From a heritage building in the historic region of Cappadocia, Turkey, this hotel works with local crafts and craftsmen.
It is important to apply eco-friendly labeling carefully. This is especially true of the tourism industry that is often guilty of green-washing potential patrons to lure them to their site. We have written about eco-lodges such Feynan in Jordan and Al Karm Ecolodge in Egypt that deserve their “eco-friendly” status given their strident conservation efforts. Now we’d like to draw your attention to a boutique hotel in Ürgüp, Turkey that has partial claims to eco-friendliness and full claim to a fascinating architectural history.
According to the UK’s Green Business Touring Scheme (GBTS), there are several criteria that must be met before a business should label itself “eco”. Some of these include: “compliance with environmental legislation”, “good environmental management” – which includes training staff and raising awareness, “social involvement”, energy efficiency, water efficiency, “environmentally friendly goods and services”, waste reduction, minimal transport necessity, “natural and cultural heritage”, and “innovation”.
Selçuklu Evi means the “The Seldjoukie house” in Turkish. This name refers to an architectural legacy left behind by the Seljuk Empire, a Persian, Sunni Muslim Empire that once conquered Anatolia. According to MuslimHeritage.com, some recognizable features of Seljuk architecture include tall gateways, ornamental stalactites, Ogival archways, and ceramic tiling. In Anatolia builders used mostly stone to build their numerous castles, mausoleums and mosques, whereas in Iran they were more prone to brick. Anatolian Seljuk stonework was said to be so beautiful that it was called “poetry in stone.”
It is this tradition to which Selçuklu Evi hearkens. The Marketing Director, Sophie Florval, calls Selçuklu Evi a perfect combination of past and present. Located in the unique geographical region known as Cappadocia – a high altitude plateau festooned with fairy chimneys – the hotel was once a collection of five houses. The hotel owners employed local craftsmen to restore the buildings to create what is now a hotel with 20 rooms, a process which took three years. Using local skills and preserving the cultural heritage both contribute to the hotel’s eco-friendliness.
The hotel also relies on locally harvested rock to keep the buildings warm in winter and cool in summer, rather than heating or air-conditioning. The rooms, some partially underground, are decorated with beds made of wrought iron and regal Turkish rugs, both crafted by local artisans. They even serve locally-produced wine from faucets in the central courtyard: white on the left, and red on the right.
Although Selçuklu Evi is certainly innovative, it is difficult to know whether it can claim further eco-accolades such as “minimal transport” or “water efficiency” given its remote and semi-arid location. Nonetheless, we think that this boutique is at least twelve steps ahead of any Four Seasons Hotel.
Link to Selçuklu Evi: http://www.selcukluevi.com/
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