A small town to the southwest of Sakarya, Taraklı, with its graceful wooden houses and narrow streets, has masterfully protected its Ottoman atmosphere and slow yet vibrant lifestyle. Taraklı was included in the Cittaslow network in 2011, and is an old Ottoman settlement whose characteristic urban texture remains intact. The 17th-century travel writer Evliya Çelebi describes it as an Ottoman village both fertile and famous for its vineyards, wooden spoons, and combs.
History, Culture, and Nature - All in One
Home to many Anatolian civilizations, Taraklı’s history dates back to 2000-1000 BCE and to the Hittites who founded the first city-states in Anatolia and dominated the region. Today, the ruins of cisterns in Hisartepe are evidence of ancient life here and are under protection as an archaeological site.
The village is the perfect destination for nature lovers as it is surrounded in splendid and easily accessible nature. Hark Canyon and Cave, Güngörmez Waterfall, Kemer Bridge, Acısu and Gürleyik Rivers, and the plateaus of Belengermesi and Hamzapinar are all worth a visit. Surrounded by pine, beech, fir, and oak trees, the nearby Karagöl Highland is the perfect destination for nature walks, caravanning, and camping. The highland offers breathtaking views, and rich fauna and flora.
Today, the village of Taraklı exhibits all the characteristics of an old Ottoman village, with its unspoiled nature, beautiful civil architecture, and more than 100 registered cultural assets. The atmosphere and structures of the village were well protected thanks to the fact that it was not located on essential transportation routes. In addition to the Ottoman houses and mansions, there are other must-see sites in this small village. Taraklı’s largest building is the Yunus Paşa Mosque built in the early 16th century by prominent architect Mimar Sinan and still open to worship today. The mosque is also called “Kurşunlu Mosque” (lit. Lead Mosque) by locals because of the amount of lead used in the construction. The structure was equipped with a heating system that came from the hammam next door. A little beyond, you can admire Hüseyin Ağa Fountain, built in the 18th century and still running like new, and the nearby 700-year-old plane tree.
Three Centuries of Elegance: Taraklı Houses
Situated in a small valley in between two hills, the traditional houses are attached to each other and have been generally built on terraces to preserve the residents’ privacy. These 300-year-old beauties perfectly reflect the characteristics of Ottoman architecture and Ottoman urban culture. The village has marvellous accommodation options since some of these traditional, elegant houses have been renovated as guesthouses. In 2013, the village received the European Destinations of Excellence Award. In Taraklı, old is the new cool.
The Flavors of Ancient Turkish Traditions
The culinary specialties of the village are also centuries-old ceremonial delights. Frequently consumed during events, festivals, and weddings, keşkek is a must-taste dish made of chicken and wheat while uğut is a delicious dessert of germinated wheat.
Don’t Forget to Buy Handmade “Taraks” from “Taraklı”!
Taraklı’s colourful local bazaar is the centre of attraction of visitors. Visit the bazaar to admire the handicrafts made by local women, discover the famous Taraklı cloth, and witness yalaza – the culture of telling exaggerated stories to cheer people up at local gatherings. Don’t forget to buy some local products including grape molasses, and wooden spoons and combs – combs are called “tarak” in Turkish and have given the town of “Taraklı” its name!