Abandoned Aegean villages open to tourism
Settlements that have been abandoned over the years on İzmir’s Karaburun Peninsula have become tourist attractions for their hiking and nature activities.
The peninsula, which offers all shades of green and blue, hosts visitors in its coves in summer months while welcoming hikers or those who choose the region for nature sports.
The villages on the Ephesus-Mimas road, which start in front of the Artemis Temple in the ancient city of Ephesus and end in Karaburun, have already started to be a frequent destination of many local and foreign people.
The Sazak village is one of the oldest settlements in the region. The old village, which consists of old stone houses and a historic church, amazes tourists.
Besides Sazak, the villages of Çukurköy, Tepeköy, Saprıncık, Yeniliman, Bozköy, Yayla and Küçükbahçe, the population of which is decreasing every other day, welcome many people especially on weekends.
The Sarpıncık Lighthouse, perched on a hill at the entrance of the İzmir Gulf, led ships coming to the city by sea for many years. It recently has adopted an automatic signaling system with the newest technology in recent years, and is also among the places where guests of the region spend their time.
Stating that they are working to promote the historic villages, Çakır said, “There is a great interest in the village in our region especially over the last two years. Recently, many foreign guests come and join the mountain hiking. If we make more promotional work, I believe that we will be able to contribute to both Turkey’s and the region’s tourism.”
Karaburun Mimar Mountain and Nature Sports Club Chairman Mustafa Özer said that they determined the hiking routes in the region and help nature lovers when they needed.
Özer said they plan to open the region to mountaineering and hiking.
“Everyone who downloads a smartphone application can walk here; the route is also available on satellite. At first, locals did not take this work seriously but after guests started coming here, wanted to stay here and eat local meals, they started opening their houses to them. I believe that these villages will revive in the next five years,” Özer added.
Sonya Erem, 62, who lives in Belgium, said she organizes hiking tours abroad to promote the peninsula to the world. She said all guests are amazed by Karaburun, especially the old villages. Erem said they also promote the region to their friends back home in Belgium.
Another hiker, İsmail Şimşit, said he joined many nature hiking activities in Turkey but he preferred Karaburun for its calmness.