Eyes turn to Ayvalık as nearby Greek islands’ borders shut
Greek islands were once popular tourist destinations for Turkish tourists who could arrive at the picturesque hotspots just a stone’s throw away from Turkey. But now local officials are working on bringing local tourists to Ayvalık, a uniquely beautiful resort town reminiscent of the Greek islands.
The local officials have invited the local tourists to holiday in the resort town before summer is over, salvaging what’s left of the tourism season damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Before the end of the summer season, come and enjoy the Nature Park as well as 22 islands,” Ayvalık Mayor Mesut Ergin said.
Speaking to İhlas News Agency, Ergin stated that the name of Ayvalık was “Kidonia” in ancient times, meaning quince, and added, “Nature has offered such a beauty to Ayvalık; it has been so generous that it is our duty to protect these beauties, to preserve the historical texture to the next generations and to keep the infrastructure and the economy in a stronger way.”
Ergin said that Ayvalık, which is the only tourism destination with 22 islands, is known as the “Land of Winds” in mythology and it is a unique opportunity for those who want to cool off on hot summer days. He that the holiday-goers can enjoy their holiday by joining the boat tours in the deep and cold waters of the islands, enjoy the appetizers made of herb varieties in the warm places of Cunda Island, eat papalina fish that is unique to the region and return to their homes with unforgettable memories.
The mayor said that the sunset, the magnificent birth of the full moon, the pleasure of hammock in the afternoon, the smell of red, pink, white and oleander flowers, pumpkin flower and stuffed mussels have very special tastes in Ayvalık, and added, “Olives, olive oil and fragrant soaps are meticulously produced with special techniques. These are the most beautiful and meaningful gifts to be taken to friends after the holidays.”
Noting that those who came to Ayvalık for a holiday start making plans to move there, Ergin said: “Each of the 22 islands in Ayvalık district has a different feature and memory. The biggest one of these islands is Ali Bey Island, also known as Cunda Island. A bridge was built in 1964 and the island connected to Lale Island and then to the district center.”
“This bridge is also the first such bridge built in Turkey. The other islands were declared a national park in 1995 and they were banned for settlement. These islands are reached by boats that organize tours. With its historical and cultural richness, sea and nature, Ayvalık is home to local and foreign tourists every year. In addition to hostels and boutique hotels, there are accommodation facilities for every budget,” he added.
Emphasizing that besides its sea, sand and magnificent nature, Ayvalık has 4,000 buildings, 2,000 of which are registered and have a unique texture, Ergin said, “There are many places to visit in Ayvalık. Those who want to spend a peaceful holiday away from the noise of the city are especially preferred. As an old Greek settlement, it is rushed by local and foreign tourists. It is necessary to take at least two or three days to visit the historical Greek houses, Şeytan Sofrası [Devil’s Table], Sarımsaklı Beach, Cunda Island, Taksiyarhis Church, Ayazma Church, Çınarlı Mosque and many more. Those who plan to take a sea vacation in Ayvalık prefer May and September, when the highest temperature of the season is seen. However, you can visit every season to see its historical and natural beauties.”