17 February 2021
Safranbolu, one of the best examples of traditional Ottoman neighborhood culture with the title of Ottoman fingerprint, continues to keep a 360-year-old culture alive with the “Yemenciler Arastası”. Established for the footwear needs of the army, Yemeniciler Arastası has become the center of traditional handicrafts.
In the Safranbolu district of Karabük, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is among the “20 best preserved cities”, the 360-year-old ‘Yemenciler Arastası’, consisting of 48 shops, continues to function despite the intervening years. Founded adjacent to the Köprülü Mehmet Pasha Mosque in 1661, the Yemeniciler Arastası (Yemeniciler Market) continues to witness history. Among its 360 years of history consisting of 48 wooden shops, edemaking was seen as an important craft branch until the end of the 1950s.
In the Ottoman tradition, the obligatory expenses of the mosque, which was established next to a religious building, were covered by the income here. The Yemenici Arasta, which became the center of traditional handicrafts and continued its service culture, met the shoes need of the army within the bounds of possibility during the War of Independence.
Researcher Author Aytekin Aytekin said in his statement that Safranbolu is a very special example of life lessons, in terms of the functionality of life and carrying it to the future. Giving information about the Yemenici Arasta, Aytekin said, “These are definitely located next to a religious building in the Ottoman tradition. The obligatory expenses of the mosque, which we call that religious building, are covered by a part of the income between these. Cennetmekan Köprülü Mehmet Pasha was on duty in Safranbolu for a while. Between the mosque courtyard, fountain, timing room, library and a settlement built in 1661, it is a bazaar where the products produced in Safranbolu’s tannery are turned into shoes. This Arasta, next to Köprülü Mehmet Pasha Mosque, is about the Yemeni people. There is the Demirciler Bazaar next to the mosque built by İzzet Mehmet Pasha, who was the grand vizier in Safranbolu 100 years later. In every street of Safranbolu, shopkeepers suitable for that street work collectively, ”he said.
Stating that Arastan has an important position in terms of performing apprenticeship and journeymanship ceremonies, Aytekin said, “This is an old-time witness, gives a special taste to his traditional life with his plan. The guild is a special place where the market conditions where professional rules are set and the acceptance of tradesmen, that is, journeyman apprenticeship ceremonies, are held. The prayer square where we are right now is the place where the man who is the manager of the tradesmen here, called yigitbasi, swears and prayed to the tradesmen here. After working for 4 years, he switches from apprentice to journeyman. In this coffee, his prayer is made. He then becomes a master. After becoming a master, there is a shooting ceremony, ”he said.
Aytekin stated that the Yemenici Arastası was expropriated by the former Minister of Culture Ahmet Taner Kışlalı and became the center of traditional handicrafts while it was abandoned and said: “With Safranbolu’s recognition in the World Heritage List, this place was functionalized according to the new life. Now here is the traditional handicraft marketing and production point. In every shop we have masters who reflect their skills. In the spirit of Arastan, the culture of service is displayed in unity and solidarity. Today we see the very functional position of an old time witness. “