The 25th anniversary of Safranbolu’s inscribing on World Heritage List of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the world-famous town of Karabük with its cultural houses, was celebrated on 17 December 2019 with a variety of events.
The program organized in Safranbolu named “Quarter Century with UNESCO” was attended by Mayor of Safranbolu Elif Köse, Governor of Safranbolu Fatih Ürkmezer, Secretary General of Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) Fahri Solak, Mayor of Selçuk Filiz Ceritoğlu Sengel, former mayors of Safranbolu, UNESCO Turkey National Commission Specialist Şule Ürün and many guests.
Mayor of Safranbolu Elif Köse, in her speech, expressed that they are very glad to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the inscription of Safranbolu with UNESCO. Köse also stated that “I am very proud that anniversaries of 20th year of International Golden Saffron Documentary Film Festival and 25th year of Safranbolu’s inscribing on UNESCO World Heritage List were coincided in my mayoral term. We are very thankful to our people to give us this opportunity to govern this city and I would like to express that we are fully aware of our responsibilities and very proud to be here to address you today”.
Governor of Safranbolu Ürkmezer, in his speech, posited that he felt lucky to be served in Safranbolu in 25th years of World Heritage anniversary of Safranbolu. Ürkmezer also acknowledged that “The process with UNESCO has been started in 1970s and Safranbolu was inscribed on World Heritage in 1994 which was very beneficial for the city’s recognition. When we are taking the works have been done in last 25 years into the account, it can be said that Safranbolu’s inscribing on UNESCO was a very right decision.”
Secretary General of Union of Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) Fahri Solak asserted that Safranbolu is a city with its unique cultural texture and original urban and architectural characteristics. He also added that there are many cities were inscribed on World Heritage in Turkey. Solak continued his speech that “However there are very few cities under full protection of UNESCO; for example Ohrid city of Macedonia also has this statue. Both cities are the member cities of our Union and they are the sister cities; this is a proud for us. Safranbolu is a value for touristic aspect and it is an example for preservation of urban characteristic and maintenance of cultural heritage, as well as representing our country as a model in foreign countries and presenting its model to the foreign delegations. We, as Union of Turkish World Municipalities, have a chance to observe this in our works. There are many ideas when Turkey is come to the mind from the perspectives of the foreigners. Some think about sea and sun of Turkey’s beautiful beaches while some think about the culture of our country. Thus, Safranbolu is one of the prominent cities with its original city culture which tourists want to see and experience it”. In addition, Solak informed the participants about TDBB’s ongoing works and activities.
UNESCO Turkey National Commission Specialist Şule Ürün underlined that the main target of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded in 1945 is to contribute people’s welfare with the help of science, culture, education, natural sciences, social and humanitarian sciences, information and communication in people’s minds which was also the organization’s idea of establishment.
After the speeches, many panels and interviews have been held named “Cultural Heritage and Example of Safranbolu on Preservation of Cultural”, “Reputation of Cities and Impact of Living Standards on Society” and “Safranbolu: the city of Living Museum”.
Within the framework of the program, a concert was held by Polyphonic Choir of the Department of Music of the Faculty of Fine Arts on the same day evening.
There has been protection activities to restore many cultural houses and palaces which are the symbols of Ottoman’s urban culture in Safranbolu where has many titles such as “the capital of the heritage”, “Ottoman’s Signature”, “Best preserved one of twenty cities” and “Open Air Museum”.
Safranbolu was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage on 17 December 1994 with the first footsteps of protection idea arose in 1970s which started with the attempts of Culture and Tourism Ministry and local governments of Safranbolu. Moreover, Safranbolu, in these 25 years, has been renewed itself and hosted more than one million tourists each year. Within the renovation process of the city, half of 1400 historical buildings in Safranbolu has been restored and started to be used for touristic purposes.
Safranbolu, with its successful position in protection of cultural and architectural characteristics of the city, is the one and only example in Turkey in terms of its city level protection statue in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.