Safranbolu, Turkey

General Information

Regional secretariat

City of Safranbolu

Registration Year


Historical function

Caravans and trade.

Location and site

Safranbolu is a town of the province of Karabük in the western Black Sea Region of Turkey. It is just 8 km. far from city centrum of Karabük. Located 65 km far from the Black Sea.

Urban morphology

The urban layout of Safranbolu evokes pre-industrial Turkey. The narrow, sinuous paved streets, which adapt to its topography, are arranged to ensure better perspective views. More generally, the plan of the city as a whole illustrates the growth that accompanied its economic expansion.

Three distinct quarters reflect various aspects of the Turkish tradition: the market quarter with its houses and artisans’ shops, the old non-Muslim quarter with its buildings that combine working and living spaces, and the summer quarter with its vineyards. The oldest houses are combinations of wood structures with clay, brick and stone; their ground floor streetscapes are without window openings, but the upper levels have generous projecting windows offering perspective views. Several mosques occupy the landscape.

Registration criteria

“By virtue of its key role in the caravan trade,” Safranbolu “set a standards in public and domestic architecture” and influenced “the urban development over a large part of the Ottoman Empire.” (II) “Its original form and buildings,” representative of the caravan trade between Europe and the Orient, have been preserved, “to a remarkable extent.” (IV). The proximity of the steelworks and its new socio-economic role have increased its vulnerability and threatened its “traditional townscape.” (V)

Historical reference

  • During the 1st century B.C., Mithridates the Great reigned over Paphlagonia. Shortly afterwards, in 63 B.C., the region was annexed by the Romans. A temple was erected near the site of the present-day urban area of Safranbolu.
  • Following the Turkish Conquest of the 11th century, Safranbolu became an important trading centre. After a short period under Byzantine rule, it was conquered for a second time by the Turks. This led to expansion. Thanks to the increased role of the port of Sinop, located on the Black Sea, Safranbolu became the most important caravan stopover point on the route linking Europe and the Orient to the Black Sea. The mosque, the baths and the Gazi Süleyman madrassa were constructed.
  • The Ottoman Empire was at the dawn of its period of splendour, which lasted from 1451 until 1566, when the city of Safranbolu became part of it in 1461.
  • The development of the city reached its peak in the 17th century. The central market, which was patronised by travelers, was enlarged and became increasingly specialised. The Cinci Inn, the Köprülü Mosque and the Izzet Pacha Mosque were constructed.
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  • The advent of the railway and new commercial structures put an end to the long period of prosperity enjoyed by Safranbolu.




Ms. Elif Köse

Safranbolu Municipality

Yenimahalle Mahallesi, Sadri Artunç Caddesi No:3
Safranbolu, Turkey

+90 370 712 41 14
[email protected]

Mr. Harun Arslan

Directorate of Foreign Affairs
Safranbolu Municipality

Yenimahalle Mahallesi, Sadri Artunç Cd. No:3
Safranbolu, Turkey

+90 544 651 96 87
[email protected]

Mr. Yilmaz Olcay

Director of Foreign Affairs
Safranbolu Municipality

[email protected]