Rock-carved houses offer a calm holiday
Solaklar Rock Houses, built by Phrygians 3,200 years ago in the northwestern province of Bolu’s Seben district and survived to this day, offer visitors a journey to the past away from the crowd during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Work started 13 years ago to bring the four-storey rock houses, which are believed to have been carved by hand on a hill by the Phrygians, to tourism in Solaklar village of the district.
While the rock houses were restored by the Seben Municipality, three cave houses, eight bungalows and a stone restaurant, which are similar to these rock houses, were built on an area of 20,000 square meters, allocated by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in order to accommodate tourists.
Stone houses and bungalows, which were built by carving rocks using simple hand tools, offer visitors the opportunity to have a holiday in history and nature.
The interest in stone and bungalow houses in Seben is increasing as more people want to have a holiday in a more isolated environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Seben Mayor Fatih Kavak said that Seben is a natural paradise. Stating that they constructed the stone restaurant, bungalows and cave houses with the support of the East Marmara Development Agency (MARKA), Kavak said:
“With Solaklar Rock Houses, Muslar Rock Houses, Kınıkçı Canyon, Hoçaş Fossil Forest, Çeltikdere Church and Seben Lake, the regions is in the center of attention of nature lovers, athletes engaged in hiking and others who are interested in nature sports. The number of our guests from the cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, Eskişehir and İzmit is increasing day by day.”
Kavak said that they aim to increase accommodation opportunities by building more bungalows, adding, “Nowadays, new tourism routes are an alternative for people who escape from urban life and do not want to take a vacation in crowded holiday centers. At this point, we will continue making projects and investments in eco-tourism.”
Stating that the coronavirus has changed the understanding of holiday, Kavak said, “The usual holiday concept left its place to natural spaces dominated by less crowds. During the pandemic, Seben Rock Houses served with 100 percent capacity, especially on weekends.”