How is Ayvalik’s geography, are there more travelling places… Ayvalık is a district in Turkey’s Balıkesir Province on the Aegean Sea coast, facing the Greek island of Lesbos. It is situated on a narrow coastal plain surrounded by low hills to the east which are covered with pine and olive trees. Ayvalık is also surrounded by Ayvalık Islands group on the sea and by a narrow peninsula in the south named Hakkıbey Peninsula. Ayvalık is the southernmost district of Balıkesir. Gömeç, Burhaniye and Edremit are other districts of Balıkesir Province which are situated on the Aegean shores and they are lined up respectively to the north. The region is under the influence of a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters and hot, dry summers.
Okey; but how is Ayvalik’s history, where are there. Let’s see and read about the history… Various archeological finds and excavations in the region prove that Ayvalık and its environs were inhabited as early as the prehistoric ages. Joseph Thacher Clarke believed that he had identified it as the site of Kisthene, mentioned in Strabo as a place in ruins at a harbor beyond Cape Pyrrha The islets in the Ayvalık Bay (Ayvalık Körfezi) were also used for settlement purposes, together with Ayvalık, during the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. The constant threat posed by piracy in the region during the previous ages did not allow the islet settlements to grow larger and only Cunda (formerly Nesos) could maintain a higher level of habitation as it is the largest and the closest islet to the mainland.
After the Byzantine period, the region came under the rule of Anatolian Turkish Beylik of Karesi in the 13th century and was later annexed to the territory of the Ottoman beylik (principality), which was to become the Ottoman Empire later.
Until 1922, Ayvalik had a large Greek population. Anecdotal evidence indicates that, immediately after the defeat in the naval Battle of Chesma (Çeşme), the Ottoman admiral (later grand vizier) Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha and men from the ships he could extirpate from the disaster, were lodged, on their frantic return to the capital, by a local priest in Ayvalık who did not know who they were. Hasan Pasha did not forget the kindness shown at that hour of crisis and when he became grand vizier, accorded virtual autonomy to the Greeks of Ayvalık, paving the way for its becoming an important cultural center for that community in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.
The town was invaded by the Greek Army on 29 May 1919, and taken back three years later by Turkish Armies on 15 September 1922. After the Turkish Independence War, the Greek population in the town was replaced by a Muslim population from Greece under the 1923 agreement for the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations. Most of the new population that replaced the former Greek community were Muslim Turks from Mytilene, Crete and Greek Macedonia. One could still hear Greek spoken in the streets till recently. Many of the town’s mosques are Greek Orthodox churches that have been converted.
Well then, how is Ayvalik’s modernity? What we can see there..? Today, Ayvalık and the numerous islets encircling the bay area are popular holiday resorts. The most important and the biggest of these islets is Cunda Island (Alibey Island) which was connected to the mainland by a bridge in the late 1960s.
Since September 1998, Ayvalık has had an international music academy (AIMA) which gives master classes for violin, viola and cello. It brings together students from all over the world and gives them a precious opportunity to work with distinguished masters of their branch.
Ayvalık also has two of the longest sandy beaches of the whole country which extend as far as the Dikili district of İzmir nearly 30 km in the south. These are Sarımsaklı and Altınova beaches.
In recent years Ayvalık has also become an important point of attraction for scuba divers with its underwater fauna.
Ayvalık and its environs is famous for the highly appreciated quality of olive oil production.
Today, the population of Ayvalık is nearly 30,000 and much more during the summer due to its touristic importance. Ayvalık is also close to Bergama (former Pergamon) which is another important attraction for tourists with its ruins dating back to antiquity.
With its rich architectural heritage, Ayvalık is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR)
Ayvalik Islands are the group of islands around Ayvalık district of Turkey in Balıkesir Province in the Northeastern Aegean Sea. There are 22 islands and numerous rocks in the group, with Cunda Island being the largest. People live only on Cunda and Lale Islands. Cunda and Lale islands are linked to Ayvalık on the mainland, by a causeway abling transportation by car. Cunda has also ferry link from the main town, Alibey to Ayvalık.
Wild life can be observed on the other islands, especially wild rabbits on Ilyosta Island. Also, those islands are main points of tourist attractions having small clean beaches and bays.
LIST OF ISLANDS
Ayvalık Islands are also referred to as Yund Islands or Cunda Islands in some sources. The islands are called Hekatonisa which means “odorous islands” by the Greeks. The Greek name has different spellings such as Hekatonesos, Apollonnesos, Hekatonnesoi or Hekatos.
- Akoğlu Island / Kedi adası (Kopano)
- Cunda Islands / Alibey Adası (Nesos=Ada, Mosko, Yunda, Moshonisi, Moshinos=Kokuluada)
- Çıplak Island (Chalkis, Cimno)
- Çiçek Island (Argistra, Angistri)
- Gizli kayalar Island / Secret Rocks (Petro=Rock)
- Göz Island
- Güvercin Island / Kızlar Manastırı Island / Madiens’ Monastry Island (St. Giorgio / Aya Yorgi)
- Hasır Island (Sefiri)
- İkiz Kayalar Island / Twin Rocks (Daskali, Daskalio)
- İlyosta Büyük / Güneş / Fener / Grand Ilyosta Island (Ilyosta, Eleos=Güneş, Oilios)
- İlyosta Küçük / Yumurta /Little Ilyosta Island (Kilyosta, Eleos Pulo)
- Kalemli Island (Kalamaki)
- Kara Island / Balkan / Kutu (Kudho)
- Kara ada Island / Kamış adası / Akvaryum (Kalamo, Kalamos)
- Küçük Karaada Island
- Büyük Karaada Island / Balık adası / Tavşan (Psariano=Balık)
- Kayabaşı Island
- Kılavuz Island / Mosko / Pınar / Klavuz (Mosko Pulo)
- Kız Island (Ulya)
- Kumru Island
- Lale Island / Dolap / Soğan (Kromido)
- Büyük Maden Island / Maden (Pirgo, Pordoselene, Pirgos=kale)
- Küçük Maden Island
- Melina Island
- Mırmırcalar Island
- Pirgos kayalıkları (Rocks)
- Poyraz Island / İncirli / Yellice (Leyah)
- Sazlı Island / Oker
- Taş Island(Klavo)
- Taşlı Island
- Tavuk Island (St Yoannis)
- Tüzüner Island
- Yalnız Island
- Yelken Island
- Yuvarlak Island (Kalamo Pulo)
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