
We spent several days in Safranbolu with no plan, and that fact makes it memorable. It is so simple to walk around and witness and town stood still in time.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
You are well rested after a visit in Safranbolu and ready to continue the roads.
Continue the traditional route to nearby Ankara, ancient city in Anatolia. Or find passage through the Black Sea to Akhaltsikhe, a town in the Kingdom of Georgia.