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  • cittaslow cities Aegean

    Türkiye

    AKYAKA/KÖYCEĞİZ/SEFERİHİSAR/YENİPAZAR/GÖKÇEADA

    Akyaka

    Imagine a quiet town located between the lush mountains and the turquoise sea. Everything you eat is grown in the natural, unpolluted environment of the surrounding region. There is no noise pollution.

    Located just north of Marmaris in Muğla Province, at the far end of the Gulf of Gökova, Akyaka is a lovely small town surrounded by pine trees. As a result of its geographical location, there are many opportunities here to participate in outdoor sports such as windsurfing, sea kayaking, biking, kitesurfing, rock climbing, sailing, paragliding, rafting, trekking, and riding.

    Lying in the valley of the Azmak River, Akyaka is surrounded by fragrant eucalyptus trees. The river flows down through fields to the seafront, where you will find a small sandy beach and several beachfront restaurants.

    Akyaka’s past dates to antiquity. A Carian city named “Idyma” was established in ancient times in this district that was known as “Rhodian Peraea,” denoting the mainland territorial possessions of the island of Rhodes. The stone burial sites at the passageway to Akyaka date to that period. Akyaka was a little fishing town until the 1970s, when it was discovered by artists looking to escape urban life.

    Sedir Adası (Cedar Island) in the Gulf of Gokova is full of ancient ruins. In the distant past, the island used to be called “Cedrae” from “Cedrus,” a cedar tree. According to certain sources, the Caryan royal family spent their summers here.

    The stream Kadın Azmağı flows through Akyaka to the Gulf of Gokova, moving between trees and reeds, at times displaying a magnificent turquoise color. You can take a boat ride on the steam and enjoy a cup of tea watching the water gently move downstream.

    Köyceğiz

    At the easternmost part of the Mediterranean, the southernmost part of the Aegean Sea, at the junction of the Carian and Lycian civilizations, there is a region where blue and green dance together and where history is as ancient as time itself. Köyceğiz is a true heaven on earth, located east of Marmaris.

    Köyceğiz is a town and district located on the north shores of Lake Köyceğiz. In ancient times, the lake was a bay situated on the Mediterranean coast. However, the alluvia that was carried by the Dalaman River in time narrowed the strip of land between the sea and the bay and created a lake. Today, the only link between the sea and the lake is the Dalyan River, where boat and canoe tours are offered.

    Köyceğiz hosts the ruins of the ancient city of Kaunos. Kaunos is known to be the oldest settlement in the region. Archaeological excavations have revealed that settlement here began in the 8th century BC. The site was inhabited by Romans, Persians, Rhodians. Among the ancient ruins, there is an ancient theater and rock tombs.

    You can take an incredible boat trip on Lake Köyceğiz accompanied by the perfume of orange blossoms and sweetgum trees, and views of Mountain Sandras. You might also be greeted by loggerhead sea turtles, or Caretta carettas, that take refuge in the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area.

    The people of Köyceğiz take pride in their local traditions, offering visitors ample opportunities to taste their local cuisine. The area is famous for its paths in the lake's recreation areas, and for the lack of traffic lights in the town center. It is also worth mentioning that no heating coal is allowed in winter to prevent air pollution.

    Seferihisar

    Situated in the south of İzmir city, Seferihisar is the meeting point of nature, history, and the sea. It is the first town in Türkiye to join the Cittaslow movement.

    In Seferihisar, the streetlamps are solar powered. Local seeds are grown, and mesh net bags are used instead of nylon bags where local goods are sold. The district's restaurants offer the local delicacies that are unique to Seferihisar. Homemade, fresh, and natural products can be found in the market that is set up inside the Sığacık Castle every Sunday.

    The archaeological site of Teos, located 5 kilometers from Seferihisar, is one of the oldest and most important historical ruins in the district. Teos was one of the 12 Ionian cities of the Ionian League, and according to the historian Pausanias it was established by the descendants of Athamas, a mythological Boeotian king.

    Seferihisar has a 49-kilometer-long coastline with many beaches and bays, each more beautiful than the next. The district has the most beaches with Blue Flag in Türkiye. There are 11 in total, 9 of which are public beaches. Daily charter boats that tour the district’s beautiful bays leave from Sığacık Port.

    Seferihisar is the tangerine capital of Türkiye, and each year in November, it welcomes the tangerine season with the Tangerine Festival. Many mouthwatering delicacies made of tangerines are available to taste at the festival.

    Apart from citrus fruits, Seferihisar is also famous for its winegrowing.

    Yenipazar

    Yenipazar is a small and quiet district located in western Türkiye, in the Aegean region. It is 40 km from Aydın city center, and 100 kilometers from Kuşadası.

    In the middle of the Menderes basin, Yenipazar is built on the slopes of Madran Baba Mountain and on the northern side, it is surrounded by forests.

    The ancient city of Orthosia, inhabited during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine times, is near Yenipazar.

    One of the places one must visit in Yenipazar is the Aşağı Dip Lake Nature Park. The park has a viewing terrace, fishing platforms, a bird-watching tower, and hiking trails.

    While enjoying the silence of nature, you can have a small picnic, fish, and observe the ducks, rails, and various other birds from the bird-watching tower.

    Gökçeada

    Gökçeada, located in the northwest Aegean region, is Türkiye’s largest island. It is famous for its singular geography and protected natural resources.

    Gökçeada offers its guests a unique natural environment thanks to the organic agricultural activities that commenced on the island in 2002 and the rural tourism practices that started in 2008. Gökçeada has become the first and only “quiet island” in the world thanks to the title of “Cittaslow” it received in June 2011.

    Visitors will be fascinated by the range of local art ranging from the island’s authentic handicrafts and regional folkloric artifacts to examples of world avant-garde art. The island warmly embraces cultural variety, and accommodates various customs and traditions, a rich food culture, and unique architecture.

    Gökçeada’s marine life is equally rich. The sea surrounding the island is rich in sea bream, horse mackerel, chub mackerel, mackerel, sea bass, carp, seabream, red mullet, two-banded seabream, bream, and dusky grouper.

    Gökçeada is also known by its historical name Imvoz, which is believed to derive from the mythological river god Imbrasos. The name “Imroz” is mentioned several times in Homer’s epic Iliad. According to Homer, "At the bottom of the sea in the abyss, between Tenedos and rocky Imroz, there is an immense cave. Poseidon's horses rested there, and the earth shook." During the Trojan War, the inhabitants of Imroz, allied themselves with Troy. Homer tells us that when Achilles took Priam's son prisoner, the king of Imroz bought him and sent him back to his father.

    SEE
    • Ancient city of Kedrai on Sedir Island
    • Amos ancient city
    • The ancient city of Teos
    • Temple of Dionysus
    TASTE
    • Pine honey
    • Juicy olives
    • Goat cheese and yoğurt
    • Şevket-i Bostan (Holy thistle)
    • Kabak çiçeği dolması (stuffed marrow blooms)
    • Figs and strawberries
    • Fresh seafood
    SMELL
    • Almond trees
    • Windy air in Gökçeada
    • Olive trees
    • Tangerines and lemons
    TOUCH
    • Turquoise waters, and golden sands at Blue Flag beaches
    LISTEN
    • Stories of the ancient city of Thyssanos
    • The silence and serenity