Slowing down!

Slowing down!

Did you know that there is a new Slow City near Ankara? Just when we need slowing down, and returning back to nature, the news that Güdül is added to the international network of slow cities, or Cittaslow as it is known, came in like a refreshing breeze of air, a gentle wind that gives hope.

Güdül is a village 85 km northwest of Ankara, towards Istanbul. It is the first place in inner Anatolia region, and the 18th in Turkey to be included in the network. The Cittaslow movement was born in Italy in 1999, in parallel to the Slow Food movement. To achieve the status of “Slow City,” a city must agree to accept the guidelines of slow food and work to improve conviviality and conserve the local environment. Now Güdül, a typical picturesque Anatolian town, is a recent addition to the growing list of slow cities compiled by Italian organization Cittaslow International.

When we say slow city, nowadays it equals more and more to a livable city, especially after COVID-19 struck monstrous mega-cities we live in has proven to be prone to mega-disasters. And we have all witnessed the difference in lockdowns; the flow of life in a slowed down city was as magical as a slow motion picture, we suddenly started to hear birds chirping, notice clouds moving, felt the flow of air, began to see a sky much brighter. We suddenly felt we are living on planet earth.

Güdül is one of those places that remind us how life used to be in Anatolian towns. Not in the terms of great architectural heritage like the UNESCO-listed town of Safranbolu, or other picturesque towns such as Beypazarı, but Güdül is more modest, but may be for the good, as one can focus on the amazing agricultural richness Anatolian towns possess. In Güdül only, there are 75,000 pure-breed Angora goats (Ankara tiftik keçisi), the elusive breed that you may remember from your mohair Angora sweaters; the one that produce the lustrous velvety wool. It is not only about goats in Güdül, there are about 4,760 beehives, over 12,000 cattle, and 45,500 sheep, with 160,850 decares of agricultural land, with a potential of 96,560 decares of fields ready to be ploughed.

Güdül has already been involved in projects focusing on family farming and community-supported agriculture practices. Surrounded by ecologically important Kirmir stream and valley, and the Süvari stream rich with aquatic life with fishes, crabs, eels, turtles, and the skirts of Köroğlu Mountains with an amazingly vibrant wild life, Güdül is like a heaven of biodiversity, so close to our monstrous concrete cities, but so far away from city-locked imprisoned lives.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on Güdül, and definitely worth a visit to the market, and perhaps, one day we can resort to rural life, or if we cannot unchain ourselves from city life, we can give a helping hand to local producers and try to keep at least our pace slowed down!

Fork of the Week: Tick July 4 Saturday on your calendar! The first ever, local producers’ market of Güdül will be held all day long, starting from 10:00 am in the morning. The local farmers and producers will be offering their produce for sale. On the long run, the aim of the market is to provide a traceability system where consumer can go back to the origin of the product, and trace back to its origin in the website of the marketplace. This is particularly important, as we all know that after a certain publicity is achieved, there are cases where the “local produce” is not necessarily locally produced. There will be several places serving breakfast and lunch in the town, and the pop-up local produce and tastes kitchen will be open right in the town center where local dishes will be served. All coronavirus measures will be taken in the marketplace, stalls set-up with distancing spaces, sanitizers and masks provided for visitors.

Another market news is from Istanbul. For the ones who cannot make to Güdül, there is a fantastic alternative to pass the day. The Büyükyalı Organic Market (Büyükyalı Organik Semt Pazar) in Zeytinburnu is the newest in town. Started already on June 13, it is spacious with open-air stalls, set in a restored historical setting just on the shores of Marmara Sea. All the products have organic certificate and the marketplace is organized under the supervision Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living. The market will be open 10:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. every Saturday.

Cork of the Week: Gustobar continues to do on-line virtual tastings with wineries from all over the country.  Every Wednesday and Friday evening, starting at 21:30 pm, Taner Öğütoğlu is talking to wine producers, tasting their wines. The good thing is they announce the winery and the wines to be tasted, and also announce the supplier stores in various towns, so one can easily buy the bottles in advance and discover about especially the newly released ones. Just keep checking on Instagram @gustobarevents, and join in to swirl and sip!