Safranbolu or Saframpolis to use the old Greek name, is a famous town in the Karabük Province in the Black Sea region. Situated 9 km from Karabük and 105 km from Zonguldak, the town is known for its old Ottoman Houses. The town gets its name from saffron, an expensive spice derived from the crocus flower.
There have been settlements here since 3000 BC and the Romans, Byzantine, Selcuk and Ottoman Empire have all had a presence here. The town really became established during Ottoman times when it was an important trade route connecting Kastamonu to Istanbul along the old silk route. The town found favour with Ottoman Royalty and it is this typically Ottoman architecture that makes Safranbolu so famous today.
In 1994 Safranbolu was listed by UNESCO due to its preserved Ottoman heritage. The tarditional buildings and homes in the city reflect how a typical Ottoman town would have looked during the 18th and 19th centuries. Trade has always played an important role to the city of Safranbolu and a number of Caravan Sarays ( caravanserai ) would have been present in the city and the surrounding area. Three of these are still open today.
The Süleyman Pasha Medrese, the old mosque, and the old baths, were built in 1322. The historic buildings of Safranbolu with their cobbled streets and traditional shops and restaurants give it a unique feel. Safranbolu is full of surprises with its mosques, tombs, houses and mansions.
Visit the Eski Çarşı ( Old Market ) and sample the delights of saffron foods and lokum. There are also plenty of souvenirs here. At Hidirlik Tepe you can experience excellent panoramic views of the town and the Kaymakamlar Musuem is a good places to start if you want to find out more about the traditional life style of the Ottomans. The clock tower and the Koprulu Mehmet Pasa Mosque are also worth a visit.
Further afield you have the The upside down house at Tepetaklak Konak and the Bulak Cave just 13 km from the town. The Crystal Terrace and Tokatli Kanyon are very popular tourist destinations.