The Timber Houses of Beypazarı

Wooden Houses of Anatolia

The Timber Houses of Beypazarı


The town is settled on uneven ground. Hıdırlık, Salihli, Üç Kızlar are the hills; İnözü and Murdancı, Kumsüren are the streams running in the north-south direction through the steep valleys. The slope decreases towards Ankara-İstanbul highway and in the west in between highway and İnözü Streem. The old section of the town is located on the steep slopes of the hills and on the banks of the two streams.

Only Beytepe district (mahalle) is located on top and on slopes of the “Beytepe” hill, which is relatively flat. The newly developed part (designed by the 1953 Master Plan) lies in the plain on east-west direction. The steep limestone hills which are unsuitable for settlement have a visual effect in townscape point of view.


A dual spatial arrangement is seen in the town, old and new parts. Old part is located in the north section of the former Ankara-İstanbul road. The new part is in between this road and the İnözü stream on the south. The town has developed in his plain area, towards west. Ankara-İstanbul highway passes through this area. Ayvaşık district (mahalle) which is situated on the slopes of Salihler hill is the interface of old and new parts of the town. This area was the part of the summer residences so there are not more than 10 traditional residences. This area recently became a new residential area with modern buildings.

Old part is formed of two sections, the town center (Çarşı) and the residential area (six districts) surrounding it. The traditional residences constitute the characteristic pattern of the residential area of this part. The town center is on a flatter terrain. Mundarcı Stream passes through the town center. This stream has been taken into a canal and the shops were built over it. There are 600 shops which are mostly single or two storeyed. The branches of this center penetrated into the ‘mahalles’ around it.

The region is protected from dominant winds by the hills on the north and therefore climate has less effect on the settlement of the residences, so the residences are situated according to the topography. Due to the multi-level topography, the resulting organic and unsymmetric settlement pattern constitutes a rich visual composition.

The sub-districts of the old section after the big fire in 1884 have developed almost in the same period so the architectural characteristics are similar and it is impossible are similar and it is impossible to distinguish individual districts from the point of architectural characteristics. But the residential areas show different characteristics in topographic condition, street pattern and overall settlement.


There are 3000 houses in the old section of the town and covers an area of 800.000 m2. All of the buildings in this part are traditional buildings. There are only a few modern buildings with different architectural characteristics. In some districts of the old section these have a higher ratio.

The traditional buildings are usually three storeyed, originally plastered with “tatlı sıva”. Most of them have different types of projections varying in number.

The ground floors are made of rubble stone, and the upper floors are of timber skeleton and filled with timber and mudbrick. The doors and the windows of the façade are almost have the same peculiarities in terms of dimension, shape. Timber and iron railings are common, but “cumba” lattices and shutters are in minority. Ornamented supports under projections are also common architectural elements of the old part of the town.

The plan of the roofs are square or rectangle, covered by Turkish tiles and zinc plates. On some of the roofs “Guşgana” is seen.

Some buildings contain most of the traditional architectural characteristics, and some have simple arrangements. It can be concluded that buildings which have most of the architectural characteristics, are the more typical examples of Beypazarı residences.

As almost all the houses are located on the side of the roads, they have no gardens and the entrances are directly from the streets. The houses with gardens, due to the topographic conditions have entrances directly from the streets or from the gardens. The garden walls are of rubble stone and are capped in Turkish tiles.

There are also residences built of cut stone with arched windows and doors, mostly three storeyed. However, these constructions are in minority and are scattered in the old part of the town.


There are two groups of traditional residences, which are constructed in different periods with different architectural characteristics.

1. Residences which constitute the main characteristics of Beypazarı Houses built before 1930.
2. Residences built after 1930,



The residences in Beypazarı can be classified from the point of layout as follows:

1. residences without gardens, 2. residences with small gardens, 3. residences with large gardens. Entrances to the buildings differ according to the layout of the residence.

a) Direct entrance from the street

This kind of entrance is seen in the residences attached together with either no gardens or with small gardens. These gardens or with small gardens. These gardens are located at the back of the residences. This is the main characteristics of hilly parts.

b) Entrance from the garden

In this type the residence is entered from the garden, which can be in front, at the side and around the residence.

Structural Systems

The structural system of these types are timber skeleton. Specially in Beytepe district most of the residences are constructed over the remains of ground floor walls of an earlier building, therefore the upper floors are carried by timber posts. The main materials in these constructions are stone, timber and mud-brick.

The ground floors are constructed of rubble stone. These stone walls are about 90-100 cm. thick. Most of these walls are not load bearing. Timber posts, 30 cm. in diameter placed 2 m. apart, support the upper floors. These posts are placed over 75 cm. high stone bases, about 40 cm. of which are buried in the ground.

The construction of the upper floors is timber skeleton which is provided by timber secondary posts placed 80-90 cm. apart framed by 15x15 cm. posts. These posts are supported by diagonal and horizontal posts. The window dimensions are related to the spacing of the secondary posts.

In the ground floor the ceiling is left bare and the girders are seen. In the upper floors the girders are covered on the top by 20, 30, 40 cm. wide and 3 cm. thick timber boarding. The ceilings are also covered by 25, 30 cm. wide timber, joints of these timbers are covered by profiled laths.

The application of infill material is due to orientation, the skeleton in north façade is filled by mud-brick. In the side walls with closets and fireplaces, the infill material is mud-brick. In the main façades skeleton is filled by timber. The interior walls are “bağdadi” The projections are formed by projecting beams. They are supported by buttresses or by posts or have no support depending to the width of the projection. Stone or mud-brick used in the construction of walls are cemented to each other by mud mortar.

The exterior surfaces of these walls are left bare, interior walls of important spaces like ‘taşlık’ are plastered by ‘tatlı sıva’. In the upper floors the walls are left bare. In some residences the timber skeleton has been constructed on the first or ground floor but not finished (window frames, doors are not placed, walls are not plastered and stuccoed). In local language these are called as “çandı”. When one or two rooms are required for the family, just one or two rooms sometimes the complete floor is worked out, and put into service.

The roof structure is of timber and covered with tiles. There is no gutter, the water runs down the roof freely. The inclination differs from 22% to 30%. In the appearance there is not much difference in the shape of new and old roofs. They either are rectangular or square depending on the plan layout.

The existence of the ‘guşgana’ has no influence on the roof type. It may be located in the middle of a hipped roof, pitched roof or a gable roof. But it has influence on the façade of the building. In the study area five types of roofs are observed as; gabled, shed, hipped, half hipped (üç omuz) and pitched. The half hipped is quite common in attached residences.

The roof of the ‘guşgana’ also may be gabled, hipped or pitched, depending on the shape and the roof on which they are placed.

Roof covering is traditional tile or zinc sheets. A rough chronological succession in this case is: Local tiles were replaced by zinc sheets then machine made tiles have taken their places. Sometimes all three materials can be seen on one roof. Zinc sheets are impractical and are inadequate elements in usage. In new constructions machine made tiles are used but the roof type is almost the same with the old buildings except ‘guşgana’. But the most earlier roof mate was “badavra”, the barks of the trees.

Façade Arrangement

The height of the buildings, the number of storeys, the placement of the entrance doors, windows, projections and roofs compose the expression of the façade.

The two winged entrance door is the main element in the ground floor. The windows are the other important elements of the façade which effect façade arrangement.

The façades are stuccoed by ’tatlı sıva’ which is off-white in colour. The roofs do not have a common form, they differ in shape and roof cover.

Due to the different projections, architectural elements different façade arrangements are obtained, but in all types of façades a symmetry is observed. It is also observed that the number of façade elements related with the disposition and/or massing of a building.

Considering these facts the buildings can be grouped as:

- Types with large number of façade elements and articulation; These types have ornamented and more elements, lattices, “cumba”, ornamented timber bars, doors, windows, consols. They are generally big in dimension, articulated and are located freely or partially free (buildings at the corner of the streets). 3 or 4 storeyed.

- Types with small number of elements and articulation; In these types the number of elements ant articulation is less. Their sizes are generally big, 2-3 storeyed and are generally attached buildings.

- Plan types;

In these types ornamented elements do not exist, window and door openings are in traditional size, 2 storeyed, smaller, generally attached buildings.

Façade Elements

- Doors

They are either double winged or single winged timber doors generally with a window or latticed, barred timber cage opening on top. This opening provides ventilation and light for the interior. The double winged doors are used always for the primary entrance which are either reached directly from the street or from the garden to the “taşlık”.

The single winged doors are usually used at secondary entrances. In some cases the “Messan” doors are placed on the façade of the building. These single doors are of sheet iron with stone jambs.

- Windows

Window openings vary in size and form depending on the structure of the wall which they are placed on.

Ground floor windows: They are pearced through about 90 cm. walls. These are 40x40, 60x60, 90x90 cm. opening with iron railings, some have glasses. Slit windows are also seen.

In the upper floors depending on the spacing of the timber construction the width of the windows vary from 70-90 cm. and they are 150-170-180 cm. in height and are shash or winged windows. The dimension of the traditional windows are 1/1.5 and in ratio. These windows started to change 50 years ago. In service areas different sized openings with lattices or iron railings are seen.

Also the number of the windows differ depending on the space they belong.

- Projections

The projections are formed by the rooms, the sofa, the eyvan or both rooms and a sofa (saw-toothed projection). They have two, three or four windows in front and one at each side. They project in one or two directions. The supports of the projections are sheated by laths and constitute an ornamentation.

Timber bands are made of 30 cm. wide, 250 cm. long and 2 cm. thick timber. A lath of 2x3 cm. is placed over the horizontal band. In the area floors are separated from each other and the edges are circulated by timber band. In all of the traditional buildings this element exists.

- Eaves

Almost every building has eaves with exposed undersides. The eaves are rearly covered with timber.

Façade Types

Number of storeys, projections and the window arrangement are the main variables of the façade type in a building. Basically the façades are of three types.

1. Plain façades
2. Projecting façades
3. Façades with “guşgana”.

The projecting façades have variations depending to the plan orders and the building lots on which the houses are constructed. Each type may have different window arrangement. To describe in detail, façade types are given in schematic drawings.


The houses were generally built for the extended families. Ground floor is allocated for service spaces, upper floors planned as living sections. Most of these sections have service areas as w.c., kitchen. In all of the residences ground floor consists of a ‘taşlık’ at which there is a basin, a fire place and a staircase, of which the first two steps are of stone and rest of wood. “Dam” (stable or woo storage) and sometimes servant accommodation are provided in two rooms (mostly seen in large houses). In most of the attached houses “messan” is connected to the “taşlık”. The floor of the “taşlık” is generally paved in irregular stone, the rest is of rammed earth. The ceiling is left exposed.

In some large residences there is a Mazzanine above the ground floor. This floor has a height of 200-250 cm. this is seen in types with inner and central hall types. The height of the residences are four or three floors. They either cover the whole storey or half the storey having an inner sofa plan type. The rooms have simple cupboards and fireplaces. In some cases the kitchen is placed on this floor and not in the upper floors.

The upper floors are for living areas, formed from rooms oriented around or at the side of the sofa çardak. Generally service spaces as kitchen and w.c. are located on these floors. These floors are much more detailed than the ground floors and mezzanine (if exists). Doors, built-in-closets, ‘sergen’ ceilings are all worked out in detail in timber figure 7. The continuation of ground floor stairs reach out to the first and second floors if there is one. Top of the staircases is closed by a cover called “mamrak” locally. Second floor usually repeats the same plan and plan elements as in the first floor. In some residences at which the first and second floors have different plans. In Beytepe street no.15 and Hacılar street no.8, the floors over ground floor have inner hall plan whereas, the floors above have central hall plan.

In residences specially with gardens there are “guşgana”. Some are designed in two rooms, one of which is used for sitting. This room consists of a ‘seki’ and ‘lambalık’. Sometimes there is a balcony in front as continuation of the floor stairs or a stair from the kitchen reach out to the “guşgana”.

Plan Types

The ground floors in the area have special plan arrangements due to their functions, which are different than the upper first or second floor (if exists). The ground floors are also altered. Therefore to determine the plan type the upper floor arrangements are taken into consideration.

The plan schemes can be grouped according to their number of rooms, services and the shape and location of the sofa.

The composition of rooms and services around or on the sides of the sofa forms the plan type.

1. Type with Outer Hall

a) The main characteristic of this type is a row of rooms with a sofa in front.
b) Other type is a row of rooms and a room at the end of the sofa, in this case room and staircase composition can be; adjacent rooms with staircase in the sofa.

In this plan type the room facing the street or garden projects out. This type also exist in sawtoothed façade types, this type can also be defined as “yarım karnıyarık”.

2. Type with Inner Hall

The main characteristic of this type is that the rooms and services are on two sides of the sofa.

a) In this case the rooms are on the two sides of the sofa, the service is either on this floor or in the ground floor. The staircase may be in the sofa or in between the rooms.
b) In this case the rooms again are at two sides of the sofa but one end of the sofa is closed by a room.
c) In this type there is “eyvan” between the rooms. The staircase may be on the sofa or between the rooms. Toilet may or may not be in this floor. This type has sawtoothed façade type.
d) In this type sofa has the appearance of a central hall, entrances of two or three rooms are chamfered. The staircase is in the sofa. This type is seen in types with mid-projection and sawtoothed projections mostly in attached residences.

3. Type with Central Hall

The characteristic of this plan type is that the sofa is encircled by rooms, services, and eyvans. Generally four rooms are placed at the corners of the corners of the sofa. Their entrances are chamfered. Between the rooms the services as kitchen, w.c. or staircase or eyvans may be located.

a) In this case the staircase is in one “eyvan” and kitchen is in between the rooms at the corner. Eyvans which are placed along the axis do not project out. The façades are plain.
b) In this type two “eyvans” are placed along the axis on the sides of the rooms and rooms and services take place in between the rooms.
c) In this type with four eyvans, in one of which the staircase is located, there are three rooms and a kitchen in the corners. Three or four rooms project out. This type is seen in types with side projections.
d) In this case, kitchen, w.c. and staircase are placed side by side in one corner of the sofa. “Selamlık” and “sekilik” are disposed along the axis of the sofa, and three rooms at the corner of the sofa. Staircase is between the kitchen and one of the rooms. This type is seen in types with mid-projection.


These types of residences are smaller in size and are two storeyed, there are few examples which are three storeyed. The main difference with the older traditional residences other than their heights are structural system, the façade treatment and plan types. In some of them traditional architectural elements are still being used. Their structural system is timber skeleton. These residences with their different characteristics are the evidences of the continuity of the traditional attitude.


These residences are mostly built on small lots and have no garden. Therefore being related to the street directly, the entrance is from the street.

Structural System

The main construction material is stone, timber and brick. The ground floors are constructed from rubble stone about 70 cm. thick, on the upper floor the structure is timber skeleton system, the infill material is brick. The walls are finished rarely with “tatlı” plaster and mostly with cement plaster and are whitewashed.

The floors are timber, the ceilings are timber or chipboard, the stairs are timber. The roofs are covered by zinc sheets or machine made tiles.

Façade Composition

The façade composition is made with large windows. One, two or three windows are placed side by side; The projections if any are seen on either the rooms or the extensions of sofa (in some residences traditional inner hall type is designed). These projections are supported by projecting beams, or carried by posts. In some residences supports are ornamented in traditional style. The entrance may be in the middle or at the side, with a single winged timber door. Some have entrance from a secondary street, so there is no door on the main façade. Most of them have plain façades.

Façade Types

In this type the façades are also classified as plain façades with projection. The projecting facades are Mid-projection, Sawtoothed Projection, single or double.

Plan Arrangement

In plan, most of the houses are designed for small families. The ones which are for large families have the traditional inner-halled plan. The residences are generally used by one family.ground floors in this case serve as “taşlık” and only a fireplace exists as an element of this space. Wood storage which is also small in size is the part of this “taşlık”. In two houses Messan is registered. The upper floors consist one or two rooms, kitchen and w.c. spaces, which are entered from a small distribution area. The buildings which are built to serve for more than one family repeats the same plan in each floor, generally have inner hall plan type, and have separate entrances opening directly to the sofa. There are living rooms and services in each storey. In smaller ones the circulation are between the rooms and services is smaller in size. The entrances to these residences may be in the same or different façades depending on their location.

Plan Elements

The rooms are small in size, their ceiling and floor are covered by timber. In residences which are of the inner-hall plan type, sofa has a circulation function. The rooms contain built-in-cupboards, “seki” and shelves which are generally simple. As mentioned before, service spaces consist of w.c., bath and kitchen and are in the same floor. In the older houses bath spaces do not exist, bathing is done in ‘gusulhane’.

Plan Types

- Inner Hall

They show the same characteristics with the classic types in the study area. These are seen in types which have plain or mid-projection façades.

- Plans with Corridor

In this type two or three rooms are located in one side of the corridor, the width of the corridor differs from 1.20 to 2.50 m. In large types kitchen is located at the end of the corridor. Mostly the narrow side of the residence is located on the street.

- Plans with an Entrance Hall

In this type the main characteristic is that a small entrance area is surrounded at three sides by two or three sides by two or three rooms, w.c., and the staircase. In the case with two rooms, kitchen is in the upper floor. Rooms face the street. This is seen in types with simple or double sawtooth projection and in one example with plain façade.

Doç. Dr. Işık AKSULU
G.Ü.E.A.F.Department of Architecture