Bandirma Tourist Attractions
Southern Sea of MarmaraSituation and ImportanceThis large port lies on a bay of the same name on the southern Sea of Marmara, facing the southeast side of the KapiDag peninsula.
It has an airport and is the terminus of the Izmir to Balikesir railroad. A busy commercial and industrial center, it has a regular ferry service to Istanbul (the first modern harbor was built in 1924). In 1943 a 2,500ha/6,180 acre farm was set up on the southern outskirts of town to rear merino sheep. Because of Bandirma's industries, its bay is not particularly attractive to holidaymakers. But there are still a number of sandy beaches e.g. at Karsiyakaköyü, and also near the Kyzikos ruins.HistoryLittle is known of the early history of the town or its origins. It was Mysian to begin with, and later - probably in the guise of a small fishing village - part of the kingdom of Kyzikos. In 1076, at the time of Sultan Süleiman Kutulmus, it came under the hegemony of the Seljuks of Rum. After their empire collapsed, it was part of the Karasi beylik. Under Ottoman rule (until 1922) the population was predominantly Greek and Armenian. A substantial section of the town was destroyed in a fire in 1874.
Southeast of Kus/Manyas Gölü, near the village of Ergili (formerly Eski Köy, i.e. "old village"), are the remains of ancient Daskylos, founded in the seventh century B.C. by the father of the Lydian King Gyges. Later the Persian satraps of the small state of Phrygia made it into their capital. Pharnabazos built a palace and had a splendid garden laid (foundation walls can still be seen). Tomb reliefs and several imprints from Persian stone seals were also uncovered during excavation; they are now in the archeological museums of Istanbul and Ankara.
About 26km/16mi northwest of Gönen the Çanakkale road touches the Sea of Marmara coast at Denizkent. Here miles of sandy beaches and numerous holiday villages cater for mainly Turkish holidaymakers.A short distance before Denizkent, on the left, is the Tahir Ovasi model farm, founded jointly by the Turkish agricultural ministry and the Germano-Turkish Association. As well as breeding horses, sheep and plants it provides agricultural training.
Erdek, on the southwest corner of the Kapidag peninsula about 20km/14mi northwest of Bandirma, not only enjoys a pleasantly equable climate but is blessed with an exceptionally attractive location as well. Since about 1950 it has proved more and more popular with the crowds of holidaymakers who come from the cities to the Sea of Marmara, and numerous apartment blocks have been built to accommodate them. Until 1921 the town was called Pithos and the population was mainly Greek. When the Greeks left large parts of Pithos were burned down. Erdek arose from the rubble, a new and to a large extent planned seaside town.In antiquity Milesian settlers founded a colony called Artake on the site now occupied by Erdek. Destroyed by the Persians, it subsequently took on the modest role of a harbor for Kyzikos. Fishing for palamut, a short-finned variety of tuna, must have been of considerable importance at the time because the fish is featured on the kingdom's coinage.
Intensive rice cultivation is the most striking feature of the wide Gönen plain, the cereal being grown in huge paddy fields along the length of the Gönen Çayi almost as far as its estuary near Denizkent. Gönen itself, a well-known thermal spa as well as the district town, is situated on the old Cannakale road, about 50km/30mi southwest of Bandirma, right on the border of the Troas. Relics of the past include some remains from an ancient sacred spring dedicated to Artemis (Artemis Thermae; fifth century mosaics in the Mosaic Museum in the spa area of the town). The hot springs (up to 82°C/179°F) assist the treatment of urinary, skin and nervous disorders. About 13km/8mi south of Gönen, in the village of Eksidere in the Delical Dag, there is another spa (Dag Ilicasi) with hot springs (43°C/109°F) said to help cure rheumatism, gynecological and gastric complaints.Other places of interest around Gönen include: the Yarasa Maglari bat caves, a short distance to the northwest at Dereköy; the Iskender Köprüsü, a very ancient - possibly fourth century B.C. - bridge at Güvercinli, about 11km/7mi north; and the remains of a granite block fort at Babayaka, 7km/4mi from the town.
The Kapidag peninsula northwest of Bandirma is linked to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Mainly composed of granite (rock arch at ancient Dindymos), it is partly wooded, with mountains up to 782m/2,566ft in height. When still an island in antiquity it was known as Arctonnesos, inhabited, according to legend, by Zeus's wetnurses transformed into bears.
At the northern end of the isthmus between the Kapidag peninsula and the mainland, beside the Bandirma road about 10km/6mi southwest of Erdek, lie the remains of the ancient trading colony of Kyzikos (or Belkis), known by the poetic name of Dindymos. It was probably settled from Miletus in the second millennium B.C. and was certainly inhabited by Miletian settlers by 756 B.C. It is mentioned in the story of Jason and the Argonauts which tells how in error they killed the hospitable king who had earlier made them welcome. In 334 Alexander the Great built two bridges joining the southern tip of the island to the mainland. After Kyzikos declined, sand continuously washing up against the piles of the bridges caused the channel slowly to silt up and the isthmus was formed. Following Lucullus's decisive victory over Mithridates, Kyzikos became a "free" city and capital of Mysia. Badly damaged on several occasions by earthquakes (particularly in 543 and 1063) and by Arab assault (673), and further ravaged in fighting between Byzantines, Seljuks and Crusaders, it was finally abandoned in 1224. Little now remains to be seen, only a section of the walls, the site of the theater and some ruins of the amphitheater and of Hadrian's Temple to Zeus from which in the 16th century columns were removed to embellish Istanbul's mosques. Finds from Kyzikos are displayed in the museum in Erdek.
Situated about 10km/6mi southeast of Manyas, below a flat-topped hill called Keltepe, Soguksu takes its name from the cold freshwater springs which gush out above the village. On Keltepe itself are ruins of a much older and larger town, thought to have been ancient Poemanios (Poemanenos). This, some experts believe, was the principal settlement of the Poemanens, a people who for a time were under the sway of their more powerful neighbor Kyzikos. The site was still inhabited in 1832, but by 1902 it was already abandoned and falling into ruin. Relics from this period can be seen among the remains, including two almost completely destroyed mosques, two ruined türbes and a crumbling fort (possibly Byzantine) on the spur occupied by the acropolis. From the latter there are splendid views of Kus Gölü and of the small village of Soguksu below. The village was founded from nothing in the 19th century by returning Circassian migrants.
This 52ha/128 acre nature reserve known as "Bird Paradise" was set up by the German hydrologist and zoologist Curt Crosswig in 1938. Frequented by some 250 different species of bird, the sanctuary has a small ornithological museum and an observation tower erected in 1952 by the Hydrology Department of the University of Istanbul. Occupying a largely unspoiled area of the lakeside near Sigircik in the northeast corner of Manyas Gölü (now renamed Kus Gölü, "Bird Lake"), it was designated a National Park in 1959 and awarded the Europa Diploma in 1976. Specially built hides enable resident species and migrant visitors to be observed without causing them the least disturbance. Herons (common herons, night-herons, purple-herons, squacco herons and little egrets) and spoonbills crowd together in the trees. The two species of pelicans, Dalmatian and pink, and the cormorants, on the other hand, keep themselves to themselves.
The story of Manyas, center of its district and situated about 10km/6mi south of Kus Gölü, is typical of many a small Turkish town. The present community took root at the earliest towards the end of the 19th century (probably around 1877), when 25 Tartar families, political returnees from Dobrudscha in Rumania, took over what was a fair ground and established Tatarköy (Tartar Village). Although new, the village stood on the site of ancient Miletopolis and so could justifiably claim a much longer if somewhat confused history. In fact the name Miletopolis was still in use in a contracted form ("Maltepe") for the spot where the present town stands. Today very little is known about Miletopolis, few finds having ever come to light. Rather more is known of Manyas's immediate predecessor, Eski Manyas. There are two spas in the vicinity of Manyas, Ilica (Hamamli) near Cingir, and Kum Ilicasi.The Manyas (Kus) Panayiri, mentioned as early as the 17th century by Evliya Çelebi in his travelogue, is held twice a year (June third-sixth and September 15th-17th).
Kus (Manyas) Gölü
Lake Manyas (166sq.km/64sq.mi; maximum depth: 8m/26ft) nestles among hills about 20km/12.5mi south of Bandirma. The east side of the freshwater lake is now the Kuscenneti bird sanctuary, while in the south there are some tamarisk swamps with waterlilies and reed beds. The lake is fed mainly by the Kadiköyü Deresi and teems with plankton, fish and birdlife. Known to the ancients as Lake Miletopolis it drains across the Kara Dere into the Koca Çayi.
Of the 23 islands in the Sea of Marmara the very mountainous Marmara Adasi (Marmara Island) is much the best known. It is also the largest (118sq.km/45sq.mi) and gave the Sea of Marmara its name, being famous for its marble quarries (marmara = marble). Over the centuries it has supplied stone for everything from Roman sarcophagi to Ottoman mosques. An abundance of fish in the waters surrounding it provided an additional important source of prosperity. Today Marmara Adasi is a popular holiday resort. A second island, Avsa, three nautical miles south, has also developed into a tourist resort. Very much smaller (21sq.km/8sq.mi) it contains just two villages. There are boats from Erdek and Bandirma.
The district town of Susurluk, on the Balikesir road about 55km/33mi south of Bandirma, has few sights of interest apart from the Deveci Hani, a 16th century Ottoman caravanserai, and an Ottoman medrese with a little mosque. The countryside around the town however is dotted with well-known spas including Gökçedere Ilicasi (30km/20mi southwest, the water being a warm 25°C/77°F) and Kepekler Kaplicasi (Göbel, 10km/6mi north, on the road to Bandirma; hot springs 45°C/113°F; treatment for rheumatism and sciatica). The waters at Ömerköy Ilicasi (about 30km/19mi southwest, on the railroad line to Balikesir) are beneficial for general aches and nervous disorders, while at Yildiz Kaplicasi (about 15km/10mi south, on the Simav Çayi) there are therapeutic hot springs (74°C/165°F) for treating rheumatism, sciatica and similar complaints.