Karabuk located in the West Black Sea Region is a tourism heaven with its historic Safranbolu houses and antique cities.
Karabuk, carries the honor it deserves for being a city that represents industrialization in the history of Turkish Nation. In the first years of the republic, Karabuk was chosen as the first integrated iron- steel facility because of its proximity to basin of coal and coast, being on the railway route and its strategic convenience.
Karabuk has a border with Bartin, Kastamonu, Cankiri, Bolu and Zonguldak provinces.
Though the centrum is at a height of 270 meters above sea level, there are hills and plateaus at a height of over 2000 meters. Yenice Forests, one of the important forest areas of Turkey, is determined as “Open Air Forest Museum”.
Karabuk, where the characteristics of the Black Sea climate are partially seen cannot sufficiently benefit from humid air of Black Sea as it is inland from the coast and the characteristics of territorial climate are more dominant.
As it is understood from archeological surface searches carried out in the towns Ovacik and Eskipazar, the oldest settlement of Karabuk and its neighborhood was the village “Yaziboy” in the town Eskipazar. The fact that a tumulus in this area was settled at in the first Bronze Age (2500 BC) increases the value of Eskipazar.
In the Antiquity, Karabuk was an area considerably settled during the Hittite Empire Period first of all and then during the Phrygians, Hellenistic Kingdoms and Roman Empire periods. And the town of Karabuk, exposed to a dense settlement during the Hittite Period, was Eflani. The village Kisla (Kislakoyu) of Ovacik is an area having been settled during the period of Phrygians. It is supposed that the building stone on the gate of Hesem Mill in the area dates back to the period of Phrygians. During the period of Hellenistic Kingdoms, especially Eflani was densely settled. Safranbolu, one of the most important historic cities of Karabuk was taken over from the Byzantium Empire by Ankara Ruler, Muhiddin Mesud, the son of Kilic Arslan II, in 1196 during the Seljuk period. Afterwards, Karabuk and its neighborhood were absolutely made an Ottoman land during the period of Celebi Mehmet, the Otoman Sultan, in 1416. Historical documents demonstrate that especially Safranbolu was an important castle during the Byzantium Empire and it kept its importance during the Ottoman period.
Karabuk owns its existence as a city to the Republic. Karabuk was a subdistrict with 13 houses of a village subjected to Safranbolu, the town of Zonguldak in 1927. When it was required to name the area where the current station is located during the opening of Ankara- Zonguldak Railway on the 1st of June in 1934, it was approved that the area was named as the village with 13 houses and the name Karabuk began to take place officially in the map of The Republic of Turkey State Railways for the first time. While it was a subdistrict with 13 houses until 1937, Karabuk made its name heard throughout Turkey and world in a short time with the foundation of Iron- Steel Factory on the 3rd of April in 1937.
The towns of Karabuk are Eflani, Eskipazar, Ovacik, Safranbolu and Yenice.
Safranbolu, an exemplary city reflecting all characteristics of traditional Turkish society and maintaining the cultural heritage formed in a historical process within a natural textile, was listed in the “World Heritage List” by UNESCO.
In the old centrum determined and announced to be a protected area, 1008 historic buildings have officially been registered. Among these buildings, there are a special museum, 25 mosques, 5 lodges, 8 historic fountains, 5 baths, 3 inns, 1 historic clock tower, 1 sundial and hundreds of houses and mansions. In addition to these, there are many tumulus, historic bridges and rock tombs.
While Museum city Safranbolu offers people the opportunity to experience historical and cultural atmosphere of ancient times, it attracts visitors with its natural beauties. Moreover, the village Yoruk is an important settlement keeping its historical textile.
“Uluyayla Festivals” are held in the second week in August and “Altin Safran Belgesel Film Festivali (Altin Safranbolu Documentary Festival)” is held between the 20th and the 24th of September every year in Safranbolu.
At a 35-km distance to Karabuk, Yenice has been a significant settlement since the Seljuks. Yenice Forests host a great number of tree and shrub sorts seen in rare forests in the world except in tropical forests. It is really a tree museum with tree sorts, many of which have centennial length and width. The variety of animals inhabiting in these forests adds value to Yenice in terms of wild life. Some of the forests are announced as “Nature Protection Zones”. The area spread over a 4-hectare ground in the site Gokpinar has officially been registered as an Arboretum with 40 kinds of trees and a great number of animals. The area Yenice Arboretum (Open Air Forest Museum) is reached through a 12-km road from the 5th km of Yenice-Karabuk highway. Plateaus, caves, canyons, springs whose water is known as curative within the borders of the town, recreation facilities founded inside the forest form other values of the town.
There are many rock tombs and tumulus dating from the Proto-Hittites in Eskipazar which is at a 36-km distance to the centrum and on the south of Karabuk. The antique city dating from this period and at a 3-km distance to the town had hosted at least four civilizations.
Asar Castle on which there are many temples and inscriptions, rock tunnels on Asar Hill, rock tombs dating from the Roman period, Cetioren Recreation Spot famous for its forests and cold water, Bayindir Spring and fresh water fish coming up in Soganli Brook are interesting values of Eskipazar.
There is not a public and official museum in the town Karabuk. “Iron-Steel Museum” of Kardemir, “Ahmet Demirezen Yemenicilik Museum” in Safranbolu and a few Safranbolu Houses (Kaymakamlar House, Kilerciler House, Karauzumler House, Mumtazlar House) restored by Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Administrative District and private individuals and made available for touring.
Ahmet Demirezen Yemenicilik Museum
It was organized by Flat-heeled Shoe (Yemeni) Master Ahmet Demirezen in the shop numbered 3 in Yemeniciler Market in the bazaar of Safranbolu. The museum where tools and materials used in the production of a shoe called “yemeni” are exhibited began to furnish services in 1989.
Kaymakamlar Museum House
It is located in the Hidirlik Yokusu Street inside Safranbolu Bazaar. It was created as a result of the expropriation within the scope of the project “Safranbolu Health and the Protection” by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in 1979 and of an arrangement of a splendid Safranbolu House after it was restored. The construction beginning to service as an Educational Center and Museum House in 1981 is called Kaymakamlar House because of its first owner.
The mansion made to be built by Ziya Efendi, the Chief Professor of Gazi Suleyman Pasha Theological School, in 1988 bears the most explicit features of traditional Ottoman-Turkish architecture. It is a three- floored mansion with a section on the ground floor called life. The house has a part reserved for women and girls and a part reserved for men
The remains of the antique city Hadrianapolis thought to have been founded in 64 BC dating from the Roman Period were discovered within the borders of the town Eskipazar during archeological searches carried out in the province Karabuk. Another important settlement of this city is Kimistene (Asar Hill). A great number of temples and grave inscriptions were discovered in this antique settlement dating back to the 3rd and 4th centruies AD.
There is an antique settlement place dating back to the Roman Period in the village Akoren in Safranbolu. There are 32 tumulus and 4 great mounds in the province Karabuk.
Rock tunnels and rock tombs are available in the area. Among them, Gerdek Strait Rock Tomb is in the subdistrict Karakoyunlu in the village Purcukorun in the valley of Soganli Brook in the town Ovacik. The tomb is thought to belong to the Byzantium Period in the 7th century AD.
Eski (Old) Mosque (Gazi Suleyman Pasha Mosque), Koprulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, Hidayetullah Mosque, Tas Minare Mosque (Stone Minaret Mosque), Dagdelen Mosque, Izzet Mehmet Pasha Mosque, Akcasu Mosque in the town Safranbolu and Kure-i Hadit Mosque in the town Eflani in Karabuk are worth seeing.
Eski (Old) Mosque (Gazi Suleyman Pasha Mosque)
As the inscription of Eski Mosque (Gazi Suleyman Pasha Mosque) in the subdistrict Cami-i Kebir could not be found, the exact date of construction cannot be determined. Suleyman Pasha Theological School is located just below the mosque. This religious building is thought to be built by Prince Suleyman, the son of Orhan Bey or his relatives.
Kure-i Hadid Mosque
It is the most important mosque among Eflani Mosques. It is understood from the engravings on the front of the mosque that it was built for Ismail Bey of Isfendiyarogullari clan in 1451.
Koprulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque
It is inside the Safranbolu Bazaar in the Subdistrict Cesme. Similar to other examples, this construction also lacks an inscription. However, it is understood from a handwritten Koron sent by Grand Vizier Koprulu Mehmet Pasha who had the building constructed that it began to be available for worshipping in 1661/1662 according to the Gregorian calendar (in 1072 according to the Muslim calendar).
It is possible to enter the yard through a big arched gate from the bazaar. It has also another gate opening to the Market Place.
Izzet Mehmet Pasha Mosque
It is inside Safranbolu Bazaar. It is understood from the marble over the gate that the mosque which is a small model of Nuroosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul was built by Izzet Mehmet Pasha, the grand vizier of Selim III, in 1796 (in 1211 according to the Muslim calendar). Izzet Mehmet Pasha Mosque, one of the most interesting constructions dating back to the 18th century, is thoroughly made of cut-stones.
Kiran (Sen Stefanos) Church (Ulu Mosque)
This church is situated in the district Kirankoy in Safranbolu. The church was converted into a mosque in 1956 and re-named as Ulu Mosque. According to the statement in Kastamonu Asar-i Kadime by Mehmet Behcet, this church was built in 515 according to the Gregorian calendar. Repaired in 1872, the church has been used as a mosque since 1956.
Inns and Baths
It is in the center of the bazaar in the subdistrict Cesme in Safranbolu. It is a splendid construction built by Rumelia Kazasker (chief military judge) Cinci Hodja (his real name was Huseyin) who got more powerful and richer during the period of Sultan Ibrahim for his hometown Safranbolu. It is restored today and it is available as a hotel.
There are also two inns, namely, Pamukcu and Tuzcu Inns in Safranbolu except for Cinci Inn. Moreover, there is Katirci Inn dating back to the beginning of the 20th century in Eflani.
Eski (Old) Bath
It is situated in the subdistrict Cesme in Safranbolu. It dates back to Byzantium Period.
Yeni (New) Bath (Cinci Bath)
It is inside the bazaar in the subdistrict Cesme in Safranbolu. This bath is also known to be built by Cinci Hodja. The bath with two sections, one for women and the other one is for men is used today.
It is situated in the borders of the town Safranbolu and while it was built in which period is unknown, it is thought to be built in the mid 1800’s.
It is in the central town Karabuk. While its exact date of construction is unknown, it is thought that it was built in 1789. It is a building of Ottoman period.
Fountains and Bridges
There are 93 fountains officially registered as cultural assets with engravings and without engravings in the town Safranbolu.
Taskopru (Stone Bridge)
It is situated on 200 meters north of the village Konari on the east of Safranbolu. The exact date of construction of the bridge over Eflani Brook is unknown.
It is situated in the Lower Tokatli Subdistrict in Safranbolu. It is thought to be built in the 18th century.
The most important aspect that puts Safranbolu in the foreground in our country and in the world in the scope of cultural tourism is Safranbolu Houses in traditional Turkish architectural style. There are hundreds of traditional Turkish houses built in the beginnings of the 18th and 19th centuries. The houses are grouped on both sides of Safranbolu. The first one is the group known as city and used as winter houses and the second one is the group known as vineyards and used as summer houses.
Safranbolu, mostly known for its old Turkish Houses, is drawing more and more attraction day by day because of its historical dimension, natural beauties and forming an example in city protection.
Built by Izzet Mehmet Pasha from Safranbolu, the Grand Vizier of Ottoman Padishah Selim III between 1794 and 1798 still runs.
The sundial situated in the yard of Koprulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Safranbolu is one of 95 sundials of Ottoman Period.
The village at an 11- km distance to Safranbolu is under protection as an urban protected area. It has a view of “Konut (Residence) Museum” where there are the best examples of classical civil architecture of Ottoman period. Sipahioglu Mansion, a historical Turkish House, is available for touring. Moreover, the old laundry of the village has been restored and changed into an art gallery.
In addition to constructions such as mosques, small mosques, libraries, inns and baths in Safranbolu, bird houses seen in some mansions are also very attractive. The most outstanding bird house is the bird house on the facade of the Kileciler House built in 1884.
OTHER SIGNIFICANT TOURISTIC, NATURAL AND CULTURAL VALUES
Caves and Canyons
Bulak (Mencilis) Cave
This cave in the village Bulak in the central town is the 4th biggest cave of our country with its length of 6,5 km. It is a wonder of nature with stalactites, stalagmites, travertine, ponds and underground rivers inside the cave. Other important caves in the province are the cave ascended by 61 steps in the village Sipahiler and Hizar Cave in the town Safranbolu.
Canyons have a distinct place among natural beauties of Karabuk. Canyons emerged as a result of the fact that limestone layers in Safranbolu were deeply split. Ince Kaya Canyon holds the first place among these canyons making the land structure of the area more attractive. The canyon over which Ince Kaya Aqueduct is situated has quite steep and deep slopes.
The total length of the canyon beginning from the site Seker on the 3rd km of Karabuk- Yenice highway is 6,5 km. A road passes through the 2nd km and then comes a part at 4,5-km length convenient for canyoning. In this part, there are difficult passages and necks through some places without swimming. The height of the canyon begins from 100 meters and reaches at 250 meters. Rocks of the canyon have suitable structures for rock climbing. It is a canyon attracted by professionals because of its difficult passages.
And Duzce Canyon, whose length is quite a lot, charms its visitors. Tokatli, Sakaralan and Sircali canyons can be considered among other canyons that are wonders of nature.
There are places convenient for Hunting and Angling as 60 per cent of Karabuk is covered with forests. Almost every kind of game animals live and drives are frequently organized by the Association of Hunters. Angling can be realized in three ponds in the town Eflani. That the geographic structure of the province is mountainous forms many ideal natural trekking grounds. Trekking activities are often carried out in Sorgun Plateau, Great Plateau, Saricicek Plateau, Boduroglu Plateau, Avdan Plateaus and in Tokatli and Duzce Canyons going through Safranbolu.
Sorkun Plateau situated among the borders of Karabuk-Yenice- Eskipazar is at a height of 1650 meters. Nature hikes are in the foreground in this plateau spread over a vast ground.
Ulu Plateau located on the north of Safranbolu is an area where green plains lie among thick forests. The combination of wooden plateau houses with forests brings forth an area like heaven. It is possible to camp and do nature hikes in the plateau.
The plateau in Safranbolu is at a height of 1700 meters and rich in terms of forest textile. It is possible to do trekking and nature-hiking on horse back, to tour by a mountain bicycle and to pitch up a camping tent.
The plateau in the town Ovacik has unique beauties and festivals are held here every year.
Goktepe Nature Park
This Park at a 9-km distance to the centrum of Yenice has important advantages with its natural beauties, convenient climate, fresh air and easy transportation. It is suitable for sportive activities and camping with tents and for caravan tourism. “Zumrut Yenice Goktepe Festivals” are held in the second week of August in the area every year.
Gokpinar Resting Facility
It is located on the peak of the forest called Gokpinar Plateau in poplar series in the town Yenice.
Cetioren Recreation Spot
The recreation spot at a 10-km distance to the town Eskipazar has unique beauties with its rich vegetation and wild life. Music and oil wrestling festivals are held in the second week of August every year.
Egriova Recreation Spot
There is an artificial pond on a 12,000-square-meter-area and with a 5-m depth in the site Egriova at a 25-km distance to Eskipazar. It is suitable for nature hikes and camping with tents.
The neighborhood of Eflani
It has an appearance of a plateau with its vast plains and vegetation. It is very convenient for having a picnic.
There are many catering and entertainment facilities formed by the restorations of houses in Safranbolu, which is the tourism center of Karabuk. It is possible to live music in entertainment facilities situated densely in the Market Place in the evenings. Pancake (gozleme), kuyu kebab (well kebab), yayim macaroni, water pastry (su boregi) and house made baklava are local dishes that should be tasted. Safranbolu Delight which have kinds such as delight with hazelnut, with pistachio, with rose and saffron and which is freshly sold are famous as much as Safranbolu Houses.
There are many shops where handicrafts and gifts are produced and sold in Safranbolu, which is developed in terms of tourism. ‘Yemeni’ (a kind of leather shoe), copper goods in Coppery Bazaar and wooden carvings hold the first places among these. Gift shops in all of the streets in the Market Place and historic Yemeniciler Market wait for visitors with all its vividness. Costumes and clothes made of Kastamonu textile, wooden, ceramic and leather goods, maquettes of Safranbolu Houses are among gifts to buy. A box of Safranbolu Delight or saffron produced in the area is a product that should take place in the shopping list.www.karabuk.bel.tr