Where to Visit in Kastamonu

Kastamonu is the capital district of the Kastamonu Province, Turkey. According to the 2000 census, population of the district is 102,059 of which 64,606 live in the urban center of Kastamonu. (Population of the urban center in 2010 is 91,012.) The district covers an area of 1,834 km2 (708 sq mi), and the town lies at an elevation of 904 m (2,966 ft). It is located to the south of the province.

The city is believed to have been founded in the 18th century BC. The town was known as Timonion during the Roman period.

The change of name of the town dates to the tenth century AD. Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, a prominent general and the father of the Byzantine emperor Isaac I Komnenos, was given lands around Kastamonu by Emperor Basil II and built a fortress there named Kastra Komnenon (Κάστρα Κομνηνῶν). Manuel came to the notice of Basil II because of his defence, in 978, of Nicaea against the rebel Bardas Skleros. The name Kastra Komnenon was shortened to Kastamone, and later Turkified to Kastamoni and Kastamonu.

Ibn Battuta visited the city, noting it as “one of the largest and finest cities, where commodities are abundant and prices low.” He stayed here forty days.

The famous Sufi saint of the city is Şeyh Shaban Veli (Şaban-ı Veli in Turkish, d. 976 AH/1569 AD). The Dress Code Revolution of Kemal Atatürk started on August 23, 1925, at Kastamonu. Atatürk made his historical speech concerning the “Hat and Dress Revolution” during his visit to Kastamonu in 1925 in the Republican People’s Party building. The building is now used as the Archeological Museum of Kastamonu. The possessions used by Atatürk in his Kastamonu visit are also exhibited in the museum.

Typical country fare in Kastamonu includes a quick rose jam made with sugared water, citric acid and gül mayası – the latter is a preparation of culinary-grade rose petals with sugar and citric acid that preserves them and brings out their flavor and fragrance. Homemade hot sauce is made by simmering grated tomato, garlic, Turkish red pepper, hot peppers, sunflower oil, salt and pepper on the stove. Sweet katmer is made by preparing a simple unleavened dough of flour, salt and water that is smeared with a tahini and sunflower oil mixture as it is folded.

Breakfast might include farm made cheese, olives, pekmez, fried potatoes, rose jam homemade hot sauce, eggs served hot in the pan (called sahanda yumurta), folded unleavened bread called katmer, fresh farm milk and black tea.

A speciality of Taşköprü, Kastamonu is freshly slaughtered whole lamb slow-cooked over the glowing embers of wood in a sealed, airtight “well” — this regional specialty is called kuyu kebabı in Turkish. A little water added to a tray ensures that steam keeps the meat moist throughout the cooking process. In the early 20th century, nickel was mined in the area around Kastamonu.

Kastamonu has a humid continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, with a noticeable increase during spring.

The main bus station has bus links to most major Turkish cities. Kastamonu Airport is active. Kastamonu is also the main railroad endpoint for the West Black Sea region.

The province is mostly covered with forests, thanks to the mild Black Sea climate. Ilgaz National Park, where a micro-climate dominates due to the mountainous terrain and numerous streams, is 63 km south of the province center of Kastamonu. There is also a ski center with accommodation facilities located near the park.

Ilgaz Mountain (highest peak 2587 m) dominates the south of the province where hiking and whitewater rafting is possible at the Ilgaz Stream. The Ilgarini cave at Cide, the Alinca cave at Küre and the International Equestrian Tourism Center of  Daday are other notable attractions.

A 12th-century Byzantine castle, the 13th-century Atabey Mosque and the Ibni Neccar Mosque also located in the province The Mahmut Bey Mosque, located in the village of Kasaba is known for its elegant wood carvings.

Gideros Bay, 13 km to Cide, is a holiday resort with pensions and fish restaurants. The ruins of the Roman city-state  Pompeiopolis are found near Taşköprü. Taşköprü is a district of Kastamonu province. The Taşköprü district takes its name from the 68-meter-long Stone Bridge, which is estimated to have been built in pre-Roman times on Gökırmak and is still in use.

Kastamonu also has many mansions, which are traditionally built with an architectural style unique to this region. Many of these mansions have been restored following a 2000 declaration by the local government to preserve the historical texture.

Handcrafts are abundant in Kastamonu, especially in rural areas. Most available are hand-woven textiles. Several national and local annual festivities also take place in the province. In a research conducted in the province, 812 different food are identified that are specific to the region. The provincial soccer team Kastamonuspor competes in the Bank Asya 1st League (1st National Soccer League). The founder of the Turkish republic, Atatürk had declared the “dress code reform”, which abolished the fez, in Kastamonu in 1925.

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