From the 13 century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East – West trade route. The Old Mosque, Old Bath and Suleyman Pasha Medrese were built in 1322. During its apogee in the 17 th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire.
Safranbolu is a typical Ottoman city that has survived to the present day. It also displays an interesting interaction between the topography and the historic settlement. By virtue of its key role in the caravan trade over many centuries, Safranbolu enjoyed great prosperity and as a result it set a standard in public and domestic architecture that exercised a great influence on urban development over a large area of the Ottoman Empire. The architectural forms of the buildings and the streets are illustrative of their period. The caravan trade was for centuries the main commercial link between the Orient and Europe. The site of Safranbolu has been occupied by human settlements since prehistory, as evidenced by rock-cut tombs. The Turks conquered the town in the 11th century and in the 13th century it became an important caravan station on the main east-west trade route. Surviving buildings from this early period include the Old Mosque, Old Bath, and Medresse of Süleyman Pasha, all built in 1322.