Mengen is a quiet, rural town and district in Bolu province in the Black Sea region of western Turkey, 58 km from the city of Bolu. It covers an area of 895 km2, and the population (2000) is 16,504 of which 5,500 live in the town of Mengen. The mayor is Osman Eraslan (AKP)

Mengen is famous for its cooks and its annual cookery festival; chefs trained in Mengen can be found in the best hotels all over Turkey. There are a number of reason for this: 1) the province of Bolu sits on the main road from Istanbul to Ankara and for centuries travellers have stopped for food on their journey. 2) there is a cookery school here which has traditionally trained chefs for the president in Ankara and other high government officials.

Mengen is an attractive forested district, the largest plain in this mountainous area, a rural area where the traditional lifestyle has persisted. Mengen for example is one place in Turkey where you can still see the köçek (male belly dancers) at village weddings, they also perform at the food festival in August. Mengen is only 180 km from Ankara and is a popular weekend retreat for the people of the city. Mengen is a place to walk, to relax, or go hunting in the forest. In summer there are popular walks in the high country above the town.

The town is not shy about the cookery tradition and there are billboards and statues of smiling chefs all over Mengen. Dinner here is typically grilled meats and pilav rice served with lashings of Turkish rakı, the traditional aniseed drink. However it must be said that this is a small town that trains and exports chefs, there are not that many restaurants in Mengen itself.

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