Slow cities of Turkey: Taraklı

Published 06.12.2019 17:06
Updated 20.12.2019 02:11
The Ottoman houses of Tarakl? date back 300 years. iStock Photo
The Ottoman houses of Tarakl? date back 300 years. (iStock Photo)

At first glance, Taraklı, a little town in the northwestern province of Sakarya, looks deserted; but if you take a closer look, you'll see that the people of the small town live peaceful lives, minding their own business at the shops and houses that still reflect the architectural texture of the Ottoman era. Thanks to this unique atmosphere, the town was added to the Italy-based Cittaslow Network in 2011.

Situated inside the thick forests of Sakarya, the town of Taraklı shines through the green landscape. When you arrive at Taraklı, the authentic hometown atmosphere welcomes you with open arms and makes you feel like a local instead of a first-time visitor. Despite being a small city, it has a lively social scene, with families often gathering to enjoy each other's company. Like the good old days in Anatolia, families in Taraklı still use nicknames for their families instead of their actual names.

Winter here arrives in the middle of November and continues until March. Unlike the surrounding provinces, snow does not last long in the town, and spring is welcomed around April. If you visit during spring or summer, you will find yourself in one of the greenest places in Anatolia. If you stop by the town during fall or winter, you might be welcomed by gloomy weather but don't worry, the friendly, warm welcome from the locals will shoo all your gray thoughts away.

The cobblestone streets of Taraklı lead to the main square, which is surrounded by Ottoman-style houses that have been restored and are still used by the locals. The wooden houses have stood the test of time for more than 300 years, creating a picturesque atmosphere for strolling the streets and providing glimpses of a time gone by.

Yunus Pasha Mosque, which was built by the legendary Ottoman imperial architect Mimar Sinan in 1517, is one of the main attractions of the town. Standing tall in the town's center, the mosque stands out with a heating system that was brought to the small town in the 16th century. In order to bring hot water to the public bath near the mosque, Mimar Sinan designed a system resembling today's subfloor heating, with the hot water piped directly under mosque's floor. The mosque is also known for its sturdiness, not suffering a single crack after the 1999 earthquake that hit Turkey and claimed thousands of lives in the region.

The caravanserai, or historic inn, in the town still offers visitors cozy accommodation. If you want to experience the historic atmosphere of Taraklı, booking a room at the inn is a great place to start.

When in town, don't forget to stop by at the local market to check out the town craftsmen's handmade crafts. From wooden combs to wooden spoons and miniature Taraklı houses, you can find very cute souvenirs for you and your loved ones as you explore this charming town.

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