Slow Cities in Turkey (Part 1)

What is the  Cittaslow(Slow City)  movement?

The Cittaslow Movement was born in 1999 in Chianti / Italy. Literally “citta” means “city” in Italian and the term “Cittaslow” indicates a slow city . One of the main aim of this movement is protecting the local culture and heritage and Cittaslow based on a philosophy about slow life. 

Cittaslow movement aims that the cities should be self-sufficient, preserving its own handicrafts, nature, traditions, and customs, but also has no infrastructure problems, using renewable energy sources and benefiting from the convenience of technology. Cities should work constantly to protect the city’s texture and the population of the cities should be  less than 50,000. It grew rapidly by incorporating cities and towns that adopt the philosophy. Now 264 cities from 30 countries have met the 72 criteria of the network and become a member.

So now, What about discovering the slow cities  in Turkey ?

Cittaslow is becoming  popular more and more in the world, In Turkey,there are 18 matchless cittaslow towns. If you are interested in living in a slow city then make your way to these charming small towns.


Seferihisar, which is the district of Izmir, is located  to the South of  this beautiful city.It is about 50 km away from the city center.Seferihisar is the first “Slow City”(Cittaslow ) of Turkey. It did join Cittaslow Network in 2009. Unique to Seferihisar,they have solar-powered the street lamps , their own local foods . Closeby to Seferihisar, you should  visit  Sıgacik  which is  a small fishing town . It is one of the top places  with its turquoise seas, fish restaurants and colorful streets that you shouldn’t miss when you are in Seferihisar. For sure, another thing to do is visiting Sığacık Bazaar which is set  up on Sundays. What makes it different from others is the fact that only products made in Seferihisar are sold here. In bazaar ,you have  chance to find homemade products which are always fresh and natural. Teos ancient city is also another destination in Seferihisar.

Teos Ancient City is the oldest and most important historical city of Seferihisar. The city, 5 km away from the district, 2 km south of the town of Sıgacık, is known as the city of artists.That’s why Seferihisar  hosts increasing numbers of visitors every year.


Akyaka, which is one of the indispensable stops of summer months with its amazing beaches and magnificient  sea,  was admitted to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2011.The town, which is close to modern city Muğla, is one of the fascinating  routes that you can have a memorable holiday in the Aegean region. Akyaka, located among the virgin bays of the Gulf of Gokova, is a paradise created for those who are looking for calmness and silence. Also, Akyaka, an old fishing town, was declared a natural protected area in 1988. That’s why you can see not only ıts own unique architecture but also its biological diversity.


Located on the western part of Turkey; Gokceada is a special route that can be visited not only  in summer time but also winter time  with its azure sea, lush green nature, underwater beauty and tranquility. In Gokceada, which is a hidden paradise, you can experience an memorable  travel experience and relax by refreshing your soul. Located at the entrance of Saros Gulf , the island is one of the few islands in the world in terms of its fresh water resources. In addition, organic agriculture is carried out with great care in Gokceada.

Gokceada always isolates itself from the stressful and tiring life of the changing world.That’s why it is in the list of Cittaslow.


Yenipazar, which is on the  southeast of Aydın city center, is located in the middle of the Büyük Menderes (Meander) Basin.Yenipazar’s history dates back to the 2000 B.C..It is considered that first settlements of Yenipazar is Orthosia Ancient City where many civilizations lived. It is approximately 5 km away from Yenipazar city center. The first researches on Orthosia ancient settlement area were conducted by French scientists in 1999. Mosaics ,which were found during the excavations,are exhibited in Aydın Archeology Museum. When Yenipazar became a slow city, both locals and authorities started to take extra care to protect this cultural heritage. If you are looking for  calmness,Yenipazar is one of the best It was admitted to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2011.  


At first glance, Taraklı looks deserted; but if you take a closer look and discover this unique atmosphere for sure you will change your mind. With its lush green nature and rich history, Tarakli is one of  the top place to spend time with your family and loved ones.. The slow city Tarakli has lots of historical Ottoman houses. The wooden houses that have been standing for more than 300 years have fantastic views. With its streets lined with historical houses and Ottoman architecture, Taraklı makes you feel as if you have traveled to the past. If you want to experience the historic atmosphere of Taraklı, make your way to this  beautiful small city. And dont forget to buy local products and souvenirs from here. It was admitted to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2011.  


Vize, the district of Kırklareli, which is the favorite address of weekend getaways with its proximity to Istanbul, was declared as  a slow city in 2012 by adopting the cittaslow movement. Vize, where the many civilizations had left traces throughout history, stands out with its historical buildings.Even, the Vize History and Culture Festival has been held in August since 2006 to introduce this historical richness to the whole country.Natural beauties of Vize is as rich as its history. You should definitely see the Cehennem Waterfalls, Yenesu Cave and the virgin bays in Kıyıkoy. You will be enchanted.


Persembe, which is 13 km away from Ordu city center, is situated at the slope of a steep hill called Kordontepe. It was designated a slow city of Turkey by the international Cittaslow network in 2012. It is a small fishing town and its history goes back to the 8th century BC.It was previously called Vona but  started  to be called as Persembe in 1945. On Persembe’s 40-kilometer-long beach, there are underwater caves, stunning rock formations, virgin bays such as Aktas, Belicesu, Efirli and beautiful beaches which resembles tropical beaches with its fine white sand. In a secluded corner of Anatolia, Persembe is awaiting you.


Yalvac, a district of Isparta, is one of Turkey’s slow cities  that was admitted to Cittaslow  movement in 2012. Located on the slope of the Sultan Mountains, Yalvac’s history dates back to the Neolithic period.Especially,Antiokheia Ancient City is a place that hosts many ruins which are from Roman period. The Temple of Augustus, Tiberius area, Roman bath and the Sacred Space of Men, which was built for the Moon God Men, make this place special. Christians consider Yalvac as a sacred place because it is thought that Saint Paul, one of the Apostles of Jesus, came to Antiokheia. After adopting the Cittaslow movement, Yalvac started to get more visitors. So you may visit also.


Halfeti is one of the most special beauties in our country. Halfeti , which has hosted many civilizations till today. Part of the region is now underwater because of the construction of the Birecik Dam, and thus Halfeti has an extraordinary texture. The geography with a rich cultural heritage has a 3 thousand year history. When you visit Halfeti, which resembles a sweet Aegean town, you can open the door to history and witness breathtaking views by walking on the 135-meter suspension bridge over the dam lake and getting a boat trip on Euphrates. It did join the Cittaslow movement in 2013.It is about 125 km away from Sanliurfa city center and 140 KM from mysterious Gobeklitepe.

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