The Turing Havuzlu Konak, or Mansion with Pool operated by the Touring Club of Turkey, which began serving guests in 1989, is the first historic mansion in Turkey to have been converted into a hotel. The nicest surprise of this mansion, which greets visitors at the entrance to the town and was once owned by one of its wealthiest families, is the approximately 1.8 meter-deep pool that holds several tons of water in the living room—restored and used as a café today...
The interiors of the houses are as elegant as their exteriors. The low-ceilinged middle stories used in winter are cozy and warm like a womb while the upper floors, used in summer, are airy with high ceilings. The master bedroom, the most beautiful room with the best view, is usually situated on the topmost floor. This room, decorated with woodwork and stenciling, is where the master craftsmen exhibited all their skill. In typical Safranbolu houses, each room was furnished in such a way as to meet all the needs of the nuclear family. It is not for nothing that Safranbolu residents called each one of these rooms a ‘house’ since they could be a sitting room in the daytime thanks to divans running around the wall, simultaneously a kitchen thanks to the hearth, a bedroom thanks to the floor mattresses taken out of the cupboard at night, and a bathroom thanks to the washstand concealed in the cupboard! Because they were designed as independent units, each of the rooms was assigned a name such as ‘storage house’, ‘guest house’ or ‘dining house’.
The sloping terrain at Safranbolu, which is situated in a deep canyon carved out by three rivers, produced interesting architectural solutions. The stone-built ground floors of Safranbolu houses, most of which are two- or three-storey mansions, generally follow the natural gradient of the street. The upper stories meanwhile, supported by buttresses, may project over the street. Although the houses are built on small, oddly shaped lots, thanks to this building technique the upper level rooms are nevertheless rectangular and spacious. Another aspect of the technique is that the house’s axis can be rotated slightly on the upper stories according to need or exposure to the sun!
Hatice Hanim Konagi is a XVI century traditional architecture that is located in the city of Safranbolu. In the city of eighth cultural haritage of the world.
The house builded by Goverment officer who is a member of Ottoman Army. He build a house and another for his brother. The house used for a long time by the family.
By the time the houses are used by the Ottoman Empire and used for a time for offical works. Than this houses was given to Safranbolu Offical Goverment and named by street name.
House used by old Safranbolu Offical Governer in 1980's.
then used as a Han( Auberge in Turkish). Finally the last owner change the house for its original form and used as a hotel.
The name of Hatice Hanim was created by recent owner of houses... mss Hatice.The house include 11 room and situated in large area.
And house has got some other rooms watching sun down.
The Hotel Hatice Hanim Houses build by special technic with include wood and stone. This house include classic Safranbolu houses with is garden.
Yourk Koyu's old village laundry is open to visitors. One can see how the laundray was cleaned, how people interacted while doing laundry, and the Bektashi symbolism that was prominent even here. The interior also has dawrings of prominent buildings in the town.
In the heart of Safranbolu's old town is the Koprulu Mehmet Pasa Camii, the mosque built by Koprulu Mehmet Pasa, a powerful official who rose to become grand vizier in the mid-17th century. Koprulu Mehmet was from Albania and rose through the ranks of the janissary system. He married the daughter of a local landowner from the Safranbolu area and inherited the estate, founding a long line of government officials who played major roles in Ottoman government for the next hundred years. Apparently, his family is still around, with at least one Turkish historian and politician in the 20th centruy being descended from him. Mehmet's tomb, though, is in Istanbul.
There is a visitor information centre right in the central area of the old town. As one enters the old town by car from the new part of town (which is up hill from the core of the old area), one will arrive at a cnetral area with shops and parking, a small sqaure, etc. In that area is a small building with with the information centre. There, one can obtain maps on the city itself, the houses, museums, etc., in it, as well as the ther nearby villages around Safranbolu, such as Yoruk Koyu, that also have old houses and other sites to see.
One hill in the old town, commanding scenic views over the town, is called Hidirlik.
One must pay a small few (a couple lira) to go to the top, but this includes a drink in the small cafe at the top and it offers great views of the oldl town. There are also toilets and one can see the Ahmet Lutfi Turbesi (tomb) there.
In the cafe, one can find various types of tea, including safran tea, a local speciality. It is very good, mild with a flavour somewhat like the much more common ihlamur (linden) tea found in Turkey, but slightly more minty. It is very good.
Like Safranbolu itself, several of the old houses in Yoruk Koyu are open to visitors as museums. We went to one of the mansions in Yoruk Koru, Sipahioglu Konagi (the "Mansion of the Sipahi" - a sipahi being like a knight). The owner, who said he is among the 8th generation of the family to live there, provided a tour for 2 lira (about $1.50) per adult. He gave a very detailed explanation of the history of the house, the artwork, uses of each room, and all the family heirlooms in the house, including old furniture, phonograph, flag, etc. He explained the uses of different rooms in different seasons, the heating system, toilets, and baths, and the Bektashi history and symbolism in the frescoes. He also explained that although the family has a more modern house, they still use the old house in winter.
It is a wonderful and very interesting place to visit. He also sells local jams, preserved fruit, etc.
However, the owner does not, apparently, speak English.
During the years when Safranbolu was becoming a popular destination for tourists, there was a constant stream of visitors to the traditional houses. The house owners, who at first welcomed the tourists hospitably, naturally tired of this human traffic with time. But just at that point the museum houses came to the rescue. The first of them, and perhaps the most beautiful, is the Kaymakamlar Evi ( house of Governors), a house that was opened to visitors in 1981 following a restoration by the Ministry of Culture. This mansion is one of the most flawless examples of the Safranbolu house.
Near the city of Safranbolu, and in the Safranbolu district, is the quiet village of Yoruk Koyu. This was apparently a whole village of Bektashis, and Bektashi elements abound. This is essentially like a smaller, sleepier, less touristy, and less well-preserved version of Safranbolu itself. It is full of the same type of old half-timber Ottoman houses that characterise Safranbolu, and even here many houses are quite large, impressive places, indicating that this sleepy little place was pretty prosperous. More houses here are dilapidated, some quite badly so, but many also are nicely restored or otherwise in very good shape.
Of particular importance is the Sipahioglu Konagi, still owned and used by the family of the original owners. It is opened to visitors for 2 lira per person and the owner, an 8th-generation descendant of the original owner, provides detailed tours and explanations of the house, its intricate wood work, paintings, and furniture, much of it original. He explains the history of it all, the meanings and origins of the paintings, such as the Bektashi symbolism, uses of the cabinets, rooms, etc. Apparently, the family still uses the house in the summer.
Another special point of interest is the village laundry, sitll largely intact and with additional Bektashi symbolism in its details.
Clearly the primary reason for visiting Safranbolu, from a sightseeing perspective, is exploring the extensive and very well-preserved old town. It is this that led the entire old town being declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
This part of Safranbolu, rather than being changed over the years with old buildings torn down to be replaced, was largely left intact as modern development merely extended from its edges, particularly on one side. The old town mostly straddles a gorge, filling in the base along a creek and extending up the sides, giving it a very picturesque setting enhanced by the beautiful, often very large old Ottoman houses, typically plastered half-timber buildings. One sees this style of construction in the older buildings of many Turkish towns and cities, particularly in the north, with other fine examples especially in Bursa and some scattered ehre and there. Here, however, the collection is incredibly rich, with the old houses being large, numerous, and often very finely made, reflecting the town's former wealth from the saffron trade. Moreover, the collection is uniquely intact and still forms a relatively large portion of the town which, unlike Bursa and other places, has not grown much sinc its heyday.
The streets are largely rough, irregular cobblestone still, as well, and cafes, sweet shops, bakeries, and gift shops abound. It's touristy, but not overly so, probably thanks in large part to the fact that even now most tourists who come here are other Turks, rather than foreigners.
The beautiful area is full of charm and atmosphere and this part of Safranbolu helps make this one of my favourite towns anywhere in the world.
At the center of the town, near the Cinci Han Hotel (Caravanserai). This is the biggest mosque in Safranbolu, opened in 1661.
You will hear the adhan (call for prayer) from this mosque five times a day wherever you are in Carsi.
The main attraction in Carsi, Safrnbolu are the old houses. They are in the same construction, big mansions with many rooms. Smaller foundation and a bigger upper floor.
The best way to experience the place is to stay at one of these old houses. A bit creepy if alone (I was), but confrtable. Just take a walk around Carsi, the whole town is walkable.
Go up the hill on an ascending street just at the back of the Tourist information office, on the same street of the Police headquarter in Carsi. Walk your way up til you reach the end and make a left turn up again and you'll find the arch entrance of the old government house which is now a museum.
The view of the whole town is splendid on top of this hill.