Little Known Spots In Bolu

Like an island of green between Istanbul and Ankara, Bolu with its natural beauty and sites of historical interest is a favorite autumn destination. Here are five specially recommended spots.

MUDURNU MARKET
Those enamored of old things will find hidden treasure in the streets of the Old Market, which are laid out on a grid plan: kerosene lamps, ewers, finials, samovars, braziers, bath basins and many more. Prayers for abundance are a centuries-old tradition in the market on Fridays. Lining up in two facing rows with their palms turned upward to the sky, the market merchants pray following the Imam’s sermon. The prayer ends with the public distribution of bread, halvah and cold yoghurt drink.

AKKAYA TRAVERTINES
The travertine marbles at Akkaya Pass on the Bolu-Mudurnu highway will leave you awestruck. Colorful in appearance in contrast with their pure white counterparts at Pamukkale, these travertines are the result of an accumulation of calcium and silicium-rich chemical sediments in the 20-degree spring waters that bubble up from under the ground. And the wooded area behind the travertines is ideal for picnics.

GÖYNÜK CLOCK TOWER
Rising in stark white on a hill overlooking a valley dotted with historic mansions at the old Ottoman town of Göynük, the Clock Tower is the town icon. Also known as the Victory Tower, this three-story building was built to commemorate the Battle of Sakarya in 1922. A hexagonal structure with a pointed dome built over an octagonal base, the tower is ringed by balconies on all three stories.

SEBEN ROCK HOUSES
More than 500 rock-cut dwellings are waiting to be explored in and around the Bolu town of Seben, an ancient Phrygian settlement. You will feel you are on another planet when you reach the villages of Muslar and Solaklar, which are particularly rich in rock houses. Covered with fairy chimneys, caves and cone-shaped rock formations, this geography is reminiscent of a miniature Cappadocia.

KIZIK HIGHLAND
The highlands of Bolu, which number over three hundred, are ideal for nature hikes, camping, trekking, picnics and photo safaris as well as botanical and discovery walks. One of the area’s typical highlands, Kızık Highland at Seben, lies between the Karakise and Balluboğazı Rivers. At 1400 meters in altitude, it is famous for its log cabins built without using a single nail as well as being home to the Kızık Turks, who came here from Central Asia.

TRANSPORTATION / GETTING THERE

Fly one of Turkish Airlines’ regular scheduled flights to Istanbul or Ankara and travel overland to Bolu in about two and a half hours.