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Bolu has one of the most famous if not the most famous winter resort in Turkey where you can enjoy winter sports such as skiing from December till April. The main tourist attraction in Bolu is the Kartalkaya Ski Center for sure. If you want to enjoy the snow during your vacation, there is no better place than Bolu to go to.
Did you know that the best of the chefs in Turkey come from Bolu? Probably not. But that is true. Bolu does not only produce great chefs but also has amazing food. It is another reason why people love visiting Bolu. Who does not love eating delicious meals anyways?

Bolu (1)

Bolu was inhabited by the Hittites in 2000 BCE. Afterword, it was taken over by the Bithynians around 500 BCE and became an important city of the kingdom. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Bolu was known as Claudiopolis which means “the city of Claudius”, named after Emperor Claudius. When the Byzantine Empire took over the city, they named it Hadrianopolis. In 1197, the city was conquered by the Seljuk Empire. Later on, in 1325, the city was taken over by the Ottoman Empire. The name of the city changed into Boli, after the Greek word “polis” which means city.

    Bolu is usually visited during the winter months, even though it can be visited all year round, due to the Kartalkaya Ski Center in the city. If you are planning to have a winter holiday in Turkey, Bolu might be a great choice for you to put your skiing skills to the test.
    The language spoken in Bolu is Turkish as it is the official language in Turkey. Around the historical landmarks and tourist attractions, you can find people who are speaking English as well.
    There is no airport in Bolu. The city is only reachable by car or buses that travel in between cities.
    Type C
    The currency is Turkish Lira or TL.
    The time zone is GMT +03:00
Bolu is mostly visited during the winter months due to having one of the best ski centers in Turkey. Although you can travel to Bolu anytime you wish, visiting it in winter would be a better way of spending your holiday as thousands of locals and tourists prefer to do each year.
There is no way of reaching Bolu by flying or getting on a train. The only way you can reach Bolu is by bus or by your own vehicle. You can travel to Ankara Esenboğa Airport first and then take a bus to reach Bolu. The distance is 191 kilometers from Ankara to Bolu and takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes. You can also prefer to rent a car and drive to Bolu from a nearby city that has an international airport. If you love long road trips, this might be a good adventure for you.
    Abant Aden Boutique Hotel & Spa is an amazing spot to stay that offers free breakfast, sauna, free internet connection, restaurant, bar, spa, massage, laundry and ironing services. The rooms have a mountain view and are also soundproof for your comfort and privacy. The hotel is located near the Lake Abant and the visitors mostly fall in love with its beautiful view in every season. If you want to stay somewhere where you can appreciate the beauty of nature, this hotel might be the one for you.
    If you are looking for a secluded place to stay, Kartaltepe Boutique Hotel is a great option. It is surrounded by woods and located very close to Kartaltepe if you are planning to go on skiing. The hotel’s restaurant is quite famous for its delicious meals. You will see lots of animals around and taste homemade jams in this beautiful place. This hotel is the one for those who truly love being one with nature.
    Yedigöller basin covers a 16.420.000 m2 area. It was reserved as a national park in 1965. The basin is made up of seven lakes in total. The basin’s name “Yedigöller” literally translates into “seven lakes”. The Yedigölller National Park also has an area called Köyyeri where remnants of the Byzantine era structures can be found. The Yedigöller National Park is also important for researches and scientific purposes as it has many different types of plants, trees and animals some of which are endangered. The park is great for having long walks or a picnic with friends and family. You can also take amazing photos of natural beauty or go on camping for a little adventure. You can also stay in bungalows found within the national park if you wish.
    Lake Abant is one of the most famous lakes in Turkey, let alone Bolu. It is a freshwater lake and formed due to a landslide. The lake is quite large, covering a 1.23 kilometers area. Since both locals and tourists love to go on a holiday near the lake, there are two hotels located nearby. There are also guesthouses around the area for those who prefer a lot more authentic experience. Within the forest that surrounds the Lake Abant, there are many different plants, trees and animal species. Hunters also visit the place during the hunting season.
    Bolu is a rich city in terms of its thermal springs, having 30 of them in total in the districts Seben, Mudurnu, Taşkesti, Göynük and Karacasu. The Pavlu Hot Springs in Seben is known for its healing effect on rheumatism as well as dermatological conditions. You can research each of the thermal springs in the area to learn about their properties and which one would be best for your health condition if you wish to visit.
    Kartalkaya Ski Center is one of the most popular places for winter holidays and sports in Turkey. The Kartalkaya Ski Center is surrounded by pine forests and it is only 54 kilometers away from the city center. Kartalkaya Ski Center is the best for Tour Skiing as well as Alpine Style Skiing. The center is available for skiing from December until April. There are many resorts in the area where you can stay and have fun at the same time. Find the best hotel that fits your expectations and go on an amazing winter holiday.
The Bolu Museum was opened in 1981. It has many artifacts from different civilizations and empires that took over the city. There are many items form Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Hellenistic Age, Roman Era and Byzantine Era such as sculptures and coins. The archaeology section of the Bolu Museum has 1678 artifacts on display in total. The artifacts from the Ottoman Empire era are located in the ethnography section of the Bolu Museum such as weapons, clothes, religious works and tools. There are 1680 items in total in the ethnography section.
The Yıldırım Bayezid Mosque was built in 1382 as a complex by the order of the sultan Yıldırım Bayezid of the Ottoman Empire. However, the medrese and the library of the mosque did not survive to this day. The mosque was burnt down in a fire that happened in 1891 and then was rebuilt in 1899.
Akşemsettin was the mentor of the sultan Mehmet II the conqueror who took over Constantinople in 1453. After his mentor’s passing, sultan Mehmet II built this tomb to honor him in 1464. The tomb is built in a hexagonal shape, in typical Ottoman architecture. The wooden carvings in the tomb are what attracts the attention of its visitors.
Bolu Orta Hamamı is a Turkish bath that was built by the order of Yıldırım Bayezid in 1388. It is still functioning as a traditional Turkish bath along with many other Turkish baths in the area. If you are visiting Bolu in winter, bathing in a Turkish bath would be exceptionally good in cold days.
Keçi Castle literally means “goat castle” in Turkish. It was built during the era of the Bithnians. The story of this castle is rather interesting. The citizens of the city took shelter in the castle with their belongings and animals when the enemies attacked them and fought back. This prevented the enemy forces from getting into the castle however, after days of fighting, the food started to get scarce. One night the citizens stuck lit candles on the horns of the goats and let them out of the castle. Seeing this, enemies thought that a huge army was marching towards them and they ran away. So the people were saved by the goats which is how the castle earned its name.
There are many houses carved into the rocks in the Seben district of Bolu. It is believed that these rock houses were built or carved during the early Christianity era by Phrygians around 1200 BCE and used up until the middle of the Byzantine Era. These rock houses are restored and made ready for visitors to stay along with some bungalows in the area. If you want to stay somewhere authentic, there is no better option than these antique rock houses
In the Seben district of Bolu, there is a Byzantine Church that is unfortunately in ruins. It was built in the shape of a cross and built out of stones and bricks. The church is believed to be built in the mid-Byzantine era, between 842 and 1240 BCE. Even though there is not much left of the church, you can still admire what is left for us to see today.
    Abant Kebabı is a lot different from the traditional kebabs that you might know. It is made of roasted eggplants carved in the shape of a boat and filled with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and lamb meat. Lastly, grated cheese is added on top.
    Kartalkaya kebabı is also a different one. It has lamb meat, carrot, zucchini, onion and spices served on top of puff pastries.
    Yedigöller Kebabı is more like a kebab but still different. It has both lamb and cow meat. The meat is grilled and then put on top of bread slices that are wet with meat juice and then some yogurt is poured on top of it all.
    This is a rice recipe but it is completely different from all other rice recipes that you know or you have tried before. This rice recipe has walnuts, lamb meat, mushrooms, tomatoes and some dill inside. You will not believe how delicious this is!
    As each city has its own meatball recipe, Bolu has its own. The meatballs are served with sauteed potatoes and onions along with tomatoes and peppers. Compared to other meatball recipes, this one is quite filling.
    This dessert is similar to eclair in terms of the making of its dough and the cream inside but it also has “saray helvası” added in. Some chocolate is poured on top of it and served.
    Saray helvası is a type of halvah that is fit for the Ottoman palaces. There are many different versions of halvah in Turkey however, this one is the one that you definitely need to try.
How many days you will spend in Bolu is completely up to you. If you are only interested in visiting the historical landmarks and some of the tourist attractions, 3-5 days would be enough depending on your schedule. However, if you are planning a winter holiday to spend with your family or your significant other, then you can spend a week or even up to 10 days in Bolu, exploring every bit of the city and enjoying the natural beauty all at the same time.
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