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Safranbolu Houses :: The Environment of the House

KIRANKOY

This is the settlement area of the Greek minority in Safranbolu, a high plateau west of the sehir. The Greeks lived here until the mutual exchange of minorities. This is a considerably dense settlement area. The settlement pattern is of a similar character to that of the sehir. In the Greek houses the use of stone and masonry is more significant.

THE STREETS

The streets differ in the sehir and Baglar districts, in regards to both the topography and the layout.

Sehir

The streets in the sehir follow the natural curves of the undulating land. The width, slope and paving of the streets are designed according to the needs of pedestrian or loaded animal. Horses and donkeys were used as a means of transport; carriages were rare. The streets are narrow and curvilinear. The houses project onto the street,  providing varying perspectives. In order to widen the narrow street junction, the corners of the houses are chamfered. A decorated stone corbel supports the top floors of a chamfered ground floor while in general the projections are supported by wooden brackets. Occasionally the streets end in culs-de-sac. Streets widen to provide the necessary space for market-places.

The carsi is located at a lower level than the neighbouring settlement areas; thus the streets allow for the natural flow of people into the city centre. The streets are paved with stone. Rain water is gathered in the central axis accentuated by placing the largest paving stones on either side. An additional sidewalk has not been provided, as the streets are themselves pedestrian walkways. As a result of the undulating land structure, one side of the street is generally defined with a retaining wall. Frequently there are stone or wooden bridges over the streams.

Baglar

The same design principles are valid for the streets in the Baglar district, except that the slopes are less steep. Houses occur more frequently on the main roads and on streets opening onto them. Going inwards, the garden walls tend to run longer along the streets and the houses are fewer. The visual continuation of the street pattern on the garden walls makes one perceive the street wider than it actually is. The branches of the fruit trees overhanging the garden walls give shade to the streets. The irrigation water runs through canals along the street. At certain points there are grindstones placed for communal use. Culs-de-sac are more frequent in the Baglar district. Houses are generally adjacent to the street. Occasionally there are garden gates with canopies.

DIE GARDENS

Houses both in the sehir and the Baglar district have gardens, those of the latter naturally being larger. Houses in the sehir are rarely without gardens.

TheGardenWall

The garden is separated from the street by a wall parallel to its natural curve. The boundaries are defined by the street; the form of the house cannot alter this in anyway. On the contrary, the house form is altered so as to be in perfect harmony with the street. This demonstrates the dominance of public property over private property. The wall can be a retaining wall and its height is generally slightly over the height of an average man, thus preventing the garden being seen from the street. The wall can be either of stone or adobe. There may be a capping of either tiles or wooden shingles to protect it from the rain. The wooden shingles (tura) may be inclined solely outwards or on both sides. The partitions between neighbouring gardens can be either wooden partitions or low walls. The coping of the partition wall is inclined towards the garden to which it belongs.

Entrance from the street to the garden is through gates with double doors and a canopy on top, resembling in design the entrance door of the house. There can also be gates on the partition walls of neighbours who are on good terms, providing easy acces from one to the other without having to change domestic wear.

The Garden

The gardens are the most important areas of production. Especially in the summer quarters, they are extremely large. The production realized in the summer gardens enables the system of double residency: summer and winter.

The gardens are terraced: They are divided into vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and vineyards according to their form, steepness, size, soil composition, exposure to wind and sun, accesibility and irrigation conditions. Flowers are planted in and around the areas set aside for leisurely activities or for domestic chores.

The Vegetable Gardens: They are of a reasonable size and occupy a place suitable for irrigation. These are some of the vegetables planted in the gardens:

Summer Vegetables: Beans, tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, egg-plants, summer varieties of squash, corn, okra, beetroot, onions, garlic, potatoes, peas, broad-beans, mint and parsley.

Winter Vegetables: Spinach, leeks, cabbages, lettuce, carrots, winter varieties of squash, turnips (red and white).

The Fruit Orchards: The fruit trees are numerous and have a rich variety of species. Those most commonly encountered are mulberries (three species); apples (three species); plums (six species), pears (four species); sour cherries, cherries (four species), comelian cherries; quinces, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and figs.

You can also see pine trees in the gardens of the Baglar region, a tangible evidence of the affection people of Safranbolu have for trees.

The Vineyards: Safranbolu is famous for its grapes, which explains why the largest summer resort area is called Baglar: The Vineyards. In the 1950s, before the disease of floxera reached the area the vineyards were very large and productive. Several species of grapes were grown, some being peculiar to the area. The number that can be instantly called to mind amount to ten!

Most of the vegetables, fruits and grapes were consumed year-round by the households, playing an important role in the self -sufficient economy. Only the excess produce was sold.

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