Every part of Turkey offers a vast array of natural, historical and cultural riches that would take more than a lifetime to explore. To offer a brief guide book to Turkey and its enchanting towns known for their serenity and natural beauty, every week Daily Sabah will feature slow cities of Turkey recognized by Cittaslow International, an organization based in Italy that has created a network of cities where living is good and easy. And, for this week, our first destination is Artvin’s Şavşat.
Briefly, “slow cities” are places offering a quiet pace of life allowing citizens and tourists to enjoy the colors, music, history and opportunities of the town. It is about sharing the local crafts, tastes and arts with children and guests to prevent them from being just memories of past generations. It is about people caring for their health. The idea is to continuously control air, noise, light and electromagnetic contamination to keep them in health-friendly levels. And when all these things are considered, it is not surprising that the northeastern province of Artvin’s Şavşat district made the list in 2015.
Located in the Black Sea region of Turkey, known for its endless green landscape and clean air that you cannot easily find anywhere in the world, Şavşat is like a paradise town with its green plateaus and villages founded on the foothills of surrounding mountains. With its pristine nature and local lifestyle, Şavşat is a place where you can appreciate life and all the things it offers.
Home to 17,000 residents, Şavşat is famous for its locals’ hospitality. Once you arrive in the town, the second thing you notice after the incredible nature are its residents who open their houses if you do not have a place to stay or inviting you to share their meal if you have not yet eaten anything.
The must-see place in Şaşat is Karagöl – meaning "Black Lake" in Turkish, which is a nature park under the protection of the state. If you want to stay at a place where you can actually forget the meaning of modern life, you can put up a tent or hire a caravan to stay at the park.
Şavşat Castel is also a popular destination in the town for history buffs. Although when it was built is unknown due to its architectural resemblance to other buildings around the region, the castle is believed to have been built by Georgian Bagratids around the ninth century.