Difference between revisions of "Kastamonu"
Revision as of 11:14, 10 May 2011
Kastamonu is an inland city near the Black Sea coast, in Turkey.
From 13th to 15th century, Kastamonu was the capital of Candaroğlu, a Turkic principality ruled what is now Western Karadeniz (or, as known in ancient times, Paphlagonia), which, in 1461, fell to Ottomans, which started as another small Turkic principality and took control of others one by one. Kastamonu continued to be one of the important centres of Asian Turkey, in addition to being the capital of a large province extending all the way from Istanbul's Asian suburbs to Sinop during Ottoman period.
Nowadays, with a population of 91,000 as of 2010, Kastamonu is one of the smaller mid-sized cities of Turkey.
The city lies elongatedly along the banks of a river. The southern part forms the historic core (although traditional cityscape is pierced by modern concrete constructions at parts), while the northern half of the city is built completely within the last decades. All around this linear city is sparsely-wooded higher mountains.
Direct buses to nearby locations on the Black Sea coast (e.g., Sinop) and to far away major cities of the country (e.g., Izmir) are also available, but for locations south of Ankara, you are better off taking the buses to Ankara and changing to another one for your final destination there to save time.
Kastamonu's otogar lies at the northern outskirts of the city. Buses from Istanbul cross the city from one end to another before arriving at the otogar, so it's possible to get off at the city centre without the need to get to the otogar first. If you somehow happen to find yourself at the otogar, just get to the bus stop on the road bordering the otogar, from which you can get into an urban bus to the city centre for 1.25 TL. They have about 5-min intervals and take about 15 minutes to get to the city centre.
Metro Turizm also has offices on the main street of city centre from where you can buy outbound tickets and take the free shuttle buses to either the otogar or another intercity bus stop south of the city (depending on your direction) when leaving the city.
Kastamonu lies in a somewhat remote location, off the major highways traversing the country.
The main street of the city lies along the banks of the river that bisects the city—northbound traffic following the lanes along the eastern bank, and the southbound traffic following the lanes along the western bank—which is spanned by numerous pedestrian and vehicular bridges. There is a wide array of blue public buses following the whole length of this street, costing 1.25 TL one-way pp. The neighbourhoods and narrow alleys on either side of the river has no public transportation at all; however as the distances are not very long, walking around is a feasible option.
The old town is dotted by historic half-timbered houses (although a bit weary and in need of a renovation), elegant 19th century stone buildings, numerous mosques dating back to Candaroğlu and Ottoman eras, and pleasant ancient bazaar buildings (not entirely unlike the nearby and much better known Safranbolu, although Kastamonu's old town is partially replaced by modern, ugly buildings). On the top of a rocky hill (about 200 mt higher than the city itself) to the southwest of the city is the quite well-preserved citadel (free admission as of Apr 2011), overlooking the old town and a large part of the rest of the city. The foundations of the citadel date back to Byzantines, however it was the Candaroğlu who gave it its current shape. The climb up there through the narrow uphill alleys of the old town is a bit strenuous (and takes around 20 minutes) but the view is worth the effort.
On the opposite side across the river—which is spanned by, in addition to numerous modern bridges, by an ancient stone bridge, although the both ends of its originally 3-arch span were extensively rebuilt to allow for the passage of two modern streets—around the southern end of the city is the historic governor's office backed by a pleasant clocktower dating back to Ottoman period on the top of a hill.
Horse riding in Daday, a nearby town.
Local etli ekmek is kind of a large pizza, topped by cheese and spicy bacons (pastırma), quite dissimilar to the dish known by the same name in the Central Anatolian city of Konya. You'll find numerous eateries all around the city serving etli ekmek, and along with a soup and some salad, it costs around 7-8 TL.
There are hotels along the main street of the city. However, if you happen to show up during one of the numerous-year-round ceremonies in the nearby military garrisons—which are one of the most important local livelihoods as much of local trade evolves around them—when families from all over the country visit the city to see their conscripted sons, be ready to face outrageously high rip-off rates or even unable to obtain a room.
The local telephone code is (+90) 366.