Heritage of Turkey’s Safranbolu district kept alive at museum

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Ahmet Ozler

KARABUK, Turkey (AA) – Thousands of years of history and cultural heritage of Safranbolu district in northwestern Turkey’s Karabuk province are on display at the Safranbolu City History Museum.

The district was an important stop on the main East-West trade route in the region. Its iconic sites of the Old Mosque, Old Bath and Medresse of Suleyman Pasha were built in the early 13th century, according to UNESCO.

The City History Museum’s grand building, built between 1904-1906 with Ottoman architecture under the leadership of local administrators with the financial support of people in the region, was used as a military, civil and judicial administration center.

Restored in 2006, the building was transformed into a museum.

In the three-story museum, also known as the "Old Government Office," there are publications on culture, satellite images, clothes and items unique to Safranbolu.

In the Tradesmen and Craftsmen Bazaar, which was established inside the museum, the production of "Yemenis" — traditional flat-heeled shoes used by the Ottoman army and in the War of Independence — is also on display.

The museum also shows through an original animation technique the work environments of iron masters who produced armor, shields and swords for the Ottoman army.

Pharmacy, Turkish delight and confectionery sections in the museum are also a draw for tourists.

The museum, surrounded by many historical structures such as a clock tower, ammunition building and old prison, was visited by around 20,000 local and foreign tourists last year.

– Important place for cultural tourism

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, researcher and author Aytekin Aytekin, who has written many books on the district, said the museum building was used for many purposes and remained inactive for a while after it was severely damaged by a fire in 1976.

He said the building was later restored and has been used as a museum to showcase the district's abstract and concrete heritage since 2007.

"The museum is a three-story building. There is a model of a market depicting the traditional production process in Safranbolu on the ground floor. There are documents on the history of Safranbolu and various objects on the ground floor and upper floor," he said.

Aytekin expressed his gratitude to those who donated the works in the museum.

"There are published books about Safranbolu in the museum. There are ethnographic materials and a section on domestic life, materials used in traditional Safranbolu houses."

He pointed out that the district has a history of thousands of years.

"Safranbolu is doing good things in the context of protecting its own culture, keeping it alive, and transferring it to future generations. Safranbolu is a very important place for cultural tourism."

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