A Day in Carrot Town – Beypazarı
A couple of weeks ago the Istanbul Olmsted Scholar and his family came through Ankara. I’d love to say it was just to see me, but they were just on a road trip through Central Anatolia, and planned on swinging through Ankara to pick up some American items at the commissary: bacon and beer! If our locations were switched, I would probably be visiting them on a monthly basis!
Because of National Children’s Day, we all forgot during the email planning that the base facilities would be closed, and they had to decide whether a bacon run merited hanging around in Ankara, which they had already seen, for another day. Of course they chose bacon, as most Americans deprived of their favorite food candy would, and we decided to make it worthwhile by visiting Beypazarı, a town renowned for its old Ottoman houses and carrots.
Depending on who’s driving, Beypazarı is about an hour and a half from Ankara, all on good roads. There’s plenty of parking in the town, and the parking attendants are super-friendly, like most places in Turkey. We started walking one way, and an old lady rushed out of her booth to point us to a stairway leading directly onto the main street, saving us several hills.
As soon as we entered the main shopping areas, we were offered samples of the town’s specialities, carrot everything and yaprak sarma, or stuffed grape leaves. I liked Beypazarı’s version because they were a little spicier than normal. I also really likes the carrot juice, which was made when ordered and was pleasantly light, frothy and fresh. The havuç lokumu, or carrot Turkish delight, however, wasn’t so pleasing – it was just a nondescript sweet flavor with an orange hue. I think there were enough yaprak sarma shops offering samples to passersby that if you were feeling cheap, you could eat a meal’s worth without every opening your wallet! This place would have been heaven to me during my backpacker days.
Our first goal was to see the town museum, so we kept following the signs that led to a müze of some sort. Each sign had a different name, such as Beypazarı town museum, city museum, art and culture museum, etc. I’m still not sure if there are multiple museums here or just a lot of creative signage. I would characterize the museum that we saw as a city museum. Each room traced the history of the town through the civilizations. My favorite piece was these shoes, which look amazing but seem even more impractical than 4 inch stilettos:
Next best part was the view of the town from the top of the hill.
On the way back down to the town, we walked through my favorite part of any town, the textile sales. When we asked one guy where the bathrobes and peshemels (Turkish bath towels) he sold were made, he brought us inside and showed us the loom – talk about local!
The tables are mostly outside, either in the sun or under a pergola for shade. We ordered the yeresel (local) menu, where for 20 TL you get a drink, salad, soup, more yaprak sarma than you can eat, güveç (local casserole) and baklava. Everything was delicious, except the baklava, which was good but nothing like the perfection we had all tasted in Gaziantep.
Here are some more pics of the shopping available:
And some random street scenes from the town: