Located on the historic Silk Road and the Black Sea, Turkey's towns and villages have a long history of trade and settlement, which can still be seen today.


In the province of Karabük in the Black Sea region lays Safranbolu, a small Ottoman town of 31,000 people. Deriving from the Greek name Saframpolis, meaning Saffron City, Safranbolu is still renowned around Turkey for its saffron as well as its authentic Ottoman buildings. The city is a popular weekend getaway for people from Istanbul and Ankara that come to see its 1,008 registered historic artifacts. These include 25 mosques, five tombs, five hamams, hundreds of houses and mansions, and three caravanserais, the most notable of which is the Cinci Han. Built in 1645, the architect is unknown, but the popular theory is that is was Mimar Kasım Ağa, one of the main architects of the period. Cinci Han was of the main caravansaries on the historic Silk Road from China to Anatolia. There are 23 standard rooms, one suite, and an agha, which has been restored to its former glory. The Cinci Han was used all the way up until the 20th Century and only fell into disuse because of the decline of the Silk Road. Now, it is a popular tourist destination.


Just under 100 kilometers away from Safranbolu on the Black Sea lies the port town of Amasra. The town has ancient origins, and is even mentioned by the classical writer Homer. The ownership of Amasra has changed hands many times over the years from the Romans, Byzantines, Genoese, Ottomans, and finally the Turks. Due to its position on the Black Sea, it was of strategic importance for trade across the Black Sea. It was because of this that the Romans first built its castle on the larger of the town's two islands. This castle was later rebuilt and improved by the Byzantines, and then was added to again by the Genoese. The castle still stands today and gives the town its iconic look with the castle walls still wrapping around the island, with a small, medieval bridge reaching out from the mainland.