Centuries-old hidden tunnels to serve tourism
Nearly four-century-old hidden tunnels in the western Black Sea province of Karabük’s Safranbolu district, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and famous for its historical houses, will serve tourism.
One of the best protected cities in the world, the historical Safranbolu is home to the Ottoman-era mosques, inns, fountains and bridges as well as traditional houses built between the 18th and 20th centuries. Three different tunnels, which are in different heights and consisting of cut stones and arches, will be revealed with a new project.
These tunnels, which were built centuries ago for the purpose of making more use of the agricultural lands through arches on Akçasu Stream, are passing below the blacksmiths and coppersmiths’ bazaars, Cinci Inn and the İzzet Mehmet Pasha Mosque.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Safranbolu Culture and Tourism Foundation chair Şefik Yılmaz Dizdar said that as a foundation, they are trying to protect the cultural richness of the district and to prepare projects.
Stating that they are in cooperation with the governorship, municipality, district governorship and culture and tourism directorate, Dizdar said, “We make projects to survive the historical buildings in our district. One of them is the tunnels under the district. We have prepared a project for the restoration of these tunnels that stand out with their architecture and to open them to tourism. The project has been accepted. A few paperwork is left. When these are completed, we will start working and open these tunnels to tourism.”
Stating that the architecture of the tunnels can be taught as a lesson, Dizdar said, “These tunnels, which were built with the possibilities of that time centuries ago, have been able to hold huge structures up to now. Everyone has to see how the waterfall was created underground with the possibilities of that time and how the drains and the sewage system were designed separately.”
Dizdar said that the district welcomes some 1.5 million local and foreign tourists annually, and that with the opening of tunnels, people will be able to see these hidden architectural wonders.