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EXPLORING THE PAST IN BEYPAZARI
2002 / JANUARY
In the 17th century the Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi wrote that Beypazari lay in two valleys and consisted of 3060 two-storey houses with timber covered adobe walls. He said that the town had 70 schools, seven hans and hamams and 600 shops, and a weekly market where all kinds of fine and valuable commodities were sold. In 1884 a fire destroyed thousands of houses in the town, which were rebuilt by craftsmen from Beypazari and Safranbolu in the late 19th century. Today, with its over 3000 traditional houses and two-centuries old buildings in the town centre, Beypazari is one of the most unspoilt Ottoman towns in Turkey. The old quarter is under conservation, and the exteriors of 320 of these picturesque houses have already been restored. Work on the others is continuing. Beypazari was an important market town on the Silk Road. There has been a settlement here on this major route across Anatolia linking Baghdad to Istanbul since very ancient times. Archaeological finds show that Beypazari was ruled by the Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans.
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EXPLORING THE PAST IN BEYPAZARI
2002 / JANUARY

The ancient Roman name of Beypazari was Lagania, and after the visit by the Byzantine emperor Anastasius (491-518), the town was renamed Anastasius in his honour. Following the town's conquest by Dinar Hezar, vezir to Yakup Þah, lord of Kutahya, of the Turkish Germiyanoglu principality, it became known as Beyhezar. This name has been corrupted to Beypazari, meaning Lord's Market, probably in reference to the large market established in the quarter of Beytepe.
The picturesque timber framed houses with ground storeys of stone generally have three storeys, the upper storeys being jettied over those below. They feature bay windows and pitched roofs with broad eaves. Some of the houses have belvederes known as gusgana, which rise picturesquely above the roof. As in all traditional Turkish architecture, the exterior is a reflection of the interior arrangement of living space, and considerations such as light and view.

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EXPLORING THE PAST IN BEYPAZARI
2002 / JANUARY
Originally the ground storeys were used for stabling, storing straw, and servants' quarters, but have now been converted for other uses. The upper storey forms the main living spaces, and a third storey added to larger houses enabled a separate apartment known as the selamlik to be allocated for the use of the master of the house.
The rooms and kitchen are arranged around a central gallery known as the sofa, and each of the rooms has fitted cupboards and shelves around the walls, and one of the cupboards is traditionally fitted as a bathing cubicle. The upper storeys are frequently jettied or have bay windows. These are usually features of the main reception rooms, which thus command broader views and are more spacious. The sash or casement windows are rectangular or arched, and divided into four or six panes. Some have lattices or shutters. The doors, whether double or single, have wooden lattices above and metal door knobs.
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EXPLORING THE PAST IN BEYPAZARI
2002 / JANUARY

It is customary to deliberately leave part of the upper story unfinished in some way, in the superstitious belief that this tells the angel of death that the house owner still had undone work in this world.
The overall effect of these houses is charming from the outside, and even more delightful once one is admitted inside, where the carved and jointed woodwork decoration of the interiors transforms each house into a miniature palace. These houses were designed to provide accommodation for traditional extended families.
Beypazari is still a largely agricultural district, producing diverse fruit and vegetables, particularly carrots, which are the main ingredient of a delicious local sweetmeat called havuç lokumu. The local cuisine also boasts numerous other tasty specialities such as vineleaf dolma, guveç stew and a pudding made with fresh cheese known as hosmerim.

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EXPLORING THE PAST IN BEYPAZARI
2002 / JANUARY

Local silversmiths make beautiful silver filigree jewellery, and the town is also famous for its handwoven cloth and copperware. A day trip to Beypazari, which is located 98 kilometres northwest of Ankara, is the perfect way to capture the atmosphere of Ottoman period life in Turkey.

* Sevim Koyunoglu is an expert at the Tourism Ministry




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