Whitewashed wooden houses are a distinctive and enduring legacy of Ottoman rule. Many Turkish towns feature a smattering of such buildings, while sizeable clutches can be found as far afield as Albania and Bosnia. The houses were often masterful pieces of design, exhibiting a flair for function and a use of space that prompts some to draw comparisons with Japanese design of the time – think built-in cupboards, carved ceilings and central heating, as well as plumbing systems able to draw cooking, cleansing and waste-disposal processes from a single stream of water.
Larger Ottoman mansions would have three or more levels and over a dozen rooms. The ground floor was often used as stable-space, though thanks to ingenious design the smell would not waft through to the upper floors, which were themselves split into male (selâmlik) and female (haremlik) quarters. Other features to look out for are interior courtyards, revolving cupboards and conical safe-rooms, as well as one innovation found in many Safranbolu hotels: tiny bathrooms located inside what appears to be a cupboard.