Big New Year surprise in Marmaris
The New Year Fest will start with a big surprise in Marmaris. The two cultures will be introduced to foreigners living in the town as well as visitors coming from Turkey and abroad through the figures of Santa Claus and Ayaz Ata to achieve cultural integration.
Turkey’s tourism authorities have touched on the significance of the festival for tourism. They stressed that it would contribute not only to Marmaris but also to Turkey. Apart from hoteliers, everyone living in Marmaris should believe in this. The municipality of Marmaris is paving the way, and people in the tourism business will own this. Consequently, the Marmaris New Year Fest will contribute greatly to Turkey’s winter tourism.
Marmaris Municipality Mayor Sedat Kirt said in his speech that they would hold the “Marmaris New Year Fest” between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31 to help sustain tourism in Marmaris and neighboring districts in December.
Kirt said preparations have been ongoing for two years now.
“We would like to spread the festival across Marmaris rather than use a certain place to keep tourism mobility alive in December and to create alternative open-air tourism spheres. The theme of the new year bazaar, which has attracted widespread interest in the last two years, will be the ‘Meeting of Cultures,’” he said.
The mayor emphasized that the culture of Ayaz Ata has been kept alive through the New Year preparations in many countries, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tatarstan at the top of the list.
“Ayaz Ata, who holds an important place in Turkish mythology, is a saint who appears on cold days in winter and helps the poor and homeless. It is believed that he helps those who are in need of help in the cold and gives them good fortune,” he said.
He stressed that the figure of Santa Claus is famous worldwide.
“Christmas is a Christian festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec. 25 of every year. Santa Claus is a legendary saint who is believed to give presents to children on the night of Christmas. We want to bring these two cultures together in our New Year festival,” said Kirt.
Kirt also pointed out that various food events, live music performances from different cultures, souvenirs, dresses, live sculptures, corteges and many other events will provide an entertaining month for participants during the New Year Fest
Marmaris, the Pearl of the Aegean, is making a comeback. Local administrators and spokesmen for the town’s future are engaged in a feverish round of activities these days together with the townspeople. They say it is high time that Marmaris has made a difference by recreating itself as the world’s star. To this end, they have put together a project for Marmaris they call the “New Year Fest,” which includes some exciting services to showcase the city in a novel way.
The beauty of Marmaris, which boasts an uninterrupted 16 kilometers of coastline from the city center to the town of İçmeler, knows no end. The restored Marmaris Castle has become an archaeology museum and the area inside the castle has been turned into one of the Aegean’s most beautiful districts with its orderly streets and new venues. The restaurants that line the harbor offer an appetizing presentation of local tastes and seafood. A major port city in the Ottoman period, Marmaris boasts a large number of historical monuments along with the castle.
The 16th century Taşhan, the Arched Bridge, Hafize Sultan Caravanserai and the 1789 Ibrahim Ağa Mosque are some of them. There is also a legend that circulates in the town. When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent came here on his Rhodes campaign, he apparently saw an old woman distributing water to his troops. He asked this woman, who was called Sarı Ana (Pale Mother), if he would succeed in taking the island or not.
“The conquest will be yours as long as your soldiers do not pick the fruit in the place where they are quartered,” she said. Seeing the next morning that not a single piece of fruit had been plucked from the trees, Suleiman crossed to Rhodes and conquered it. The tomb of Sarı Ana, who is still honored in the region, lies in the garden of the mosque that bears her name.
Little known spots
Horseback Riding Lessons: What would you say to riding lessons at one of the stud farms in the forest near Gökova Bay? You can also make a horse safari on trails through the trees at these establishments, which offer first-class accommodation to boot. H. Gökhan Çilingir, a national equestrian who serves in the region, says lessons start at 50 Turkish Liras ($10) an hour.
The Marmaris Markets: There is nothing that cannot be found in the Marmaris markets, which stand out for their abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. ‘Kırma’ olives (large, juicy olives slit and marinated in olive oil and lemon juice), fresh farm cheeses, bergamot jam, medicinal herbs, herbal teas and much, much more. Neighborhood markets are set up at Siteler on Tuesdays, at İçmeler on Wednesdays, in Marmaris on Thursdays and Sundays and at Armutalan on Saturdays.
Storax Soap: The oil and soap sold at the Marmaris bazaar are produced from the sap of the storax or sweetgum tree (Liquidambar orientalis) that grows in the region. This oil, which was used in antiquity as an elixir of health and beauty, is known as a remedy for everything from hair loss to gastric complaints.