A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the small town of Safranbolu is one of the best places to see well-preserved examples of Ottoman-era homes and structures. Dating back to the 13th century, check out what makes this beautiful town a perfect destination for history and architecture enthusiasts.
An important caravan station between the 13th and 20th centuries, Safranbolu didn’t live out its golden years until the 17th century when the town and its many important structures influenced the architecture of the Ottoman Empire. Apart from the Old Mosque, Old Bath, and the Süleyman Pasha Medrese, built in 1322, Safranbolu has all the attributes of a typical Ottoman town, including three historic districts. From the town’s layout, visitors will see that it grew organically in response to socioeconomic expansion.
The first historic district of Çukur, located in the town’s lower part, is surrounded by two rivers with a marketplace in the center and many classic Ottoman homes and craftsmen workshops. The second historic district of Kıranköy has a more European layout due to the non-Muslim communities that used to reside here, with artisans and tradesmen living in the spaces above their workshops.
The third historic quarter, Bağlar (also known as the Vineyards) has beautiful single houses each equipped with a large garden, and in the past, it was the town’s summer resort. Looking out over the northwest slope, one can imagine residents getting away from their daily routine to take some time off in their lush gardens in the warmer months.
Added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 due to some of the most well-preserved examples of the beautiful wooden Ottoman-era houses, Safranbolu’s old town has an impressive 1,008 registered historical artifacts, including a private museum, mosques, tombs, fountains, hamams, caravanserais, a clock tower, a sundial, and many houses. As for its special name, Safranbolu comes from the name “saffron” since the town used to be a center for the growing and trading of saffron. As such, while in Safranbolu, make sure to eat Safrantat, a delicious saffron-flavored Turkish delight.
Apart from the amazing historic architecture, hiking to the Incekaya Aqueduct is also a fantastic experience while in Safranbolu. Located about two hours away from the old town by foot, the path to the historic aqueduct is flanked by a beautiful gorge. Built during the Byzantine era, İzzet Mehmet Paşa restored the aqueduct in the 1790s. Even though visitors are no longer allowed to walk across the historic structure, it’s still possible to walk to the Tokatlı Canyon where the view of the stoned archway is absolutely beautiful.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.