The Aegean region has been home to many civilizations and was looted by barbarians many times. Towns were destroyed and rebuilt again and again. But each time, they were resurrected in
The Aegean region has been home to many civilizations and was looted by barbarians many times. Towns were destroyed and rebuilt again and again. But each time, they were resurrected in different styles and opulence. In the construction materials used in mosques in the towns of Milas or Foça, for instance, one can see hints of the past. This week, daily Hürriyet’s jury selected the top 10 Aegean towns rich in culture and natural heritage.
All one has to do now is start an expedition to the region.
Famous for Tuesday bazaar
The 4,000-year-old town of Tire is 80 kilometers outside the Aegean city of İzmir. For centuries, this small town was the stage for many civilizations such as the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Lydians, the Persians, the Hellenes, the Romans and Byzantium, as a rich array of historic and cultural beauties accumulated over time, especially after the arrival of the Turks. The town is famous for its Tuesday bazaar, which is the biggest in the country. Besides, şiş köfte (shish meatball kebab), keşkek (a kind of pilaf) and fried wild vegetables are unique to Tire.
Attractive stone architecture
The island of Cunda dates back 3,500 years. Cunda means sailing away in Italian. Outstanding samples of traditional stone architecture make this town especially attractive. Some buildings have been transformed into boutique hotels and bed-and-breakfast places. Cunda is famous for its Paparina fish.
Beauty in narrow streets
Karaburun, situated near Çeşme, is 100 kilometers from İzmir. Since it meets the open sea, the water here is always clean and very convenient for diving. The roads to Karaburun have lots of turns, making it difficult to reach the place. But owing to this roughness, Karaburun’s architectural structure and narrow streets were protected from looting in the past and from urbanization in the modern day, when compared to Çeşme and Dalyan.
Capital of the Aydınoğulları
Seven kilometers outside Ödemiş district, Birgi was once the capital of the Aydınoğulları Principality. With a population of 5,000 today, Birgi was one of the biggest cities in the area in the 14th and 15th centuries. A few historical artifacts such as the İmam Birgivi Tomb, the Çakırağa Mansion and a Turkish bath (hamam) in ruins contribute to the attractiveness of Birgi. Besides, the Aydınoğlu Mehmet Bey Mosque restored by the Çekül Foundation is the Aegean’s oldest masterpiece mosque with its minbar (pulpit) and window wings.
Pay attention to the mansions here
Situated 15 kilometers from the inner city of Muğla, Ula became famous due to the award-winning film Dondurmam Gaymak directed by Yüksel Aksu. The population is around 5,000, and visitors are attracted by the local mansions. Ula has plenty of sightseeing areas, and since it has the highest number of bicycles in Turkey, you will be able to enjoy a cycling tour of Akkaya village, Ula Canyon, Yedi Delik (Seven Holes) Cave and the island of Sedir.
Rich in oxygen
The town of Datça is located on the Datça Peninsula, rich in oxygen. Seventy kilometers from the famous resort of Marmaris, this charming small town in the middle of a historic site dates back to the year 2000 B.C. Pay a visit to unique houses in the town with a total of 52 coves.
Symbol of seals
Situated 70 kilometers northwest of İzmir, Foça was one of the 12 cities founded by the Ionians on Aegean shores. The former name of the town, Fokai, means land of seals. The Siren Rocks, the Şeytan Hamam (Devil’s Bath), the Stone House, the Beş Kapılar Kalesi (Five Gates Castle), the Dış Kale (Outer Castle) and the Fatih, Kayalar and Hafız Süleyman mosques are historic monuments worth seeing in the town.
Ancient port city
This small, historically rich town in Behramkale is said to have been founded in the 10th century B.C. by the Metymna people from the island of Lesbos. Assos is 100 kilometers outside Çanakkale, a northwestern province. One of the most important settlement areas in ancient times, Assos once was the home of the Greek Philosopher Aristotle. A port city at the same time, Assos is built on andesite rocks, the most common volcanic stone after basalt. It is separated into two parts, the port and the village.
Remarkable 27 archaeological sites
Milas district, in the province of Muğla, has many features and sites of interest including historical artifacts, a bazaar and world-famous carpets. Founded in the fifth century B.C., Milas was the ancient capital of Caria and of the Anatolian Turkish Principality of Menteşe in the 13th century. Milas contains a remarkable 27 archaeological sites.
The oldest port in the world
Urla, with its current population of 50,000, is an approximately 8,000-year-old settlement area. Thirty-five kilometers outside İzmir, the town is nowadays the stage for archaeological works bringing to daylight the Limantepe Tumulus dating back to 6000 B.C. The port, which is the oldest in the world, is one of the most significant findings here. In the past Urla had been an important center of trade, famous especially for its olive oil production.