Bilecik is the capital city of the province of Bilecik. It lies along the Karasu River in the fertile lands of a valley. This land locked province is not one of Turkey’s main tourist attractions and the majority of tourists are local Turkish citizens coming to enjoy the natural beauty that this region has to offer or as part of a guided tour to the various tombs of the founders of the Turkish Empire.
There have been civilizations in this region since 2000 BC. Empires and kingdoms have come and gone. The Ottoman Empire was founded here in nearby Sogut just 30 km from Bilecik. The tombs of the founder members of the Ottoman Empire are dotted around the area and there are many reminders and exhibitions of the Ottoman way of life on display.
The city is famous for its Ottoman Turkish houses that have been painstakingly restored to their former glory or completely rebuilt in the Ottoman style. Bilecik is a member of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions. Bilecik is home to the mausoleum of Seyh Edebali one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire. A festival is held in his memory every September.
Bilecik has an ornate clock tower, some impressive buildings, and a pottery and ceramics industry. On the outskirts of the city you can see plenty of factories engaged in marble and ceramics production. The city has good road and rail links to other major cities and has a rich farming culture with cherries, quince, pomegranite, tomatoes, hops and peaches forming an important part of the agricultural contribution to the regions income. Good quality Onyx souvenirs can be found in Bilecik.
Bilecik Museum is housed in a magnificent old building which has recently been restored. This Ethnography museum is definitely worth a visit and the grounds of the museum hold displays of old marble gravestones and Roman marblework. Most of the information is in Turkish with no English translations available. The city nestles between hills and valleys with the old town on the upper slopes of a hill and the more modern quarter being situated in and around the railway station.
Seyh Edebali Tomb
The tomb of Shaykh Edebali who was the spiritual founder of the start of the empire. Information on the rulers of the Ottoman Emprie and a video in Turkish documenting the history of the start of the Ottoman Empire which was founded in 1299.
Söğüt is a small town just 30 kilometers from Bilecik. It got its name from the willow trees that surrounded the town. This is where the Ottoman Empire was founded and you can find the busts of famous figures in Turkish history. The Ethnographical Museum mentioned earlier gives you detailed information on the history of the region. The area in and around Bilecik has many historical tombs and mosques. These are some of the more well known ones: Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi mosques, Mal Hatun mausoleums, Köprülü Mehmet Pasha mosque, Köprülü Caravanserai, Rüstem Pasha mosque, Kaplikaya tombs, and Gülalan Pavilion.
Bilecek is known for its hot summer months and moderate autumn rainy weather. There is often snow in the winter. The province of Bilecik has some stunning landscapes and a couple of very beautiful nature parks.
Just 20 minutes away by car you have the Pelitozu lake. With its own campsite and facilities, restaurant and cafe, it is a great escape for the summer weekends. When the weather is hot people can relax by the cooler lakeside and enjoy the natural beauty that the lake has to offer.
Harmankaya Kanyonu Tabiat Parkı
This is an absolutely stunning park. Getting there is not so straight forward but the effort is worth it. It will take you about 1.5 hours to get there by road from Bilecik. Your sat nav may not work well in this area so make sure you have a paper map. The canyon which is where most people are heading for, it can be found between Karahasanlar village in the Yenipazar district and Harmanköy village. There some very impressive rock structures and formations as well as two impressive waterfalls. This area became a national nature park in 2012.
The road may not be the best and there are not very many facilities here. Take your own food and drink and expect to do some serious hiking. Whilst this is a beautiful place to be you should wear good footwear and be aware that the terrain can be a bit dangerous. Check the water levels at the Canyon before you venture down to the bottom and avoid the temptation to swim in the fast moving currents.
Kucukelmali Tabiat Parki
About an hour by road from Bilecik is another country park. This is a unique place in terms of natural beauty. It is located in the Pazaryeri district. Again there are not too many facilities here although they are planned.
Places to Stay
Bilecik Merkez Öğretmenevi, Bahçelievler Mahallesi Uzun Sokak No:4 Merkez Bilecik. Tel: 0228 212 50 51