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The hidden treasure of Northern Turkey

The hidden treasure of Northern Turkey

Seben, a district in the northwestern province of Bolu, is awaiting to be discovered by lovers of nature and history as well as investors as it is home to both to natural and historic beauties, which have so far gone unnoticed by many.

The district, which is only three hours away from İstanbul, has a population of 6,000 people. It is located near Köroğlu and Aladağ mountains.

There is a man-made lake in the city, called Seben Lake, completed in 2010, filled with melting runoff snow from the mountains. In addition to its lake, Seben has plateaus, historic caves and hot springs that make it an undiscovered heaven for alternative tourism.

Seben district governor Alper Balcı said the city’s 14 plateaus and lake await tourists and investors.

“We opened an almost 24-kilometer-long road around the lake. We expect guests to come to our city from İstanbul and Ankara for scout camps, mountain biking, trekking and weekend excursions,” he told Sunday’s Zaman.

“We are trying to introduce the beauties of our city to Turkey and the world. We are calling on investors who have experience in mountain, plateau and winter tourism to discover the beauties of Seben,” said Balcı.

There are also dozens of natural water resources in Seben; most of the city is covered with forests.

Just next to Seben Lake is Aladağlar Scouting Camp. Officials from the Scouting Federation said they offer training in canoeing and rowing on the lake.

One of the undiscovered assets of Seben is its cave houses whose history date back 1,000 years ago. The cave houses are three kilometers away from the city center, next to the village of Solaklar. They are four-storey structures that were constructed in soft caves. These caves, some of which are over 3,000 years old, dominate the valley.

Other cave houses near the villages of Muslar, Çeltikder and Yuva were constructed by Phrygians against enemy attacks. The scriptures on the walls which are in Greek and signs of the cross show that the caves were used during Roma and Byzantine periods.

District governor Balcı said some European tourists have paid visits to see historical sites, but most Turkish tourists are unaware of the existence of the historical assets of Seben.

He said pathway and steel staircase projects to facilitate access to the cave houses have been completed.

The city was a residential area during the era of the Hittites due to its agricultural fertility and abundance of rivers. Historical records also suggest that the Phrygians, who settled in Anatolia after they passed the Dardanelles and the Bosporus are among the first inhabitants of this region.

The cave houses, which are known as “non-Muslims’ homes” among the public, were built during the era of the Phrygians. The region was inhabited by Romans and then Byzantines after the Phrygians.

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