Goynuk at Turkey’s Bolu province, is located in a cozy corner of the Marmara Region of Turkey. Being a place where the Ottoman Empire was founded, Goynuk has many historical monuments from early Ottoman period. There are a lot of things to discover in Goynuk as a city preserving its historical tissue.
Goynuk is a slope city and there are many houses built on the hillside. These houses will immediately cause you to hug get your camera. The slopes in the city have somewhere between 35 and 40 percent inclination. So they offer beautiful scenery. Natural beauty rising from the gardens makes Goynuk houses more attractive.
Goynuk houses have a single or double flat structure. The oldest house is 150 years old and there is a kitchen with a cellar and servants’ rooms at the entrance floor. Upstairs, there is a main large room called “life” in some other examples and there are other rooms opening here. Each room of the house has a separate furnace, sofas and closet. This structure allows the houses to be used as “boutique hotels” nowadays.
The roof is mostly covered with tiles. The doors and windows of some of the rooms in the houses are worth seeing.
Also, Goynuk houses are in a great architectural harmony with the Government Hall of the city, built in 1890.
TOWER OF VICTORY
Here is the Tower of Victory, which became the symbol of Goynuk!
The tower was built by Hursit Bey, the first district governor of the Republican era in 1923. It has a three-floor wooden-edged architecture on a hexagonal stone base.
GAZI SULEYMAN PASHA MOSQUE
Gazi Suleyman Pasha Mosque, which is one of the most important historical buildings of Goynuk, carries the signs of 14th century.
The mosque was built in 1335 together with its baths in the complex. Sehzade (Prince) Gazi Suleyman Pasha was the son of Orhan Gazi, the second sultan of Ottoman Empire.
SHRINE OF AKSEMSEDDIN
Aksemseddin was the teacher, mentor and counselor of Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul. The tomb of Aksemseddin in Goynuk was built in 1464 under orders of Mehmet II himself. It’s a hexagonal structure with a non-hooped dome made of “kefeki” stone.
The tomb is very plain. Aksemseddin’s sarcophagus is located on the right entering the main hall. This sarcophagus, decorated with relief on walnut, is a fine example of Ottoman woodworking.
Shrine also includes the tombs of Aksemseddin’s sons Sadullah and Emrullah Celebi.
KNIFESMITH OMER DEDE SHRINE
Another important person lived in Goynuk with Aksemseddin in the same period is Omer Dede the Knifesmith. Also known as “Omer Sikkin”, this wise man was among the students of Haci Bayram Veli, a famous middle age Turkish philosopher.
DEBBAG DEDE SHRINE
The life of this great person who lived in Goynuk is related to historical stories and rumors. It is known that his profession was tannery and he is known among the people as “Tabak Dede” (The old tanner).
If you come to Goynuk, take a few days to visit the highlands and farms in the region.
Karabey, Cubuk, Degirmenozu and Kasikcik villages are located close to Goynuk and having altitudes of 1000-1500 meters. These villages and uplands also have quite beautiful scenic trekking routes.
WHAT TO EAT?
This is very important because you will gain weight during the time you spend in here. Goynuk is a soup paradise. Be sure to try the region-specific “tarhana”. We also recommend the very famous and regional “noodle soup.” The “wedding soup” made with broth is also delicious. Also we recommend you not to miss meat dishes.
However, Goynuk’s specialty is “Kesh”, a special cheese obtained by fermenting the ayran (drinkable yogurt). Also, do not come back without tasting various breads.
WHERE TO STAY?
Some of the historic Goynuk houses are being operated as boutique hotels such as Goynuk Hotel and Aksemsettinoglu Konagi. We recommend you to accommodate inside Goynuk to feel the spirit.
HOW TO GET THERE?
If you are traveling with your private car, you need to use the D160 or D170 highways. Your mobile phone or navigation device will help you. Goynuk is located at 230 kilometers from both Istanbul and Ankara (yes, right in the middle) and also 200 kilometers from Bursa and 530 kilometers from Izmir. It is possible to reach Goynuk directly by intercity busses too.