With rising poplar trees and minarets does Kula, the warm district that carries the old characteristics of Manisa on its back, welcome its visitors...
Being two hours away from İzmir, Kula gives its first visitors the feeling of visiting the studio of a historical movie. As you start to wander in its narrow streets and chat with friendly people, you understand the reality of this lovely district. Following that reality, the district arouses admiration with its traditional Kula houses, traditional handicrafts whose artisans decrease in number day as each day passes at Tinsmiths Bazaar and chimney rock.
Being a neighbouring province of İzmir, which is a district of Manisa, Kula’s history dates back to the year 56 B.C according to the marble embossments in old houses. Although the history is not exactly known, this region that is named Katakekaumene (burnt region) due to the volcanic formation within this region in ancient times is included in works of ancient writers called Strabon from Amasya (B.C54-A.D 24), Vitruvius (1st century B.C.), Stephanos of Byzantium (6th -7th century) and Eusthatios (12th century) with this very expression. With its foundation in the depths of history, Kula brings all traces of past to date. Just like an open-air museum...
First thing to attract your attention in Kula is wooden houses which could be seen in every place which was formerly ruled by Ottoman Empire and are called Turkish Houses. Traditional Kula houses in the district that possesses texture of Ottoman city are generally double-decked and wooden-built. The fact that the buildings remain as undisturbed typical examples in terms of architecture makes the city have the speciality of being a ‘’monumental town’’. Kula houses also provide the clue that justifies the fact that Kula is a place of residence beneath a castle. Names of towns like Demircikapı, and Seferkapı verify that Kula is a settlement inside castle-although there is no existence of a castle in the centre-where houses are dense and gathered around a core. Another typical property of Kula houses is that each Kula house absolutely has a yard and a window facing the street.
It is possible to see the traces of Ottoman and Roman times on different historical buildings. Kurşunlu, The Old Mosque, Soğukkuyu Mosque, Paşa Mosque, Hacı Recep and Necip Mosques attract attention as prayer centres and Emir Bathes for possessing traces dating back to Roman era. Emir Bathes located on the edge of Ilıca Hamam Stream (Gerençayı) in the south of Şehitlioğlu Village is a thermal treatment centre that is being used as a hot spring certified by the Ministry of Health where you can also find accommodation. It is known that the hot spring is used as a supplementary means of treatment for muscle – skeleton diseases, long-terms stillness following orthopaedic operations, general stress disorders and injuries in sports.
Those interested in photography are mostly focus on Tinsmiths Bazaar. Tradition handicrafts, many of who are on the verge of danger of extinction, such as leatherworking, coppersmith, carpet weaving and felt making survive only a few craftsmen’s workbenches. Therefore, do not forget to observe the skills of craftsmen in a trip you will make to Kula.
There many more historical and touristic places that you can turn your direction to in Kula. Tombs of Turkish poet and dervish Yunus Emre and his master Taptuk Emre, who are said to have lived in Kula in the first quarter of 14th century according to the rumour, attract local and foreign tourists’ attention.
What expects you is the chimney rocks that you will stare at in astonishment and admiration after those Kula houses that make you feel warm. Chimney rocks rise in Burgaz volcanite region in both sides of Burgaz Village and Gediz River. Chimney rocks are in an area where old precipitates constitute the lowest layer and basalts which are the products of the first explosion constitute the layer over it, which is a visual feast for eyes in terms of landscape architecture. Old precipitates existing in both sides of the valley that emerged after the explosion formed magnificent shapes due to the affects of rain water and winds. The area where the valley still continues to expand is a stamping ground especially for photographers...
How to go?
Located on Ankara – İzmir highway, Kula is 140 km away from İzmir. It is possible to go that distance in two hours by your own vehicle. It is also possible to go to Kula, which is 145 km away from İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport, by intercity buses that leave İzmir Terminal in periodic hours
What to eat?
Just like your eyes, you stomach may also have an outstanding feast in Kula. You can find many delicacies of rich Turkish cuisine in the district. Tarhana soup, keshkek (a dish made of pounded meat and wheat), yuvarlak aşı, lamb stew with new onions, lamb/kid stuffed with rice, sura (a dish made of rib bones), rice with liver, sesame pastry, squash pita, crackling pita (made with cartilage), sugary pita, stuffed bread and hosmerim (a dessert made of unsalted cheese) are first to come to mind among traditional delicacies that are surely to be tasted. Especially sugary pita and stuffed bread are two special delicacies that will not let you forget local Kula cuisine.