Beypazarı is a little escape from Ankara waiting to embrace you with its tranquility and traditional dishes when you need a quaint place to find some relaxation
Having lived in Turkey's capital city of Ankara for five years, for me, the hidden secret to getting away from gloomy days in the capital was Beypazarı, meaning "Mister's Market." My first visit to Beypazarı was with a dear friend; I assume that's why I so easily fell in love with the town.
It was evening, and we hopped on a bus headed for Beypazarı from Ankara. It took approximately 1.5 hours to reach, but it was well worth every minute. When we arrived, there was a peaceful and historic Ottoman ambiance about it that made us feel as though we were walking through history.
Beypazarı is divided into two sides: One of them offers a quiet place to stay with its peaceful, touristic, historic surroundings; the other side, which is known as new Beypazarı, unfortunately doesn't have much to offer in comparison.
As soon as we hopped off the bus and headed toward the old and touristic side, elderly ladies wearing traditional clothes that resembled colorful burqas and authentic houses decorated in Ottoman style came into view.
Enchanted by the spirit of the town, we started walking down to the little bazaar set up in the center. A huge "carrot" sculpture perked our interest, as it will for you when you visit. I wondered why this gigantic sculpture was situated in the middle of the town. If you are patient and stroll a little further into the bazaar, you will soon understand why.
Named the town of carrots and nurturing a deep respect for the orange vegetable, nearly 70 percent of Turkey's carrots are grown in Beypazarı. That's why it is famous for its carrot festival in June and its delicious carrot juice that you can buy freshly squeezed for TL 1. I should give you a little tip: If a seller understands that you are a tourist, he or she may give you a free carrot juice just to make you addicted to its full flavor.
Walking down the streets of Beypazarı leading to the town's bazaar with my orange-colored mouth and carrot juice in hand, friendly sellers and the delicious smells of Beypazarı dishes put a smile on my face and made me feel at home, like a bunny in a town of carrots. Renowned for its silver accessories and silverware, Beypazarı's bazaar is full of handcrafted accessories that will sweep ladies off their feet.
Both sides of the bazaar are covered with little markets selling souvenirs and restaurants offering delicious traditional dishes. It is hard to resist the enticing smells, but be patient and wait until you reach the end of the bazaar where the Tarihi Taş Konak restaurant called the Historic Stone Mansion is located.
It is probably the best place for tasting traditional Beypazarı dishes. A home-made sausage mumbar, a stew cooked in a stone-oven (güveç), a dried molasses-like grape syrup stuffed with walnut sucuk, an 80-layer special baklava, carrot jam and carrot delights are among the mouth-pleasing traditional dishes that you can try.
Tarihi Taş Konak also serves each of these items in small portions as tasters. Another small tip:
Just like other Turkish dishes, these foods are rich and spicy. Yet, there is a solution for this in Beypazarı:
You can drink the local high-quality natural mineral water to help digest your meal. After tasting the dishes of Beypazarı, we continued to enjoy our journey with a tea-urn at Hıdırlık Tepesi, a hill in Beypazarı that overlooks the town's surrounding landscapes. The hill is a bit far but when we arrived, a reward was awaiting us. The hill has an amazing view overlooking the town and the little surrounding hills. If you go up to the hill you can enjoy Turkish tea and admire the sunset while marveling over how Mother Nature shaped these Central Anatolian lands.
But remember that no visit to Beypazarı is complete without trying Beypazarı Kurusu, pastries that include a dry buttery biscuit. When darkness fell on the town, it was time to discover the winding streets of the town that had fallen into silence. There are no unnecessary lampposts, no sound pollution; only the streets and you.
Imagine how beautiful it is discovering secret beauties hiding in street corners and the history of the town with no hustle and bustle. After my peaceful journey, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody says Beypazarı is pure tranquility and the beauty of silence. If what you expect from a journey is smiling faces, friendly locals and a peaceful atmosphere, you will not regret visiting the town of carrots.