Most cities of the world have a river running through them – and Eskişehir is no different. They have the Porsuk; lined in the city centre with cafes, restaurants and bars. Further downstream things become a little more lazy and laid back, and, while we were in the city, we decided to take a stroll along the banks for a bit of exploration.
We were heading to Kent Park, one of the parks that had been recommended to us as a must-see in Eskişehir. After finding it on the map, we worked out we must be able to follow the river until we got to the park entrance. Great – impossible to get lost. So let us take you on a little wander along the Porsuk River to Kent Park.
We’re starting off at the jetty where the river boat trips leave from and keeping the river to our left – well, the path looks to be a bit more accessible this way. At this point we have no idea if there’s even a path that will take us to the park but, if you don’t try, you’ll never know…
At this point, people who are familiar with the British towns and cities that sprung up as a result of 19th century industrialisation, might feel a bit of an affinity with Eskişehir as they look at this photo. We certainly did. It reminded us of Manchester.
Look, Eskişehir has locks! It’s many years since either of us have seen a lock and we’ve got to admit to being quite excited when we realise there are so many of them along the Porsuk. Like the Manchester of not-too-distant years gone by, Eskişehir had a reputation for being an industrial city. Two different friends mentioned the muddy streets to us before telling us, “But all that’s changed, now.”
And it has. Like Manchester, there’s been a lot of regeneration here and it’s ongoing. Someone has taken a step back, looked at what they’ve got to go with and decided to make a city that residents can take pride in and enjoy. We’ve already taken you on a little tour of the historic houses of Odunpazarı – work continues there, too.
Back to the Porsuk, though, and we’ve come to a dead end – so we cross the bridge to the opposite side to continue our riverside walk. The river is now on our right and we stop to take a photo of where we’ve come from. Numerous ornate, painted bridges line the river, the grass is cut short.
Decorative, wrought iron railings separate the river from the roads and they look like they’ve always been here but, according the plaques embedded into the railings, this is all recent. Eskişehir is making beauty out of industry.
In Eskişehir, we’re a world away from the Mediterranean scenery of Fethiye and the refreshing Aegean breezes of Izmir. Eskişehir is inland, but it doesn’t matter anymore; the Porsuk will suffice. So we continue along the road, passing dwellings and small workshops; a few apartments are being given a facelift. This is all familiar regeneration territory to us and it feels strange to feel so familiar with a city that we’ve never seen before.
As we’re ambling along, not really concentrating, we come to a dead end and no way through. You’ll have to turn back with us now and follow us to the next bridge. If you ever find yourself walking this route, let us tell you that when you reach Porsuk 18 Köprüsü (number 18 bridge), you need to cross over it so that the river is again on your left.
We’re now following the river through trees and wide grass verges. It’s sunny and pleasant; the type of day that puts a feel-good smile on your face.
And we’ve arrived at Aşk Köprüsü (Love Bridge). Aww, one for the romantics amongst us. We can’t resist but cross over it. Colourful flowers guide the walker to the bridge entrance and we can see young couples sat on benches amongst the gardens on the other side.
Even the flowers are set out in the shape of love hearts. And now the river is again to our right as we walk through the trees, past our loved-up couples…and then the path starts to bend round and back on itself. The Aşk Köprüsü has beckoned us to cross and explore its romantic gardens on the other side but it can’t lead us to Kent Park. We need to walk back over the bridge, take a left and continue our journey.
This stretch of the River Porsuk is still, quiet and peaceful. Our only company for a while is the odd belediye (council) gardener, trimming and shaping the shrubbery. This must be a ongoing, full time task – there’s a lot to do.
Eventually, after around 40 minutes of pleasant strolling and a couple of little unintended detours, we come to more apartment blocks. We can once more hear the main road and there’s another lock.
The novelty hasn’t worn off just yet and more photos are taken. A couple of minutes further along and we come to a bridge that takes us across the river and we’re now directly opposite the gated entrance to Kent Park. We’ll take you round there in the next post…
Eskişehir Centre to Kent Park Walk
- Without detours, the walk to Kent Park along the Porsuk takes around 30 minutes from the city centre (around Atatürk Köprüsü)
- Make sure you cross Porsuk 18 Köprüsü to avoid having to turn back