The aim of this study is to establish the earthquake behaviour of traditional timber-framed houses in Turkey and their technical features to serve as a guide in their conservation. This paper first discusses the destructive effects of changing settlement patterns on the traditional building stock and explores earthquake damage on traditional Turkish buildings, analysing the 1894-İstanbul, 1970-Gediz and finally 1999-Kocaeli earthquakes. A short definition is then provided of timber-framed building methods in Anatolia, and the earthquake damages occurring in them are given. The following section briefly discusses the earthquake behaviour of timber-framed constructions in different countries. The paper concludes with the interpretation of features that increase the earthquake resistance of timber-framed buildings, which are related to the selection of land and the use of the lath and plaster technique, timber lintels, braces and nails. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.