Safranbolu – Tourism versus Conservation*

Dr.Nuray TÜRKER, Tourism Manager & İbrahim Canbulat, Architect ABSTRACT Safranbolu can be described as a GemCity, which developed her crystallized beauty in long lasted negligence. With her more than 1200 registered historic monuments, she ranks in third position afterIstanbulandBursa. Starting with the extensive academic surveys and researches in 60s as well as early 70s, Safranbolu became a model for historic city conservation inTurkey. Having been in cluded in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, in 1995 highlighted its name in intellectual spheres. Being acquainted with tourism started in 90s by the initiations of TTOK and opening of very first touristic hotel after the restoration of one of the largest mansions in Safranbolu. Although towns like Beypazarı, Mudurnu, Taraklı, etc. this time. In this paper, we will discuss the passed 15 years of Safranbolu in cultural tourism parallel to the developments of conservation practice. There are about 40 historic mansions which were restored as hotels, almost all historic market turned to souvenir shop$. in addition, cityscape has been face lifted to satisfy the expectations of tourists. The de­velopment of cultural tourism and interaction with conservation will be discussed within the frame work of ICOMOS – International Cultural Tourism Charter. Key words: Cultural tourism, historic city, conservation. INTRODUCTION Due to the positive economic impart on economies, the movements have sup­ported tourism that has created a boom in the sector especially after the Second World War, and eventually affected all social, natural, cultural and physical systems, negatively and positively in all extends. In short, while tourism affects economies of a region positively, affects all other systems negatively or posi tively and time to time on both opposite directions. Of course, tourism increases the income of the population in region, creates a good atmosphere for social and cultural interaction of the different societies and all these create bet ter understanding in different nations and support friendship and peace. Whereby, all these affect historical, natural and cultural values as well as tradi tions and beliefs of the society, negatively according to some actors. This mul tidirectional effect of tourism on human and natural values attracts the interest of multidisciplinary researchers as well as politicians and executives. For ex ample, local executives are interested in criminal site of the interaction of locals and guests; politicians are interested in cost and benefit of tourism and finally, academic corps surveys the behavior of locals by placing those relations into interdisciplinary canvas. (Hernandez et al. 1996:755) CULTURAL TOURISM Development of cultural tourism is the fastest of alL. it is stated that has been grooving in number by as much as 15% per annum in the last decade and very likely that will keep the same pace. European Commission discovered that 20% of tourists visitsEuropewere made for cultural purposes. Furthermore, culture was a main component of travel for 60% of the visitors. (WTO 2001: 4-5) Cul tural tourism and heritage are closely interdependent. While speaking about the tourism versus values of the host community, we should underline the similarity between cultural tourism versus heritage sites and monuments. In this paper, we will discuss the effects of cultural tourism-on Safranbolu, which is World Cultural heritage mainly on tangible values but we should show it affected intangible values, as well, knowing that getting in touch with the host community is an integral part of cultural tourism. Whereby, we should mention about an important NGO, which is ICOMOS to highlight its very valuable charters on the use of tangible cultural heritages within the context of different parameters. Cultural tourism is one those which is in strong interaction with the heritage sites and monuments. Please refer to ICOMOS “Charter of Cultural Tourism” which is made in 1994 and “Eighth Draft, for Adoption by ICOMOS at the 12tnGeneral Assembly,Mexico, October 1999”. We like to quote the following from the Eighth Draft as follows:

  • Principle 1 – Since domestic and international tourism is among the foremost vehicles for cultural exchange, conservation should provide responsible and well managed opportunities for members of the host community and visitors to experience and understand that commu nity’s heritage and culture at first hand.
  • Principle 2 – The relationship between Heritage Places and Tourism is dynamic and may involve conflicting values. it should be managed in a sustainable way for present and future generations.
  • Principle 3 – Conservation and Tourism Planning for Heritage Places should ensure that the Visitor Experience would be worthwhile, satisfy ing and enjoyable.
  • Principle 4 – Host communities and indigenous peoples should be involved in planning for conservation and tourism.
  • Principle 5 – Tourism and conservation activities should benefit the host community.
  • Principle 6 – Tourism promotion programs should protect and en hance Natural and Cultural Heritage characteristics.

SAFRANBOLU AS A GEM CITY By her around 1200 registered historic monuments, Safranbolu ranks third afterIstanbulandBursawhile second percentagewise (2%) afterIstanbul, only. Los ing all of her economic functions like transportation services, industry and agriculture, Safranbolu turned to an abandoned settlement from 1920s until 1970s. Due to many reasons, it was almost fossilized until its being rediscover.

Number of Tourists

Average 16% of the stays are by foreigners. The Office of Tourism of Safran bolu estimates that excursionists as almost four times of the lodgings. There fore, as a rough estimate Safranbolu will attract around 700 000 tourists in 2008.

Number of Hotel Beds

Between 1999 and 2007, while the number of hotel beds is increased 3.15 times, the number of tourist lodging is increased only 2.56 times. This of course puts the hotels under the pressure of tougher competition. From the same fig ures, we find the occupancy rate of hotel beds in Safranbolu in 2007 as 19%, which is very low in all respects.

Monthly Distribution of Tourists

If we look at the distribution of beds into various categories, we see that 4 city hotels with 2-3 stars have total 371 beds, either Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Municipality licensed renovated historic 55 mansions have total 1280 beds which we will refer later on and 26 family operated guest houses have total 335 beds, presently (Source: District Movement of Safranbolu). In Exhibit 3, we show the distribution of lodgings along the months as average of recent four years. The irregularities in the distribution of the lodgings of local tourists are caused by the opening and closing of schools as well as religious holidays. CONSERVATION OF SAFRANBOLU Safranbolu has a unique difference than almost all of the UNESCO World Heri tage Sites inTurkey. ExceptIstanbul, all others are mostly natural or cultural sites and monuments where there is no social life exists. This is the advantage of Safranbolu where you can experience the daily life, the traditions as well ass the intangible heritage of the host community. On the other hand, this creates a real burden into the restoration process. Any restoration project has to consider human values like its social life and culture. On the other hand, Safranbolu is unique with her completely preserved physical values like, streets with walls and pavements, shops, tanneries, baths, houses with gardens, etc. In short, not only individual built also complete cityscape has been inherited. All these had been the reasons for the selection as World Heritage by UNESCO. Not only the governing body and executives of Safranbolu but also the tourism actors should care these delicate characteristics. The main aim of this paper is to high light the interaction of tourism and cultural heritage by discussing the devel opment of tourism in Safranbolu. The inventory of the historic buildings was published in Official Gazette in 1987 and the legislative frame has been put into force after the decree of theMunicipalityofSafranboluwas made in 1975. The very first project was real­ized as the façade and roof restoration in two streets and Yemeniciler Arastası of Safranbolu by the finance of the Ministry of Culture in 1994. As we stated above, TTOK had put Havuzlu Asmazlar Mansion in service as a hotel with a restaurant in same years. In the last 10 years, the restoration of almost all public and religious building have been completed and presented to the service. Par allel to the activities of the governmental organizations, many private investors bought important amount of historic mansions and renovated the m for touris tic use. The number of mansions, which are in service, is 55 with a lodging ca pacity of 1280 beds as of 2008. Unfortunately, the development of tourism has brought some bad effects on restoration when only the market parameters were uncontrollably effective. Only with a simple calculation, we can find out that the average number of beds in restored mansions is around 23. We know from the district registrations that the average number of family was 5 – 6 until 20th Century. This indicates mass tourism and its severe effects on historic monuments. We can not only blame on the hosts but also on the travel agents or tourism related commercial understanding, you should refer to the photos of Beypazarı where the lost wooden parts of old mansions have been imitated by brown paints on white plasters. Commercialization of tourism had also affected the central business district of historic Safranbolu, once it was all related to the processing of leather goods made by the famous tanneries of Safranbolu. There are only one or two sam ples left after all turned to souvenir shops where simple products which are made either inChina or India. All the characteristics of the business district have been lost and unfortunately, no valuable solution has been put into. Türker’s another survey was on host communities perceptions related to tourism and tourists (Türker, 2006). From this survey, we know that the host community is disturbed of higher living expenses and real estate prices. This is a serious trouble for the historic district of Safranbolu. Present1y, about 5 – 6 000 people live in the historic houses of Safranbolu. This create a very genuine social life in the historic district. Unfortunately, tourism brings not only posi tive impacts but also negative effects on the host community. if these problems will not be sol ve d, the host community will most probably leave its place either to higher income groups or to commercial function in which hotels and other tourism related services will be majority. Eventually, the historic district will lose its authentic social characteristics and may turn to a theater’s stage. CONCLUSION Presently, UNESCO Turkey National Committee is working on the Manage­ment of Heritage Sites, which need to have been composed of multidisciplinary and unbound members to optimize the objectives of various actors seeking the values of human being. Any piecemeal approach to the solution of problems will only harm the historic sites. Even accepting that tourism injects valuable sources for the conservation and restoration, the tourism activities should be orchestrated by a special managerial committee in historic sites.

totally agree almost disagree No answer Total
n % n % n % n % n %
Increase in noise and in the 47 15 101 32 122 38 47 15 317 100
population of the city
Corruption in family relations 36 11 68 22 169 53 44 14 317 100
Increase in employment 138 44 119 38 27 8 33 10 317 100
Increase in good manners 74 23 138 44 64 20 41 13 317 100
Corruption in morality 31 10 109 34 136 43 41 13 317 100
Corruption in tradition and 31 10 99 31 138 44 49 15 317 100
Increase in infrastructure 77 24 141 45 53 17 46 14 317 100
Commercialism in handicrafts 159 50 96 30 25 8 37 12 317 100
Cultural conflicts between the
local people and visitors due to 38 12 113 36 116 37 50 15 317 100
the disrespectful behaviors of
Spoilage of cultural heritage 28 9 46 15 191 60 52 16 317 100
related to touristic activities
Pollution in natural resources 27 9 83 26 152 48 55 17 317 100
Inadequacy of public utility 41 13 62 20 170 54 43 13 317 100
Increase in crime in the city 22 7 68 22 172 54 55 17 317 100
Increase in social activities 126 40 107 34 27 8 57 18 317 100
Increase in investment 118 37 119 37 37 12 43 14 317 100
Increase in traffic jam 57 18 113 35 94 30 53 17 317 100
Increase in cast of living 133 42 106 34 33 10 45 14 317 100
Increase in the cast of land and 168 53 83 26 29 9 37 12 317 100
real estates
People became more materialist 165 52 88 28 24 8 40 12 317 100

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