In this closing article about Safranbolu, we will wander around town and see a few locals, take a ride up north and visit Bartin and Amasra. And the final experience will be a visit to another mansion run by the Touring Club of Turkey. That seems to be the last day of our trip.
Some Safranbolu Locals
During our walks around Safranbolu, we saw many locals. Some were store owners, and some were just passers-by. I cannot tell the exact location of these encounters, but we met them in Safranbolu rather than on another excursion. One place was a spice shop I think, where Ergun and Jan stood by the owner in front of his store. You will see a couple of candy stores, a barbershop, and a quilt maker or yorgancı. These will supplement the town views in the previous part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Bartin Women’s Market
Bartin is to the north of Safranbolu and fairly close to the Black Sea. We drove about 60 miles each way on that trip to visit the town when they had their weekly market. The place was buzzing! Women merchants dominated the market. Their husbands remained in the background if they were there at all. This market was called Women’s Market, or Kadınlar Pazarı. It was hard to mistake it for anything else! Another local name is Galla Bazaar, and they claim it has a 250-year old history on the Turkish Web page.
The women mostly wore local attire, typical baggy pants or şalvar, tops, and headscarves. They sold from fresh produce to pitchforks. Literally! It was quite refreshing to see the prominent feminine presence and control in the market and surroundings. Everyone was perfectly comfortable, with no rude or improper behavior. There is a page on the Web about this market but it is in Turkish like the previous one above.
After seeing the market and taking many photographs, we continued our drive for another 5-6 miles to the seashore town of Amasra. The view from the top of the hill was quite striking, a town nestled into a Black Sea cove with a long breakwater to keep the waves from rushing on the shore.
Amasra was as charming as the other places we have seen during this trip. They had different crafts, stores, parks, plus restaurants on the Black Sea. We settled in one overlooking the cove for lunch and enjoyed the scenery as much as the food. After lunch, we took a short walk around the cove before returning to Safranbolu.
Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion
I think on our last day, probably on our way back to Istanbul, we stopped for lunch at Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion. The large pool, or havuz in Turkish, in the middle of their dining hall, entered the name meaning “with a pool.” The facility was operated by the Turkish Touring Club along with others nearby.
The large pool was built to provide evaporative cooling in addition to providing water reserve in case of a fire. The lunch was enjoyable I am sure, but I do not recall more details of the time we spent there. I do remember being so close to the pool, as it was a dominant presence in the hall.
Back to Istanbul
And, thus we ended a very enjoyable visit to the parts of Turkey we had not seen before, or since, thanks to Binnaz and Ergun. By writing this series, I fondly recalled the faint fragments of my memory and enjoyed the time travel once more. If you happen to be in Turkey one day and have some time, a trip to Safranbolu and the vicinity will most likely not disappoint.
As I researched the locations, and some mansion names, I found it very hard, almost impossible to find Web sites run by these mansions except for Gulevi, or Macunağası İzzet Efendi Konağı. I wanted to share these memories with them via e-mail or a comment on their sites. Alas!
One thing I stumbled on was not pleasant. I learned that the Gökçüoğlu Mansion might be on the market, or even sold by now. The reason was the health problems of the owner İsmail Urgancıoğlu. I hope that his health has improved and he is doing well.
All the best to Safranbolu and the people we met there. Thank you for your hospitality.