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The Environs of Izmir

Balcova, on the road to Cesme, is one of Turkey's largest thermal spas, with excellent facilities for guests. Camalti, 15 km west of Karsiyaka, is an area of coastal marshes and salt fields that is preserved as an important bird sanctuary - the Izmir Bird Paradise. Enthusiasts can spot many species, including flamingoes and pelicans. The Yamanlar Camligi, a pine forest near the lovely Lake Karagol 40 km. northeast of Karsiyaka, is a popular picnic spot that also has restaurants and a swimming pool. A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpasa (20 km from Izmir) in the Karabel Pass. Belkahve, the highest point above Izmir, overlooks the Gulf of Izmir and is a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee. Formerly a favorite haunt of Ataturk's, it is now the site of the largest statue in his honor. In the village of Birgi is the Cakir Aga Mansion, a fine example of traditional Turkish architecture.

Hot Spring, Balcova

Celsus Library, Ephesus

The cities of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned by St John in the Book of Revelation, are all found in Turkey : Efes (Ephesus), Izmir (Smyrna), Bergama (Pergamum), Akhisar (Thyatira), Sart (Sardis), Alasehir (Philadelphia), and Eskihisar (Laodicea). Tours of one to four days can be arranged to see several or all of the churches.

The Cesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir. The name "Cesme" meaning fountain, refers to the many springs found in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is one of Turkey's most beautiful coastal stretches surrounded by clear blue sea, with a landscape of aniseed, sesame and artichoke fields dotted with fig and gum trees. In the unspoiled bays you can swim in absolute peace Visitors will find excellent holiday accommodation, restaurants, and sports and entertainment facilities. A 14th-century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Cesme, 80 km from Izmir.
 

 

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Today the town is a popular holiday resort with excellent accommodation and restaurants. The 16th-century caravanserai near the fortress, built by Suleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel, while the 19th-century Church of Hagios Haralambos has been restored as the Emir Caka Art Gallery. Thermal baths offer a health-onented escape from modern life Excellent shopping for the finest quality carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items is also possible At night, a lively, fun atmosphere pervades the town, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade. Cesme hosts an annual International Song Contest in the summer. Yachts can be hired to explore the peninsula's splendid coastline. Also, fernes make the run from Cesme to Venice on a weekly basis. The very popular holiday center of Ilica boasts an excellent white sandy beach and the outstanding facilities of the Altin Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex. The bay here is ideal for water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal baths around Ilica are very popular, the best being located on Sifne Bay.

Cesme Castle

 

Pasa Limani (Pasha Harbor) also has a campsite which offers comfortable facilities. In Ilica Bay, the colorful International Cakabey Optimist Yacht Race is held everv year in July. Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Cesme, was ancient Erythrai. Those who climb up to the Acropolis at dusk are rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the bay and islands. Nearby Gerence Gulf is a pristine inlet northeast of the Cesme Peninsula which can be reached by yacht or car. The natural surroundings are relaxing while the bay is ideal for water sports. In Dalyan, a fishing village built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Cesme, some of the region's best fish restaurants border the quay of the lively marina.

 

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Tourists are attracted by the variety of accommodations at Ciftlik and by a long, sandy beach (Pirlanta Plaj), Just outside the town to the southwest. Tursite camping facilities are available to the south, and nearby is one of the area's best beaches, the Altinkum Plaj (Golden Sand Beach). Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, dot the hill above Alacati, a delightful and typical Aegean town. Alacati lies to the south inland from Ilica and the coast. A couple kilometers to the south is a good beach. Many lovely bays along the coast southeast of the town are accessible only by yacht, ensuring peaceful and relaxing anchorage in this popular sailing region Known in ancient times as Clazomenae, Urla iskelesi offers a marina as well as plentiful accommodation in all price ranges. Restaurants on the top of Guvendik hill afford a marvelous view of the bay and its islands. The prosperous little fishing village of Cesmealti is notable for its simple yet excellent fish restaurants. As you drive along the panoramic coastal road of Karaburun Peninsula you pass several peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages Balikliova, Mordogan and Karaburun among others. At Karaburun, pleasant hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain backdrop and the clear, clean water. From Manastir Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Karaburun coast, the Foca coastline opposite, and the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir. On the southern side of the Cesme Peninsula, near the town of Seferihisar, is the small picturesque marina of Sigacik. This important yachting center is surrounded by fortifications dating from the Genoese period and is a good point from which to visit the Temple of Dionysus at the ancient site of Teos as well as lovely Akkum beach. South of Akkum, the New Neptune Holiday Village has windsurfing and diving schools and it is the best area for these sports.

Altin Yunus

Cesme Beach

 

Also in the Torbali area, between the villages of Ozbeykoy and Yenikoy lie the rums of an ancient metropolis. Gumuldur has excellent tourist facilities, beautiful beaches, restaurants and hotels. Near Ahmetbeyli (Claros) to the east, stands the Apollo Temple and the remains of the colossal statue of Apollo. Here you can also enjoy a good fish dinner or a swim at the town's wide beach. A winding panoramic coastal road leads from Ahmetbeyli south to Pamucak beach.