Ayvalık where olive and pine forests are embraced with sea and where beautiful adjacent bays with beautiful large and small islands, is waiting to be discovered with its architectural structures and fascinating underwater world; It is a tourism paradise where suddenly you can find yourself in the gorgeous streets that smell history while you are walking around Cunda(Alibey) Island and where you can rest your soul in the melody of the silence and you can find yourself together with the nature by getting away from the city life rush, also you can live the sunset in the most beautiful state.
Ayvalık is became settlement of various societies since BC 1500 and later Mysia people who came away from Balkans settled in this region. Respectively, they lived under Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Pergamum Kingdom and Romans dominance.
The Turkish Greeks who left Ayvalık by way of exchange defined Ayvalık as the capital of Aiolis in their later published books. According to one opinion, the region ruled by Turks with the arrival of Turks to Anatolia and the establishment of the Ottoman Empire is established by Ottoman Greeks who came from Kayseri during Jelali revolts in 1620’s. According to another opinion; Ayvalık was entered a period in a different position as autonomous region where Ottoman Greeks live and the only Turks were government officials under Ottoman Empire as from 1770.
In antiquity, the Hekatonisa name was given to Ayvalık Islands. This name came from Apollon, also known as Hekatos, the chief god of the ancient city of Nesos which is said with the same name as Nesos (Moshonisi, Cunda with other name Alibey Island) which is the largest of the islands. Apart from Nesos, there were Chalkis, Pordoselene and Kydonia ancient settlements from Apollon Islands. Chalkis and Pordoselene from these four ancient cities have disappeared, but Kydonia and Nesos, as Ayvalık and Cunda Island have reached the present day.
AYVALIK CITY ARCHITECTURE
Ayvalık is one of the magnificent historical cities of the Anatolian geography, which is able to sustain its historical houses and historical city texture till present day besides its geographical beauty, also the history of the city touches to your soul while you are walking around its narrow streets.
Ayvalık has developed rapidly from the early 1800’s and became an industrial and commercial city. It is became one of the industrial and commercial cities of Aegean with its Olive and olive oil trade based economy. The buildings which make up the historical city texture of Ayvalık mostly built during this period and Ayvalık is a unique site and almost an open air museum with narrow cobblestone streets, stone houses lined side by side, life-oriented faces of houses, sea smell accompanied by wind.
The gradual settlements of houses rising from shore to top, the view of streets which are based on symmetry and system are made up the main shape of Ayvalık’s architecture. Sarımsak stones which are generally red in the houses indigenously are characteristic of the arrangement of the houses. The door and window openings of the Ayvalık houses that are reflecting the neo-classical architectural style are maintained wide and high. In some of two-storey houses, the upstairs is one of types known as ‘’cumbalı’’ which made in the shape of a room protruding towards the street.
AYVALIK RELIGIOUS STRUCTURES
Agia Ianni Church (Saatli Mosque): The old church was built by Ottoman Greeks which is in the center of the district. It has a Closed Greek crusader plan. The clock on bell tower rising from the southwest corner of the old church named the structure. Saatli Mosque has protected the bell tower since the time it served as a church and symbolizes the respect of Aegean’s for different beliefs and cultures. The structure was estimated in built in 1850 was the church of Orthodox Christian community before the exchange and it began to serve as a mosque after 1928 without deteriorating its structure. Saatli Camii with its simple but monumental architecture; has been integrated with the appearance and the life of the city and has strengthened its ties with people with the accumulation of centuries.
Agia Iorgi Church (Çınarlı Mosque): Çınarlı Mosque which looks like opened its own image to the sky is gathered the old age and the tranquillity of plane trees in its garden. Historical plane-trees are defined its life experience in past. In the construction of the structure is located in the center of the district called as market place, sarımsak stone is mainly used. The arched forms placed on the small columns in the frontage arrangement and the network textures and window forms placed on those gave the structure an impressive appearance. It was built by Ottoman Greeks who lived in Ayvalık in the second half of the 19th century. The church was transformed into a mosque in Republican period.
Kato Panaya Church (Hayrettin Paşa Mosque): The look of the structures had to be changed according to conditions of that time, in order to be able to afford the religious and social needs of the Turkish population in Ayvalık. For this reason, big amount of churches in Ayvalık city started to be used as mosques after 1928. With this change, Kata Panaya Church was also became Hayrettin Pasha Mosque as the name of the street and the neighbourhood where it is located. The reason why the basilica planned structure with a nerthex entrance in the west, is highly simple, modest and unadorned, is being one of the two schools that give religious education called ‘’Helen School’’ during Ottoman Greeks period.
Hamidiye Mosque: The Hamidiye Mosque has the characteristic of being only mosque which was built for Muslims living in Ottoman period in 19th century was built during the reign of Abdulhamid II. It is the only unique structure which reflects the historical value of Ayvalık.
Taksiyarhis Church: The church which is located in a neighbourhood where Christians and Muslims live together carries the name of the chief angel Gabriel. Taksiyarhis Church built as the Archbishopric Church, is famous with its paintings of Christian iconography. The church is placed in a large courtyard follows two monumental gates opening to courtyard. The church was built in 1844 as mentioned in its inscription; the basilica planned, stepped built façade has quite modest appearance. Despite the modest façade, the inside of the church is so spectacular to reflect the adornment richness of that period. Specially, icons on the top panels of the Iconostasis are paintings of Crete Ecole. You can see a realistic and balanced composition is integrated in these paintings that have the features of the Renaissance painting art and the themes of the Christian iconography. Taksiyarhis Church opened for visitors at the status of monument museum in 2013 following the restoration works finished.
Ayazma Church: Ayazma Church is located in the neighbourhood of Kemal Pasha in Ayvalık; is headed towards the sky with an elegant face, trying to escape from the closeness of the courtyard surrounded by high walls. The longitudinally rectangle planned Ayazma Church has straight cut stone wall network, with the symmetry and modesty in appearance except the front entrance gate. The dignified looking of the reddish color of the sarımsak stone even more emphasizes the monumental plan of the façade. The Ayazma Church known as the Ayazma which means holy water is a different visual from the Greek Orthodox Church mentality. Especially the west side of the rectangle planned basilica structure carries the traces of the ancient architecture.
AYVALIK UNDERWATER WORLD
Ayvalık which is a rising star in tourism with its natural texture, history and blue-flagged beaches, distinguishes with its underwater world beauties. One of the most important of the underwater riches is the Red Corals. Red Corals are increasing day by day in Ayvalık which generally finds a living area in Red Sea. Ayvalık waits to be discovered with its underwater world and reefs, shallow and deep water shipwrecks, beautiful amphora remains and sponge species.
Ayvalık is on two important roads which are very important and busy for transportation. It is on the highway between Izmir and Canakkale. In addition, vehicles coming over Bandirma-Balikesir will be transported from Edremit route to Ayvalık after joining the Edremit-Izmir road.
Transportation from Istanbul to Ayvalık;
With The Fast Ferry;
Bandirma will take around 1 hour 30 min over Yenikapi. After Susurluk-Edremit-Ayvalık will be your route.
Istanbul-Tekirdag-Eceabat-Canakkale-Ezine-Ayvacik-Edremit-Ayvalık will be your route.
Yalova-Bursa-Balikesir-Edremit-Ayvalık will be your route.
Transportation by Air;
Körfez Airport in Edremit district is connected to the Borajet Airlines which has flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The distance from Körfez Airport to Ayvalık is 40 km. and Borajet Airlines has shuttle service.
Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport has 175 km distance to Ayvalık.