Kula Opens The Gates of The Past

Kula Opens The Gates of The Past

Aegean Region is a simple and calm area that does not contain great ambitions. Perhaps for this reason, to many of those who intend to escape from the big cities, it is the first direction to go. Kula, 147 km to Izmir and 118 km to Manisa, is a refuge for those who follow a different life.


The legacy and the future Kula is its historical houses that survived … The municipality is aware of the importance of introducing these houses. A thousand of about 2,300 houses in Kula are in use but the rest are doomed. However, nearly 20 houses have been resurrected by by restoration. The Old Hospital is restored. Ali Kutlu House and Hacı Rahmi Erdil House is also about to be ready to visit. Once the Zabunlar Mansion is now The Anemon Hotel. It is worth to visit even if you don’t stay here.


Seeing a house with photos and items collected about Kula’s life opens the mind of a person. with its wooden workmanship in the courtyard and upstairs, The Kestaneciler House is one of  the most remarkable examples of how a Kula house is like. As well as its general architecture, the house is also special with its ceilings, room doors, pores, loadings, hoods, window bars, staircases and fringe cornices. In the decorations, wood, plaster, marble and paint are used. Right across the house is there “the Hanımeli Market”, which is opened in an old house. Here, you can see the skills of the ladies in wooden paintings, tarhana, pickles and many local products and also you can buy Kula souvenirs. Beylerbeyi House is another Kula house open to visitors.


Kula houses are designed for large families, especially for women who spend a whole day at home. Each room is designed for different functions. As soon as you enter the houses, the cool stone courtyards are of great importance to the lady of the house. Many social activities are taking place here. The courtyards around the houses are surrounded by high walls that provide privacy. This is the basis of Turkish homes. Details such as the high walls as well as the cage at the street gates are indicative of this. In the Greek houses, there is not a courtyard but a garden. They have an architecture facing the outside and the street. Most of the inhabitants of the narrow streets of Kula during the day are either in tanneries or blanket factories. Today, leather is no longer a source of livelihood, but Kula blankets are still preferred. After the closure of Kula Mensucat, which had made a good name between 1934-50, its 3,000 employees had migrated from Kula with their families.


In front of the church dated from 1800s, beside the grazing sheep, the women of Kula sit and do the crochet on the order. Just across the church, there is also the Blue Papaz House, one of the most famous houses of Kula in the Mustafa Şapçı Street. As soon as you enter the street next to 1480 Kurşunlu Mosque from Saruhanids time; you arrive the house of the painter Zekeriya Bey and Nuriye Hanım in the Cami Cedit neighbourhood. It is easily understood from the front of the house that the owner of the house is a painter. Number 28 in the Zaferi neighborhood is a Greek (Rum) house from the 1860s. Naime Hanım who opened her door to the visitors and the exterior decorations of the house made it featured. However, after the owners of the house were died, there was a lock at the door and abandonment. Once tobacco and wheat were spread at the square where the crop market was set up and Çinçin turkish bath –nowadays it is transformed into a cafe- was at its corner; and you can arrive here by passing through historical artisan bazaar where the “arasta tradition” continues and especially the
roasted chickpea sellers are clustered. If you ask any person from Kula, he or she says that they made roasted chickpea as good as to compete with Çorum-roasted chickpea. Spicy, salty, clove, crunchy… In the Leblebiciler Bazaar (roasted chickpea sellers bazaar) today there are about 50 roasted chickpea workshops.


The features of Kula are not only of well-preserved Ottoman urban architecture, historical mosques and pit fountains. It would be beter not to leave before trying its meals. In the restaurants around Alançeşme, it is possible to find local flavors such as stuffed goat, water pastry, sugared pita and Kula höşmerim (a sweet made of unsalted cheese). There are two places worth seeing in the village of Emre on the Ankara-Izmir road, 12 km from Kula. At the tomb of Taptuk Emre and his family’s graves, it is also said that the grave of Yunus Emre is in. In the partially quitted village with its empty stone houses, Carullah Bin Suleyman Mosque is an unexpected beauty for the visitors. This tiny mosque dated 1547 is decorated with pencil paintings by a master named Şeyhzade Abdurrahman Efendi between 1808-1821. In particular, you should go upstairs and enjoy this little art wonder.


Kula has Turkey’s first and only European UNESCO Geopark… Kula Volcanic Geopark has got a great geological and geomorphological heritage with its fairy chimneys, karstic caves, canyons and volcanic cones. The place that the geoscientists call as ‘Kula Volcanism’ is one of Turkey’s youngest volcanic areas… The volcanic cones giving the impression that they are  extinct are the most important and the youngest formations in Turkey … Divlit Volcano is quite close to the city center. It is said that the lava of the volcano extends to 180 km. Indeed, it is possible to travel for miles along the jet black lava … This striking feature of the region has attracted attention since ancient times. The famous Amaseian historian Strabon, who passed through here 2,000 years ago, named it as “Katakekaumene” in his ‘Geographika’ that means “Burnt Country” in Greek. Strabon wrote that there were no trees here, the face of the soil was covered with ashes, and the mountainous and rocky region was as black as if it had been a fire, but the vineyards were of high quality.


Volcanic area is a highland of 600-700 m altitude. There are more than 68 young volcano cones in this area. Volcanic activity occurred in three phases. The Burgaz volcanics 1.1 million years, the volcanics of Elekçitepe 200-300 thousand years, the third and the newest Divlittepe Volcanics have been actived 12 thousand years ago. Volcanic cones, craters and lava flows, especially in Divlittepe Volcanics, are really likely originated newly. The lava flows of several kilometers in the valley are the most prominent feature of this. It is impossible to see vegetation on the black, hard and sharp formations. It is difficult to walk on the earth because of the lava from the volcanic eruption over a field of 60 km away from the crater. Divlittepe is different from the others for its the dark black color basalts are extremely fluid. Because of this fluency, the lava has created waterfalls, overflowed the valleys and even filled the indents of the valleys. The gasses accumulated in the lava flows caused fluctuations on the surface from time to time, and lava tunnels were formed under some lava pits. Thousands of years ago, primitive people lived in the natural fortresses of this formation.


The youngest formation of the Kula Volcanism is the slope of the hill where the abandoned village of Çakallar was once placed. The footprints of l0-12 thousand years, found during the studies in a slag quarry here, are worldwide known prehistoric findings. The footprints are of three people and an animal passing through and also traces of an item put on the ground. In 1969, the number of footprints determined was 200, but 10-12 of them are visible today. 60 of them moved to the Natural History Museum in Ankara Mineral Research and Exploration Institute. Some of the stolen footprints are at the Museum of Natural History in Amsterdam. It is also known that they are sometimes used as ornaments in the village houses. When you turn left on Kula-Uşak road, 18 km after Kula, you find yourself in other formations. Due to being the first phase of volcanic activities, Burgaz volcanics has a structure as that basalt is at the bottom and sandstone and tuff structure to the top. The natural structure at the top is eroded by rain and erosion and over time, fairy chimney-like formations have occurred in the valley slopes. This place is also called as Kuladoccia by likening to Cappadocia. The first stage lava flows so-called Burgaz Volcanics also formed impressive column basalts.