In addition to the natural beauties, provided by its nature parks, rivers, deep canyons, vast forests, caves, fragrant flowers and wildlife, Karabük is also one of the most intriguing places of the Black Sea Region because of its preserved historic Safranbolu houses going back to the 17th century, as well as its markets and cuisine.
The Yenice district, with the most stunning forests of our country, and Eskipazar, with its ancient ruins of Hadrianapolis, Ovacık and Eflani and the natural diversity, helped Karabük to gain popularity across the country and the world. The Bulak Cave in the Bulak Village in the centre of the province, and the Hızar Cave in Safranbolu are listed among the world's most famous caves. The Plateaus of Sorgun, Avdan, Boduroğlu, Keltepe, Uluyayla, Sarıçiçek provide an opportunity for extreme sports, horseback trips, camping, climbing and other tourism activities.
Safranbolu, which is suited 8km north of the centre of Karabük Province, is under conservation since 1975, and entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. The city's name is derived from the rare saffron (Safran) plant growing in the region. Having the most outstanding examples of Ottoman architecture, Safranbolu is regarded one of mankind's commonly shared treasures. The castle, the hamams, the bazaars, inns, mosques, the old government house, and its unique and civil architectural buildings are the major places of interest for the visitors of Safranbolu.
Safranbolu Hıdırlık Hill
The Hıdırlık Hill (Hıdırlık Tepesi) is an important place where the first Turks settled, held their rain prayer, and celebrated Hıdırellez. For those who visit Safranbolu for the first time, it is recommended to have a full view of the whole city from the Hıdırlık Hill.
The Safranbolu Houses
Safranbolu enjoyed a great architectural development during the 17th century, which also continued in the 18th century. Encircling Safranbolu's historic buildings, the Safranbolu houses (Safranbolu evleri) in the centre of the district consist of about 2,000 traditional Turkish houses, which were built in the 18th, 19th, and the beginning of the 20th century. About 800 of these houses are under legal preservation. The houses are grouped in two separate sections of Safranbolu. The first section is the so-called “Şehir” section, which is used during winter, and the second one is known as the “Bağlar”, which is used during summer. The Safranbolu houses are the most beautiful examples of Ottoman civil architecture preserved until our era. The mansions, which are also under preservation, provide restaurant and accommodation services.
Safranbolu City History Museum
Built during 1904-1906, the building suffered damage during a fire in 1976. After being restored, it serves as the City History Museum since 2006. The City History Museum (Kent Tarihi Müzesi) is a cultural unit established with the aim to collect and preserve all kind of information, documents, objects, visual material, audio and video recordings in order to promote and present the cultural, historical and social richness of the city, and to facilitate temporary and permanent exhibitions based on these data.
Safranbolu Arasta Bazaar
Suited in the Arasta Street in Safranbolu, the Yemeniciler Bazaar (the shoemaker’s market) in Safranbolu is one of the oldest and most interesting places to visit. The bazaar consists of 48 adjacent wooden stores, offering indigenous handcrafted items, souvenirs and the possibility to relax in various coffee shops.
The Safranbolu Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) was built in the 18th century, whereby the clock inside the tower was imported from England by the Grand Vizier at the time.
Safranbolu Cinci Inn and Cinci Hamam
Dated back to 1645, the Cinci Inn and the Cinci Hamam (Cinci Batch) (Cinci Hanı ve Cinci Hamamı) are among the most important historical structures of the city. The bathhouse aims at offering Turkish hamam culture to tourism in its best form. The Cinci Hamamı consists of separate sections for men and women, where both sections are architecturally identical.
Turkish Coffee Museum
This is the museum that tells the story of Turkish coffee utensils. They were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013, and carried their “40-years-worth” of memories over centuries until our times. In the Safranbolu Turkish Coffee Museum (Türk Kahvesi Müzesi) you will find the cup from which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk sipped his coffee, centuries old coffee-mills, the mortars and coffee pots as well as covered and preserved coffee, and many special items which will shed light on the Turkish coffee culture.
The Demirciler Bazaar (Demirciler Çarşısı), which is located in the Safranbolu Old Bazaar, has maintained its old Ottoman appearance. The bazaar is ideal for taking photos, and the hand-fashioned copper cookware is especially remarkable.
Köprülü Mehmet Paşa Mosque
The mosque was built by one of the most important statesmen of the Ottoman Empire, Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmet Paşa, in 1661/1662.
The Sundial (Güneş Saati) is in the courtyard of the Köprülü Mehmet Paşa Mosque (Köprülü Mehmet Paşa Cami). It is surrounded by iron bars and placed on a stone pedestal. It shows the time during the day in Arabic digits, and is calibrated in 10-minute intervals. The sun casts the shadow of the triangular-shaped brass gnomon, which is fixed on marble and allows reading the correct time.
Izzet Mehmet Paşa Mosque
Built in 1796, the mosque is regarded as a smaller version of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque in İstanbul, and is comprised of a library, an ablution area, two fountains, waqf stores and a small social complex.
Safranbolu Nomad Village
This “Museum Village” is 11km away from Safranbolu and can be reached by highway. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism placed the village under conservation protection in 1997, as it is a real Turkoman Village (Yörük Köyü) and also because of its stunning historical buildings. It is a small model of Safranbolu, and has 93 registered monuments. Its history is dated back to the 16th century.
Bulak Mencilis Cave
It is located within the borders of the Bulak village, about 8 km from the centre of Safranbolu. With a length of 6050 m, it is Türkiye's fourth-longest cave. Only the first 400 meters are open to visitors. The stalagmites, stalactites, travertines, small lakes and underground water wells make it a natural wonder. The Bulak Cave (Bulak Mağarası), which is thought to have developed over a period of two million years, and forms a large ecosystem with its living an inanimate thing, consists of 3 levels. Its entrance section, where the wall remains indicate that it was inhabited by men in historical periods is suitable for sightseeing by everyone. The deeper areas require special equipment.
The first people living in Eskipazar are considered Proto-Hittites. The Proto-Hittites, who are one of the nations of Asia Minor, came to Anatolia from 2000 BCE on and started the first political life in Anatolia by establishing city kingdoms at the foot of the Hisarlar. Eskipazar in ancient times was called Hadrianopolis. The ruins of the ancient city Hadrianopolis have remained near the current Eskipazar, where remnants of cellars, palace stairs, baths, shelters and water channels still exist. It was dominated by the Romans in 63 BCE Hadrianopolis was one of the most important centres of Paphlagonia during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Grand Mosque (Church of Hagios Stefanos)
Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami) (Church of Hagios Stefanos) is located in the Safranbolu district of Karabük province, in the Kıranköy Neighbourhood, on Ulu Mosque Street. It can be reached by urban transport services. Three inscriptions have reached our era, which give information about Hagios Stephanos’ original name and construction history. Today there are three inscriptions above the door at the building's west entrance. Two of the inscriptions are the same, and state the date 515 CE.
Eskipazar Rock-Cut Tombs
They are located in and around the ruins of Hadrianopolis (Viranşehir) at the West of the city centre of Eskipazar. The inscriptions state that it is from the Byzantine era.
Ovacık Rock-Cut Tombs
The rock-cut tombs (Kaya mezarları) of Gerdek Boğazı are located in the Karakoyunlu neighbourhood of Pürçükören village within the valley of Soğanlı Creek. It is estimated that the tombs reach back to the 7th century or earlier. The general view of the tomb imitates architecture of wood, using cascaded rectangles in triangular pediments. The column headings are decorated with palm leaves reminiscent of eastern architecture.
Karain Rock-Cut Tomb, in the southwest of The Karakoyunlu Neighbourhood of Pürçükören Village, is made up of four chambers cut into the rocks. Kayadibi Cave, in the eastern part of Karakoyunlu neighbourhood was cut into the rocks. Lion heads were found in the tomb chamber with a horseshoe-shaped entrance.
Rock-Cut Tombs in the Archaeological Sites of Hacılarobası
Many rock-cut tombs from the Byzantine era are located around the Gündoğan, Üçbölük, Hacılarobası and Çavuşlar villages along the Safranbolu-Kastamonu highway. Four of the most important tombs can be found in the Hacılarobası village, and five of them are in the Üçbölük village. This area with the Hacılarobası rock-cut tombs is a 1st degree archaeological conservation site. The tumuli, rock-cut tombs, and reliefs are the remaining evidence of Safranbolu's ancient history. The İnkaya rock-cut tombs are situated in the Hacılarobası village; and the Horozoni rock-cut tombs and stones can be found between the Akveren and Yörük villages.