The known history of Kastamonu begins with the Hittites. From there it was under Phrygian, Lydian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Danismendli, and Candarogullari rule. Following the Candarogullari, in 1460 it was under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire and became an important Ottoman city until the republic was formed.
The people who settled in this area after prehistoric times were the oldest Sumerian clan, Gaska Turks. Gaska Turks who ruled between 2000 and 1300 BC had political, cultural, commercial relationships with the Egyptians, Syrians and the Kaldes. Sometimes they fought against the Hittites and sometimes they befriended them. Gaska Turks are known as being serious and ruthless warriors.
Some think that Kastamonu originally may have got its name from Gaslar (Gaska Turks). According to this idea, it is believed that ‘Timoni’ or ‘Tumana’ words unified with the word, Gas, meaning Gas government.
On the other hand, Kastamonu has a very different importance in Turkey’s republican history. During the Turkish War of Independence Kastamonu provided logistic support from Inebolu to Ankara as a very secure port. On August 23, 1925 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk announced Hat and Dress Revolution in Kastamonu and since then it has earned a special place in history.
Kastamonu is a city, which is rich in cultural and natural aspects. The Kure Mountains, the one million-year old Ilgarini Cave, the world famous Valla Canyon with its winter sports tourism centre, Ilgaz Mountain, its beach, which is 170 kilometres to the Black Sea. As well stone tombs, highlands, mansions, architectural and historic structures belonging to Seljuk and Ottoman times are some examples of the wealth that Kastamonu has to offer. The city of Kastamonu has many places to attract the attention of local and foreign visitors with Ilgaz Mountain National Park, Kure Mountains National Park, Ilgaz Mountain Winter Tourism Center, summer (yacht) tourism-oriented bays, and work of arts belonging to several historical ages.
There are many old ruins, Kastamonu city centre and its districts. The most important preserved areas are Arac, Taskopru, Kure, Abana. They are among the settlements of Zimbilli Tepe (Pompeipolis) in Taskopru, Abes Kalesi in Inebolu, Geris Tepesi (Hill), Ginolu Koyu in Catalzeytin, Gideros Koyu (Bay) in Cide are in the archaeologically protected areas.
The districts of Kastamonu are: Abana, Agli, Arac, Azdavay, Bozkurt, Cide, Catalzeytin, Daday, Devrekani, Doganyurt, Hanonu, Ihsangazi, Inebolu, Kure, Pinarbasi, Seydiler, Senpazar, Taskopru and Tosya.
The districts of Kastamonu are Abana, Agli, Arac, Azdavay, Bozkurt, Cide, Catalzeytin, Daday, Devrekani, Doganyurt, Hanonu, Ihsangazi, Inebolu, Kure, Pinarbasi, Seydiler, Senpazar, Taskopru and Tosya.
Arac is 44 kilometres from the city centre.
Cide is 146 kilometres from city centre. It has a 12-kilometre beach and for its location it has held an important role as a port on the Silk Road throughout history.
Daday is 32 kilometres from the city centre. Ataturk visited the district at the time of the ‘Dress and Hat Revolution’ on 23-31 August 1925.
Devrekani is 29 kilometres from the city centre. It is an old settlement and it is quite rich in archaeology with its ruins, tumuli, fountains and mosques. Here, Ataturk was put up as a guest in the farm of Muftuoglu Mehmet Bey in a forested area in Bozkocatepe-Kurukavak Village.
Hanonu is 69 kilometres from the city centre. One of the most important tombs in Kastamonu is Seyh Saban-i Veli Tomb that is built in the town centre. Seyh Saban-i Veli was born in Cindar Village in Hanonu. In Hanonu, the first week of May is celebrated as ‘Sey Saban-i Veli Commemoration Week’.
Ihsangazi is 37 kilometres from the city centre. Haracoglu Mosque and Tomb in the Isalar neighbourhood are the most important historic sites of the district.
Inebolu is 97 kilometres from the city centre. The district seat is a protected area. There are 347 officially registered historical buildings. Additionally, Abes Hill and Geris Hill are officially protected areas.
Kure is 61 kilometres from the city centre. Situated in Kure, Doganlar Castle was built 1700-1100 B.C.. Kure is very suitable for highland tourism in forested areas and has an abundance of natural views. It is worth seeing the canyon at the base of Yaraligoz Mountain.
Pinarbasi is 92 kilometres from the city centre. ‘Ayazma’ in Ilica Village belonging to Roman Age still has hot springs. In the same village the waterfall on the Devrekani River is truly a natural beauty worth seeing. Here, the Ilgarini cave which is situated within the boundaries of Sumenler Village and in the mountainous terrain near Sorkun Highlands offers potential in caving.
MUSEUMS AND RUINS
Kastamonu Archaeology Museum and Liva Pasha Konagi (Mansion) Ethnography Museum are two important museums in Kastamonu.
Kastamonu Archaeology Museum
This museum houses a collection of the historic artefacts, which were found during archaeological excavations in Kastamonu and its surroundings. The historic artefacts that are displayed here are from prehistoric ages, Roman, Byzantine, Candarogullari Principality and the Ottoman Age.
Liva Pasa Konagi (Mansion) Ethnography Museum
Mirliva Sadik Pasha had a special stately home built between the years 1879-1881. There are two segregated entrances for men and women known as Haremlik and Selamlik. In addition to the ground floor, having local architectural styles, the mansion has three more floors. On the first floor there are Kastamonu handcrafts in different disciplines, and on the second floor Kastamonu Mansion is displayed with its all the items from the mansion.
75th Anniversary Republic House
The inside of the building is decorated with local furniture and additionally there is an exhibition of ethnographic items, which had been donated. Also, there is a specialty library in which some general publications and tourism oriented resources about the city are available. Furthermore, the photos and some belongings of Ataturk’s Kastamonu visit and about the Dress and Hat Revolution have been exhibited there.
With its magnificent appearance, Kastamonu Castle, which is the heart of Kastamonu City and an officially registered historical site, has received many visitors for years. One of the fascinating monuments in Kastamonu, the castle is believed to have been first built in the Byzantine age. The foundation of the inside castle which is very durable belongs to the Byzantine and the upper side belongs to Candarogullari age.
Home rock tomb
Home rock tomb in Kastamonu it is the oldest rock tomb. It is on a natural rock, was built on 45-degree slope ground, and was carved out to an 8m depth. There are three entrances and three crypts in the tomb. Paphlagonians built it in the beginning of the 7th century BC.
Sehinsah Rock Tomb
Sehinsah Rock Tomb is at the Ismail Bey Mosque complex belonging to Candarogullari Principality period (15th century) which can be found 2 tombs on the eastern side of which are carved from rock. Though the tombs are a remnant from Roman Age, unfortunately, their origins are not known.
Zimbilli Hill Tumulus (Pompeipolis)
Situated near Taskopru district seat, this archaic city was established as the centre of the city of Paphlagonia by Romans in 64 BC. Lots of remains and marble fragments were discovered as a result of archaeological excavations.
In Taskopru, architectural items which were found in this ancient settlement are from a covered tumulus are displayed. Mosaics and other artefacts are in the Kastamonu Archaeology Museum taken from archaeological excavations.
Within the boundaries of Kastamonu there are many archaeological and preservation areas. For example, Gideros district in Cide District and Gineolu district in Catalzeytin District are preserved and archaeological areas. Moreover, sightseeing at Inebolu Geris and Abes Hills are also to be included in touring the area.
Munire Medresesi El Sanatlari Carsisi
(Munire Madrassa Handicrafts Bazaar) in 1746 it was commissioned by Reis-ul Kuttab Haci Mustafa Efendi, the building was made of rough and cube-shaped stones. For a long time it was used as Vakiflar (foundation) student residence and in 1999 after 25 rooms and the arcades in front of these rooms were restored, it was turned to a tourism-oriented handcrafts bazaar. In every room local handcraft masters make and sell their goods.
MOSQUES AND COMPLEXES (KULLIYE)
Yilanli is totally a complex with its buildings like the mosque, the tomb, the hospital section, the alms house and the fountain. The complex was established by Abdulfettah-i Veli, the 4th son of his nibs Abdulkadir Geylani, in 1210 AC. The complex was restored by reason of a fire in 1827 and some of its parts were rebuilt. The portal of the hospital section in the complex was constructed of the cut stone. The entrance gate of the building displays the characteristics of the stonework of the year of 1271. The stonework of its epigraph is worth to note with its motifs of geometric figures and plants. The complex has its name thanks to a stone having a relief of a snake motif on it.
It is one of the symbolic figures of the city with its mosque, fountain, bridge and madrassah. It was established by the Kadi (Muslim judge) Nasrullah under the reign of the Bayezid II, in 1506. It was enlarged with some additions in the course of time. The Munire Madrassah (Bayrakli Madrassah) in the complex was built by the Hadji Mustafa Efendi, Reis-ul Kuttab in the year of 1824. The building was constructed with cut stone and broken stone. The building, benefited as a dormitory by the waqfs for a long period, was transformed to a skilled trade bazaar, tourism-oriented, after its 25 rooms and the porch in fronts of the rooms were restored in 1999. Each room is a workshop used by the local craftsmen for production and sale.
Sheikh Saban-i Veli (Hz Pir) Complex
It is the most important and paramount center of the religious tourism in the city. The complex in the Hisarardi district contains a mosque, a tomb, Asa Water, a fountain, a library and wooden mansions. The complex was enlarged with the additions between the years of 1575 and 1900.
Benli Sultan Complex
The complex is on the northern skirt of the Mount Ilgaz, 30 kilometers far from the city center, in the Ahlat village. It contains a mosque, a tomb, a kitchen and a house of accommodation. The madrassah and the library appearing on the records didn’t arrive at today. The house of accommodation was built between the years of 1515 and 1520 under the reign and probably by the order of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Khan. It is one of the important religious tourism centers of the province.
Ismail Bey Complex (the Lower Alms House)
The complex, consisting of a mosque, a tomb, a madrassah, an inn and an alms house, was established by the Ismail Bey, the ruler of the Candarogullari, in the district, carrying his own name of Ismail Bey, over this naturally rocky area, overlooking the province. The structure was finished between the years of 1460 and 1514. The stonework on the surface of the tomb is worth to see.
Yakup Aga Complex (Aga Alms House– the Upper Alms House)
It is a total complex with its mosque, madrassah, school, alms house kitchen and house of the accommodation in the west side of the province overlooking the region. The complex was built by the keeper of the treasury Yakup Aga of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1547.
Atabey Ghazi Mosque (Mosque with Forty Columns)
The mosque, belonging to the period of the Cobanogullari (Atabeyler), is one of the oldest and greatest mosques of the province. It is probable that the mosque, of which date of building is 1273, was built under the reign of the Muzaffer Yavlak Aslan (Atabey), the ruler of the Kastamonu.
The building, having walls made of cut stone and broken stone and covered by a wooden ceiling over forty columns, is called the MOSQUE WITH FORTY COLUMNS by the people. The minaret, made of cut stone, has the characteristics of the period of the Seljuk.
İbn-i Neccar (Eli Guzel) Mosque
The mosque, in the İbn-i Neccar (Yavuz Selim) district, is a graceful and beautiful building, belonging to the Candarogullari period, made of the cut stone. Its date of building is 1353. Its gate in the sharp arch is one of the most beautiful examples of the woodwork. The gate was made by Abdullah the son of Mahmut, an engraver from Ankara, in 1356, and it has two wings, adorned by writings and motifs, made of oak. We see the name of the master workman and a same gate in the Mahmut Bey Mosque in the Kasaba Village.
Kasaba Village – Mahmut Bey Mosque
The mosque is in the northeast of the province, near to the Daday country, and 18 kilometers far from the province, in the Kasaba Village. It was built by the Candaroglu ruler Mahmut Bey in 1366. M. The facade of the building seems to be simple but its inner structure and decoration is rare. The system carrying the wooden ceiling was carried by a frame over four columns. It is the unique mosque built by using the overlapping technique without using any nails. It’s not only famous with its wooden ceiling and wooden work but also with its plant motifs made of madder. The wooden entrance gate of the mosque adorned with writings and plant motifs is a masterpiece of the wooden work.
Karanlik Evliya Tomb
The tomb is totally a Seljuk artifact. It was made of cut stone as eight cornered and covered with pointed hood. It has two-floored. The sarcophagus is on the down floor. It is assumed that in the sarcophagus, belonging to one of the rulers of the Cobanlar period, is probably buried Husamettin Coban. There is a small mosque adjacent to the tomb.
Asikli Sultan Tomb
The facade of the two-floored is adorned with stonework in Seljuk style. There are five sarcophagi in downstairs with vaults. The person, lying in the middle of the sarcophagus, is called Asikli Sultan by people. He died a martyr during the conquest of the Kastamonu Castle. The person in the sarcophagus can be seen without any decomposition.
Atabey Ghazi Tomb
It is adjacent to the eastern facade of the Atabey Ghazi Mosque. It is made of bricks, appears in a circular shape from outside, eight-cornered inside and covered by a dome.
It has been said that the biggest sarcophagus belongs to Atabey Ghazi (Muzaffereddin Yavlak Aslan) the conqueror of Kastamonu, the other one next to it belongs to his daughter and the last one belongs to one of the Forty-maiden martyrs.
There are two tombs next to the mosque entrance carrying the same name. It has been said that one of the shrines belongs to a sahabe (Kays-ul Hemadani Asgar), who set off for the conquest of Istanbul with Eyup- el Ensari (Eyup Sultan), buried in Eyup.
Müfessir Alaaddin Tomb
It is in the district of Kale Kapisi, on the Tevser Hill. It is recorded as it is built by the Candaroglu ruler Semsettin Yaman Candar in 1289. Müfessir Aladdin, coming from Belh or Buhara, was an important interpreter of the Quran and he has a Persian interpretation of Quran and a work separating the true hadiths from the false ones. There are more six sarcophaguses in the tomb.
Terzi Village– Adil Bey Tomb
It is a two-floored building made of cut stone. The first floor has a squared plan, but the second floor has cylindrical structure from inside and it is covered by a dome from inside and by a sharp hood from outside. The cut stone sarcophagus in the middle on the second floor belongs to Adil Bey. Candaroglu Adil Bey ruled the region between the years of 1345 and 1361.
Hatun Sultan Tomb
It is Kirkcesme District. It is made up of cut-stone and broke-stone with a square plan and has a low dome. It was constructed in 1436 by Hatun Sultan who was the daughter of Sultan Mehmet Chelebi (the son of Yildirim Bayezid). Hatun Sultan was the wife of Ibrahim Bey who was the ruler of Candaroglu, and she was Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s aunt. There are a total of seven tombs within the tomb.
Sheik Mehmet Efendi (Sacayakli Sultan) Tomb
It is located in the Sheik District of the Haciveli Village 18 km away from the city. Sheik Mehmet Efendi is the caliph of Sheik Saban-i Veli Hz. His wife and son are also buried in the tomb. It was constructed in 1662. The mosque that stands next door indicates that there is also an almshouse in the tomb.
INNS AND OTHER HISTORICAL BUILDINGS
There are lots of inns Kastamonu since it is located on the pathway of Historical Silk Road. Being constructed for trade and the accommodation of the merchants, these inns are still being used in our era.
Ismail Bey Inn (Kursunlu Inn)
This inn is in the Aktarlar Bazaar in Kastamonu and it has two entrance gates in its northern and southern sides. It is located within the city center on the west of Nasrullah Square. It was constructed by Candaroglu Ismail Bey. Under its square plan there are (14) rooms, sheds and also, 29 rooms throughout the porched-corridor. It is made up of cut-stone and broken-stone.
It is within the Ismail Bey Complex and is made up of cut-stone, broken-stone and brick. On the left and right side of its entrance there are two keepers’ rooms with high cousins with vaults. The middle corridor is covered with a dome. It was constructed before 1460 by Candaroglu Ismail Bey in order to finance the almshouse and the house of accommodation.
Asir Efendi Inn
Asir Efendi Inn is to the west of the Nasrullah Square. It was started by Reis-ul Kuttap Haci Mustafa Efendi and his son, Asir Efendi, completed its construction in 1748. The lower floor was built to be used as a barn. 29 rooms arranged on the arcaded top floor, which is reached by the stairs on the left and right sides of the east entrance. It is a unique building, which exemplifies the commercial lifestyle of the day.
Yanik Inn (Kendir Kapani)
Yanik Inn (Kendir Kapani) it was built by Yanikoglu Haci Ismail Aga in 1730 as a commercial inn. There is a three-floored timber hall around the courtyard on the ground floor. The rooms are to the rear and there is a masjid above the southern entrance.
Cam Sultan Inn (Karanlik Bedesten)
Cam Sultan Inn (Karanlik Bedesten) it was built during the age of Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s son Cem Sultan when he presided over Kastamonu. It was made of rubble with mortar. There are 9 ranks in the middle inside the inn and 9 domes, which are on the sidewalls with arches covering them.
Hanonu District Inn
Hanonu District Inn is situated in Hanonu District. It is unknown by whom and when it was built. It was made of rough and cube-shaped stones as well as with bricks and mortar. It is divided into sections with two rows.
Kastamonu is one of the rare cities where there are traditional Turkish Houses and Ottoman architectural characteristics belonging to the near past. Old wards and buildings arouse feelings of nostalgia and admiration in visitors.
Original and traditional Turkish houses and Ottoman civil architecture examples are available in the Akmescit, Hepkebirler, Atabey and Ismailbey Wards in city centre. It is also possible to see such kinds of houses in the old wards of districts like Taskopru, Kure, Inebolu, Arac and Abana though it is not likely to be found in the city centre.
There are a total of 1428 historically registered monuments and buildings in Kastamonu, so it is steeped in historical wealth.
Kastamonu is a very interesting city with nature side by side with its historic antiquities. Ilgaz Mountain, Kure Mountains, skiing centres, beaches, highlands and caves here are popular sightseeing destinations.
OTHER CULTURAL and TOURISTIC ATTRACTIONS
There are lots of inns Kastamonu since it is located on the pathway of Historical Silk Road. Being constructed for trade and the accommodation of the merchants, these inns are still being used in our era.
Ilgaz Mountain National Park
Ilgaz Mountain National Park it is situated in the boundaries of Kastamonu and Cankiri. The most common tree types are Black pine, Scotch pine and Fir trees, which grow towards the outskirts of Ilgaz Mountain. The rich forest varieties are supported by the rich undergrowth. These conditions coming from year round rivers and rich vegetation provide ranges for animals like deer, roes, wolves, foxes, bears and wild boar.
It is also possible to ski in this wonderful natural wonderland. Ankara Mansion situated in the National Park enables visitors to ski here. Additionally, there are extra suitable facilities like nature walks, camping with caravans or tents and day tripping activities for visitors. Also, it is open for people to fish in ponds and visit the station in Baldiran Valley in National Park in which trout are raised.
Continental climate patterns are dominant on the Ilgaz Mountain Ranges whose highest peak is 2850m. The predominant winds are from the north and northwest. The skiing season starts in December and ends in April. The snow base varies between 50-200 cm. Ski runs are 1800-2000m high. At the ski centre, there are 5 state guesthouses and two hotels as well as an additional hotel 3 kilometres from the centre. This sports facilities has health care services, skiing lessons, and skiing equipment are available. Moreover, in the beginnings of 2001, a five-star hotel furnished with 320 beds and a complex with 88 flats were opened in the Bostan location.
As for mechanical facilities and courses, at the skiing centre there are a pair of two-person chairlifts and one rope tows. With 700m height the chairlift has, the capacity of 700 person per hour while with the height of 950m rope tow centre has the capacity of 1000 persons per hour. There is a 300m-long baby lift facility belonging to a private hotel 3 kilometres from the sports centre.
Kastamonu-Bartin Kure Mountains National Park
Kure Mountains have a rich tree variety and fauna. Ilica Waterfall, Valla Canyon, Aydos Canyon and Ilgarini Cave in Ilica village are worth to be visited.
Valla Canyon is a natural phenomenon that forms as a result of flow of the Devrekani River through the Kure Mountains on its way to the Black Sea. It starts near Muratbasi Village, which is 26 kilometres to the north of Pinarbasi. One can see the headwaters of the canyon by following a 1.5 kilometre long path. The canyon, which courses a further 10 kilometres towards Cide in the north, ends near Hamitli Village. The 800-1200 metre high rocky cliffs are on both sides of the canyon and there are the nests of birds of prey on these rocks. One cannot pass the canyon without the required guide and equipment. Kayabasi Quarter in Sumenler Village is 27 kilometres north of Pinarbasi is one of the best places where one can capture the canyon’s beauty with a bird’s-eye view. Visitors here are fascinated by the wonderfully wild nature of this canyon.
In Kastamonu there are Cide - Gideros Bay located in a nature preservation area, hold natural beauty, Cide District Beach, Central Beach, Kumluca, Akbayir Village Shore, Doganyurt Women’s Beach, Inebolu Boyranalti Beach, Gemiciler Village Beach, Yakaoren (Ilisi) Village Beach in Bozkurt, Public Beach in Abana, Resort Village Beach, Ginolu Beach natural protection area in Catalzeytin.
Ilgarini Cave in Pinarbasi District, Sarpunalica Cave in Kure District, Kuyluc Cave in Senpazar District are the caves that are worth seeing.
Ilgarini Cave is in Pinarbasi District. It consists of two sections. It is an active cave so stalactite and stalagmite formations are ongoing. As well, visitors can find a chapel and tombs inside the cave. By FAO Ilgarini Cave has been selected as the fourth biggest cave in the world.
Sarpunalinca Cave is situated in the Sarpunalinca Quarter in Senlik Village on the boundary of Devrekani near Kure. The cave can be reached through the Kure and Sarpunalinca forest road. It is a totally horizontal and active cave. Its length is 662m and drains water gathered from the Sarpunalinca region. In the cave, water flows through cracks and amongst the rock masses. Since the entrance of the cave is surrounded with, a grassed area camping is also possible. A field of mint is located at the source and going to draw water makes the trip even more fascinating.
Kuyluc Cave is located in Senpazar District. the cave is 3 kilometres from the Sehriban River and 4 kilometres from the Devrekani River. The entrance of the cave is wider than Turkey’s deepest point Cukurpinar sinkhole (-1190m.) at the entrance of the cave two rivers join and form “dens of mischief” and go on to flow as a single waterway. Inside the cave, there is a waterfall every 100 m and visitors can feel the wind blowing on the way to the waterfall.
In Kastamonu, there are Munay, Findikli, Siragomu, Kirazli, Baskoy Highlands in Arac district; Oluklu Highland in Dady District; Sugla Highland in Azdavay District; Beloren Highland in Kure district; Kosem, Dipsizgol, Yesil gol, Sekiler Highlands in Tosya district. These natural paradises exhibit all the shades of green.
Horseback riding on a horse farm in Daday horseback riding is a possibility. Arac highlands are very appropriate for horseback riding which is a wonderful and interesting experience.
Taskopru Koyguncu- Bagdemci, Donalar- Derekoy lines, Kure Beloren koyu- Kirazcik- Imamoglu- Alasoku- Sehiroren lines, Elekdagi- Oymaagac- Soku- Bademcambasi- Pasa- Gundogdu lines are quite appropriate areas for hunters. In Catalzeytin district and villages wild boar, hunting is popular. Moreover, for fishing Beyler Dam in Devrekani and Yumurtaci Pond in Daday are very convenient places.
An appetite is always near when visiting the mountains, rivers or highlands so the rich Kastamonu cuisine presents some wonderful tastes. Bread with meat and pastrami, Biryan Kebabi (type of Kabab), Cekma Helvasi (dessert) are the most popular culinary treats in this area. Every Sunday bread with pastrami or meat is ordered in.
Other local tastes are ana-kiz soup, ecevit soup, kulbasti, miklama, kapatma, kulbasti, miklama, kapatma, kavurma, eriste (noodles), kole hamuru, banduma, kaygana, manti, halucka, simit tiriti, misir (corn) coregi, baklava, kasik helvasi, pekmezli un helvasi, hasude.
Kastamonu weavings are treasured original souvenirs that can be purchased here including bed sheet ties, laceworks which have various motives made only by nails and cotton thread; towels and tablecloths made by a printing technique; woodcarvings, musical instruments like saz and baglama; goods made of willow trees like magazine holders, sugar boxes, bread baskets, rosaries and boxwood forks and spoons made from various types of trees. Tosya pocketknives and copperwares are available as well.
Shopping centres are commonly found in the Nasrullah Square, Belediye Street and Banka Street. It is possible to find local weaving and souvenirs in Iplikciler Bazaar.www.kastamonu.bel.tr www.kastamonu.gov.tr