Turkey’s a fascinating mixture of East and West – and its architecture is testimony to that. You can find anything from modern, European-style villas to intricately detailed Ottoman townhouses. We explore the main types of Turkish houses.
You’ll notice as you travel across Turkey that there are distinctive styles of architecture between different regions. Turkey’s climate is surprisingly varied and this means the materials available have historically been very different. Further north and on the Black Sea coast, many houses are built of wood. In Central Anatolia, you’ll find homes made of sun-dried brick. Head west and south and you’ll find stone construction.
What are the best types of Turkish houses?
We take a brief tour through the best types of Turkish houses, whether you’re looking for a historic property or swish villa with all mod cons.
Typical Ottoman houses are some of the most historic types of Turkish houses.
Traditional Ottoman types of Turkish houses don’t often come up for sale outside of Istanbul, but you’ll certainly see them around historic towns like Safranbolu. They’re generally two or three storeys tall, with stone-and-wood constructions. The richer their original occupants, the more intricate they will be. Especially in Istanbul, you’ll find deeply complex carvings across each exterior wall, while in the countryside, a whitewashed exterior’s more common.
The upper windows are generally overhanging, with bars and grills. These are where the women of the house would be able to observe the street without anyone seeing them.
This is one of the most exclusive types of Turkish homes.
A yalı is a seaside mansion, normally also dating back to the Ottoman period. They’re among the most exclusive types of Turkish houses and prices run high. They’re often extremely spacious, surrounded by gardens and with intricate woodwork detailing along the gables.
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Normally, the central hall of the house will have a domed roof and there will be a row of bay windows. These help fill the house with cooling breezes from off the sea – many were originally built as summer residences.
Wooden Houses (Ahşap Evler)
Wooden houses, like these in the Ayder Plateau, are one of the typical types of Turkish houses in the Black Sea region.
These wooden houses are especially common in the Black Sea region. The traditional style would be a simple, detached home of two storeys. Today, you can find plenty of more modern styles, with large windows and lots of light.
This is a more familiar of the types of Turkish houses, similar to what you’d find in Greece or Italy.
These dot the coast along the Mediterranean and Aegean shoreline. The style is quite international – not dissimilar to what you might find in Greece or Italy. Stone constructions dominate, with outdoor spaces like balconies to enjoy the weather and fantastic views in these hilly regions.
Generally, these are more modern constructions and, as such, have most mod cons. You can easily find ones with swimming pools and private gardens.
Many of this type of Turkish houses are triplexes, meaning they’re divided into three self-contained residences. This is somewhat like a semi-detached house, except with an extra division. Sometimes, you get older houses that people have converted to single homes, giving a symmetrical layout with two staircases.
Apartments are one of the best types of Turkish houses for someone looking for a low-maintenance holiday home.
Perhaps the most common of all types of Turkish houses in cities, apartments are great if you want a turn-key property. No outdoor space (apart from balconies) means less maintenance. In other words, you can come and go as you please!
Apartment buildings in cities will often have shops or other commercial premises on the ground floor. The exception to this is high-end developments. You can find a range of styles, from grand early-20th-century edifices through to smaller, modern ones with large balcony spaces.
Is now a good time to buy?
Over the course of the past 10 years Turkey has become a place where more and more foreigners are choosing to purchase property. Initially the rush to buy here was due to the incredibly cheap prices compared to most European. There are still many good offers to be found and of course the weather and lifestyle here is a big attraction also.