Antalya’s 350-Year-Old Architectural Wonder: Button Houses

Sustainable Travel Route in the Taurus Mountains

Antalya’s 350-Year-Old Architectural Wonder: Button Houses

In addition to its pristine nature, Türkiye stands out as a sustainable travel due to the wealth and diversity of the country’s regional cultures. An important element of Türkiye’s unique heritage is found in the country’s vernacular architecture. The Button Houses are among the most interesting of the many beautiful traditional structures in Türkiye. These picturesque wood and stone houses are in Ormana Village, set at the foot of the Taurus Mountains in Antalya, the heart of the Turkish Riviera.

Ormana Village’s Unique Traditional Structures

Drawing attention amid the vernacular architecture of Antalya, the Button Houses are among the most sustainable examples of local architecture found in Türkiye. Around three hundred Button Houses exist in and around Ormana Village. Featuring mixed construction with a wood-framed building system and stone masonry walls, the houses were erected without the use of masonry mortar. Timbers from the cedar and tar trees in the region form a wooden frame. The stones are held in place by the timbers and the timbers are stabilized by vertical pieces of cedar.

The structures are known as Button Houses because the visible parts of the wooden frame look like buttons. These buildings have excellent earthquake resistance, as the stones within them can move flexibly during any fluctuation in the soil. The structures are also climate-sensitive: the houses have very thick walls, ensuring that the interior stays warm in winter and cool in summer. These houses, not seen anywhere else in Anatolia, were built with two floors. The ground floors were traditionally utilized as barns or hay depots in line with agricultural and livestock needs.

Today, some of the Button Houses have been restored as boutique hotels. During a visit to Ormana Village, you can stay in one of these authentic hotels, to absorb the spirit of the region and experience the unique local lifestyle.

Eco-Friendly Experiences

In addition to its Button Houses, Ormana Village is a centre of attraction with its natural and historical beauties. Nature-friendly activities are abundant, including botanical tourism, wildlife observation and photo safaris while other activities in the region, such as trekking, hiking and caving, also allow tourism with a minimal carbon footprint. In September, Ormana hosts an annual grape festival to celebrate the village’s çavuş (common) grapes. If you plan on visiting Ormana in September, you can attend the festival, taste its renowned grapes, and learn about grape growing in the region.

Cultural and Ecological Heritage

Altınbeşik Cave and Eynif Plain are some of the other natural treasures in and around the village. Altınbeşik Cave features the largest underground lake in Türkiye and the third-largest underground lake in the world, as well as striking travertine, stalactite and stalagmite formations. The Altınbeşik Cave National Park – the first and only cave national park in Türkiye – is known for its karst topography and lush pine forests. Adjacent to the Altınbeşik Cave National Park is the 90,000-decare Eynif Plain, located on the historical Silk Road route and now home to hundreds of wild horses that offer a breathtaking sight. On the Plain is the Seljuk-era Tol Inn (Tol Han), one of the several historical ruins in the vicinity. Another is the Erymna Ancient City, dating to the Roman era. An independent settlement that has never minted its own money, the ancient city’s monolithic columns have been preserved, as have the foundation of a columned building made of large stones, and the remains of a theatre.