WITH ITS MOUNTAINOUS FORESTS, VIRGIN COASTS AND RICH LIVING CULTURE, KASTAMONU OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE WORLD TO DISCOVER.
Every city has its color in my mind. Mardin, for example, is yellow. Erzurum is white. But it would be difficult to describe Kastamonu with a single color, for this is a city of predominantly two colors, blue and green, with scores of shades in between. Although it did not lie on the main trade axis, Kastamonu has always been a center of attraction thanks to its rich and varied geography. Most importantly of all, it is home to a living culture that exhibits all the refined values of Anatolian Turkey.
KASTAMONU ALL YEAR ROUND
Every season has its special beauty in Kastamonu, which is always fresh as a daisy, as they say. Carpeted with flowers in spring, its sea and beaches are inviting in summer. Autumn is a symphony of colors, and winter here means endless white in the Ilgaz Mountains. A region boasting canyons, highlands, natural beaches and ski resorts, it has something to appeal to every taste.
A PRESTIGIOUS CULTURAL HERITAGE
Kastamonu is chock full of impressive monuments of the cultural heritage of these lands. Nasrullah Mosque, named for Nasrullah Efendi, an early 16th century “kadı” or Islamic judge, is an example of elegant architecture in the heart of the city. Most of the calligraphy in this mosque with its awe-inspiring interior decorations was done by the Kastamonu calligrapher, Ahmet Şevki Efendi. And the pulpit (minber) is one of the most splendid examples of the region’s unique art of wood carving. One of the city’s paramount treasures is the Şaban-ı Veli Mosque and Complex. The famous mystic and religious scholar, Sheikh Şaban-ı Veli, for whom the complex is named, is a world-renowned figure who taught both in Kastamonu and at the Fatih Madrasa in Istanbul during the Ottoman period. Kastamonu Castle and Clock Tower, İsmail Bey Mosque and the Tomb of Bayraksız Sultan are among the city’s other leading cultural monuments.
THE NAILLESS MOSQUE
The Çivisiz or Nailless Mosque in the village of Kasaba between Kastamonu and Daday is a perfect masterpiece. Built in 1366 by Emir Mahmut Bey, it appears quite simple from a distance. But as a rare example of the technique of dovetailing the wooden elements without the use of nails, this mosque is as unusual in its construction technique as it is in its decor. And the marble columns at either side of the mihrab that show whether or not the building has leaned in an earthquake can still rotate 360 degrees.
THE BLACK SEA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE: EVRENYE
İnebolu is Kastamonu’s window to the sea. Awarded a medal for its contributions to Turkey’s War of Independence (1918-1923), İnebolu dazzles with its history, culture and natural riches. If you go there, the village of Evrenye is the first place you should see. Named for the founder, Evren, of the local artisans’ guild, the village’s fame dates all the way back to the 17th century Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi, who describes its beauty, hardworking people, century-old plane trees, sea coast and pleasant climate at length in his inimitable style in his famous book of travels. Evrenye is an attractive alternative for a summer holiday, but if you go there in fall or winter you can enjoy a veritable feast of fresh seafood.
FROM DADAY TO AZDAVAY
The fall and winter months are just the time to explore Kastamonu’s unparalleled natural beauty. For an itinerary through the autumn colors, head from
LAND OF EXTRAORDINARY TASTES
Another thing that makes Kastamonu the hidden treasure of Anatolia is, without a doubt, its rich and varied cuisine. Experts have identified upwards of eight hundred flavors in Kastamonu cuisine not found anywhere else in Anatolia! With its therapeutic, thin-skinned ‘Uryani’ plums, specially cooked “etli ekmek” (bread with meat), “büryan” kebab, savory soups, and wild herb and mushroom dishes, Kastamonu boasts a culinary richness that will make addicts of taste hunters!
WINTER TOURISM AT ILGAZ
With comfortable accommodations to fit every budget, two large ski runs, and convenient proximity to Istanbul, Ilgaz has become Turkey’s rising star of winter tourism.
The market in the center of Azdavay is ideal for shopping. You can buy linden tea, hazelnuts, garlic, cranberry and currant jelly and fresh fruit in season here. What’s more, spoons made of the local boxwood, handmade plastic dolls and local costumes and textiles are sold in the downtown shops.
This natural site near the town of Pınarbaşı is known as the world’s fourth largest canyon. The canyon gradually deepens, so we recommend that you tour it with a guide and equipment.