Slow Cities in Turkey (Part 2)

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.

1 – Savsat /

We recommend you to go Savsat  which in the list of Cittaslow movement in Turkey.With its 70 ,Savsat was designated a slow city of Turkey by the international Cittaslow network in 2015. Apart from its natural beauties and historical buildings, Savsat is also very interesting with its sustainable features. And when you go to Savsat, do not neglect to see Arsiyan and Kocabey Plateau where you can see the unique wooden houses with balconies on three sides. One of the best things about slow cities is that the architecture unique to the region is preserved. Savsat,where you can witness every shade of green, is located approximately 70 kilometers from the center of Artvin.

2 – Uzundere / Erzurum

Uzundere, a district of Erzurum, was declared as a slow  city in 2016. Tortum Waterfall, located within the borders of Uzundere, is among the largest waterfalls of our country. Especially when the spring months come, the waterfall enchants every visitor with its fantastic view. Of course, Tortum Waterfall is not the only beauty of Uzundere. You should definitely see the other destinations such as Ağlayan Village, Dikyar Village , Balıklı Village and Tortum Lake. What makes Uzundere special is the life of the local people and natural beauties are protected well.

3 – Goynuk / Bolu

Göynük is a typical Ottoman Town, which is 98 km away from Bolu. In Göynük, cultural values and traditions, clothing, traditional life, traditional culinary culture and social relations is still alive. The handicrafts and weavings with a rich culture are still made in Göynük. When you go to Göynük, you feel this atmosphere directly and you find yourself in this unique atmosphere. When tired of city life, it becomes a perfect place to come. It was designated to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2017.  

4 – Gerze /

Gerze,a district of Sinop which was  chosen as the happiest city of Turkey, gives us the atmosphere of a small fishing town.It did join the Cittaslow movement in 2017. It is impossible not to admire the communication among the locals and with tourists. You will feel like one of them and quickly adapt to the life of this town. While you are walking down the coast, breathing fresh air, do not be surprised if you are invited to dine with one of the warm-hearted locals. This is what makes Gerze a unique place.The locals welcome you not just as tourists but as brothers and sisters, trying everything in their power to make you feel at home. If you want to visit Gerze, make sure you are around the town on a Friday when produce markets are setup. At the lovely open-air market, you can find organic that are grown by local farmers inspired by the slow food movement. You can also taste some of the finest examples of the local delicacies at the market where the locals prepare and cook onsite.Gerze is about 37 km away from Sinop city centre.

5 – Egirdir / Isparta

Eğirdir, one of the most beautiful districts of Isparta which is known as the Land of , was chosen as a slow city in 2017. Eğirdir is considered the most important destination of the Lakes District because Turkey's 4th largest fresh water lake is here. Egirdir Lake is very suitable for water sports such as swimming, windsurfing.Also for walking ,it is a perfect place.  After walking around, you can go to Yesil(Green) Island and Can Island on the lake. Tent and caravan areas are also very common in Can Ada. You can spend the night on this island. It sounds good ,isn't it ? Egirdir is half an hour drive from Isparta .

6 – Mudurnu / Bolu

Mudurnu became Bolu's second and Turkey's 15th slow city  in 2018. After it became a slow city, it started to stand out  with the richness of its natural beauties. With the Cittaslow movement, the historical and natural atmosphere is protected in Mudurnu. If you would like to see the entire Mudurnu view from top, you can walk up to the Mudurnu Clock Tower and you can see fantastic panoramic view.This city still give you a chance to see  traditional Ottoman architecture.Thanks to its quiet atmosphere, virgin nature, remains of its historic texture and the lifestyle of its locals that have been preserved for hundreds of years, It is approximately 50 km away from Bolu city centre.

7 – Koycegiz / Mugla

Köyceğiz District is a quiet touristic town at the junction of the and Aegean Regions, rich natural beauties, Sweetgum forests and citrus gardens. Köyceğiz is a paradise with its,magnificent lake, natural beauty and historical richness. Settlement in the district started thousands of years ago and first settlements of Koycegiz dates back to 3400 B.C. Scythians, Assyrians, Ionians, Persians, Romans and had settlements here. Köyceğiz Lake, Sultaniye Hot Springs, Kaunos Ancient City, Sandras Mountain, Yuvarlakcay, Sığla Forests are among the important places to visit. Koycegiz was admitted to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2019.  

8 – Ahlat – Bitlis

Ahlat in the eastern province of Bitlis is one of slow cities of Turkey. Ahlat did join to the International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) in 2019. It is located west of Lake Van which is the largest lake in Turkey.Ahlat looks like an open-air museum with its remains from different civilizations for centuries. Though the history of the city dates back to 900 BC, its famous for ıts tombstones dating to 12 th-15 th centuties AD. It has an important place in the Islamic world in their variation within Anatolian tomb architecture in dimension and design. It is in the Tentative World Heritage  list. If you visit east of Turkey , Ahlat definitely  should  be  in your travel list.

9 – Gudul /

Güdül, one of the smallest districts of Ankara located in the Central , is approximately 90 km from the center of Ankara.Researches made in Güdül and its surroundings showed that the history of the region goes back to very old times. There are caves made by carving rocks in the region. Caves are probably from the Hittites who lived in Anatolia around 2000 BC. Güdül City Museum, Güdül Old Houses, Rock-cut Caves are among the important places to visit in the district. Güdül was designated a slow city of Turkey by the international Cittaslow network in 2020.

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