Set in the Bolu province in the Black Sea region, Göynük is reminiscent of a Swiss village with pretty wooden houses nestled into the green hills and a stream that flows right through the city center. With over 100 early 20th century Ottoman period houses, as well as historic mosques, hamams, tombs, and fountains, the town speaks of a past that goes back to the Ancient Romans as well as its time within the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century. Now the idyllic town has become the 11th Turkish city to be chosen by Cittaslow, an organization founded in Italy and inspired by the slow food movement.
Cittaslow was founded in 1999 to focus on celebrating quality of life and extending the slow food movement philosophy to local communities and towns – it now has a network of cities around the world where the ‘living is good’. The organization reveres the concept of unspoiled landscapes, respect for tradition and culture, good food from natural resources, and an overall healthy, slow, and quiet life. As such, Göynük’s peace and tranquility, its distance from the hectic rhythm of the city, as well as its respect for historic architecture, tradition, and culture has earned it a place among Cittaslow’s favorite destinations.
Working continuously to preserve its environment for people who love nature and are nostalgic for the past, Göynük has become a popular destination in recent years for travelers looking to escape their urban routines, as well as history and cultural scholars. Göynük’s religious visitors are also plentiful since the town is home to the tomb of Ak Şemsettin, who was not only an important Ottoman religious scholar, poet, and mystic saint, but also a guide for Mehmed the Conqueror. The town’s most iconic monument, the victory tower overlooks the idyllic town, while the Müderrisoğlu Ottoman Mansion in the city center remains one of the city’s most important landmarks.
As for the other Turkish towns that have secured their place among Cittaslow’s network, they include: Vize, Gökçeada, Taraklı, Seferihisar, Yenipazar, Akyaka, Yalvaç, Perşembe, Halfeti, Uzundere, and Şavşat. Overall, the network of slow living towns around the world encompasses 30 countries, 228 cities, and 18 networks, where life is just plain lovely, and it is ever growing. Make sure to check out Cittaslow’s institutional events, (including general assemblies and coordinating committees) as well as their network events (such as festivals and markets) to become part of the movement.