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ŞİMŞİRLİ

Treasure of İkizdere Valley                          Population: 1,000 (summer), 50 (winter)

im1Sometimes the most amazing treasures are found in the most out of the way locations and that's certainly true of the jaw-droppingly beautiful little wooden mosque in Şimşirli. 

Almost entirely carved out of chestnut wood, it was built so high up on the slopes above the road running from İyidere to İkizdere that you would never stumble upon it by chance. Indeed, if you were to try to walk up to it you might well expire on the way. 

Externally the mosque gives little away with its unprepossessing modern minaret but then you see the carvings around the doorway (including the date of its creation - 1849 - in Arabic over the door) and you realise that this is something special.

Designed by a carpenter from Rize called Ahmed who died in the village a year after he completed his work, the mosque is all of a beautiful piece with the mihrab, mimber and gallery all carved with exquisite attention to detail. On the mimber look out in particular for carvings of the Seal of Solomon, better known, perhaps, as the Star of David.

Some time ago a thief made off with the original door. How he/she made their getaway is a mystery!

It goes without saying that the views from the steps leading down to the mosque are magnificent. Houses are set at death-defying angles and the slopes are carpeted with tea and a few experimenntally grown blueberries. im2

Back by the road you'll find the Maden Suyu Et Yeri waiting to revive you with tea or a plate of köfte.

Transport info

From Rize, take a minibus to İkizdere and get out at Şimşirli, two km past Güneyce. Without a car you will need to ask around for a lift up the slope.

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