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The Annual Carrot Festival Beypazari, Turkey

The Carrot and Stew Festival is often held every first weekend of June. The full name of festival is Beypazarı Havuç, Güveç (Traditional Dish ), Handcraft and Traditional Houses. The area surrounding Beypazarı produces 70 percent of the carrot needs for Turkey.

The Carrot Museum attempted the first visit the Festival in June 2011. Despite confirmation in advance from the Turkish Tourism Ministry and local checking, upon arrival the Festival had been cancelled due to Turkish national elections.

I would not recommend you try and visit this event unless you have a cast iron guarantee of the date! 

In 2015 there appears to be a separate Carrot event in September and the traditional Carrot and Stew Festival was in June.  2015 visit to the latter, and photos here.

Beypazarı is well worth a visit if you like traditional Turkish architecture and culture. Beypazarı is a town and district of Ankara Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey about 100 kilometers west of the city of Ankara.

The name Beypazarı means the Bey's market in Turkish because in the Ottoman period this was an important military base and the cavalry stationed here were an important element of the local economy. Beypazarı today is a small town in a rural district famous for producing nearly 60% of Turkey's carrots, silverwork (Telkari), and a high quality natural mineral water. The crystal mineral trona, a kind of natural soda used in glass-making is also extracted in Beypazarı.

With its rich history, architectural heritage and attractive rocky countryside Beypazarı is becoming increasingly attractive to visitors, especially day-trippers from Ankara. The cobbled streets of white Ottoman period buildings are particularly attractive and many of the old houses have been restored as hotels and restaurants. These have become popular with Turkish film directors looking for authentic locations. Every June the town holds its popular Traditional Historical Houses, Handicrafts, Carrot and Stew Festival. These visitors bring valuable income to the town by shopping for silverware and providing good customers for the cafes and restaurants. 

Now, I ask, why oh why don't they organise it properly???

It was not a totally wasted trip, as Ankara, the Turkish Capital and close by, has lots of interesting history to explore.  On "ordinary" days Beypazari is a normal market town selling local wares and a few vestiges of a carrot heritage.  Here are some photos of what might have been.

Juice seller

Carrot Turkish Delight

More juice

Carrot Statue in Beypazari

Black Carrot Juice - Salgam Local Black Carrot Seeds

In June 2015 the Carrot and Stew Festival was held over a 3 day period - 12-14 June.  The main street is lined with carrot emblems and contains a market selling the usual market goods, not a real carrot in sight. Further up the street towards the old town there are carroty traders selling freshly squeezed juice, carrot halve, carrot flavour Turkish delight, copper, glass and other craft goods.

Back in the main street you can enjoy samples of stew and a camel ride. Later in the weekend there is a wrestling contest.  Various events take place in the park bandstand, such as traditional dancers and choirs.

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