In the province of Balıkesir interesting historical sites seem to harmoniously blend with nature.
The mid-14th century Yıldırım Mosque, built by Beyazıt I, is the city´s oldest mosque while the Zağnos Paşa Mosque, built by and named after the Grand Vizier of Mehmet the Conqueror Zağnos Paşa in 1461, was once part of a great complex. Today only the mosque and baths remain. The Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) built by Mehmet Paşa in 1827 is a smaller version of the Galata Tower. The Karesi Bey Mausoleum of 1336 contains the cenotaphs of Karesi Bey and his five sons. Don’t forget to visit the artefacts that are taken from the area and put on display in the newly-completed Balıkesir Museum (Kuva-i Milliye)!
Enjoy the Natural Life
The beautiful Değirmen Boğazı, an area 10km from Balıkesir on the way to Bursa, lies nestled between two hills; on holidays and weekends families flock to this scenic spot and its restaurants. At Karakol village, photographers can capture three picturesque windmills. Ancient Penderamus, now called Bandırma, is today an important commercial and industrial harbour second to İstanbul in the Sea of Marmara; you can spend a pleasant afternoon in the town’s restaurants and cafes. Belkıs (Kyzikos) lies 10km west of Bandırma; in this ancient city on the isthmus of the Kapıdağ Peninsula, the Temple of Hadrian, a theatre and aqueducts still captivate the visitors. The Kuş Cenneti National Park near Lake Manyas is an ornithological site where 266 different species of birds flourish – every year over three million birds fly through this preserve in April and May being the best months to enjoy the wildlife. 13km southeast of Bandırma in Karacabey, horse farms breed magnificent specimens of this majestic animal. Once known as ancient Erteka, Erdek is just 14km northwest of Bandırma.
As one of the oldest and most famous resort areas on the Sea of Marmara, it offers pristine beaches and every type of accommodation.
Marmara Island, formerly known as Prokonessos, rose to prominence in the Roman period and retained its importance during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras thanks to the marble quarries which supplied stone for extravagant imperial building programs. Near Saraylar Village, Marble Beach derives its name from the natural marble that lies just off the water’s edge. In the town an open-air museum displays artefacts which date back to Roman and Byzantine times. At the marble quarry you can witness every step of the quarrying process.
Türkeli (Avşa) is another holiday island that boasts spectacular beaches and clear water as well as vineyards and wine cellars. In the Manastır district stands the Byzantine Meryem Ana Monastery.
55km southwest of Bandırma is Gönen, one of Turkey’s most important thermal resorts. The fact that the springs were used even in Roman times is witnessed by a 5th-century mosaic from what was originally a Roman bath. The waters come from 500m below ground surfacing at a temperature of approximately 82°C. Another 30km to the northwest, you arrive in Denizkent, a nice vacation spot with lovely beaches. Sındırgı lies at the base of the Alaçam Mountains amid beautiful forests and meadows in a region popular for the weaving of superb Turkish carpets. The rugs of Yağcıbedir are among the most prized in the country and grow lovelier with each passing day.
Nature, Cuisine and History in Harmony
Around the Gulf of Edremit in Balıkesir province are some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country where clear waters meet sandy beaches encircled by silvery green olive groves. Ayvalık is one of the most popular holiday towns on this coastline, located in the midst of pine and olive trees. Its houses ornamented with wood and stone are charming, its waters refreshingly cool even in the heat of summer and its sandy beaches golden and inviting. Cunda Island, linked to Ayvalık via a bridge, is famous for its glorious sunsets, its seafood and animated taverns where conversations invariably continue until the early hours of the morning. Şeytan Sofrası (Devil´s Table), so called because it is set on a tableshaped hill formed from lava, offers a panoramic view over the 22 islands in Ayvalık Bay. A footprint, enclosed by iron bars, is said to be that of the devil himself. There are wonderful sandy beaches approximately 6km south of the town in the Sarımsaklı area.
Altınkum, literally meaning "golden sand", is an apt description of the beautiful beach in this relaxed resort. It is popular with families and has a range of accommodation, with plenty of restaurants and bars for entertainment. There is also an attractive street market in the centre of the resort and lots of shops.
Burhaniye, Ören, Edremit, Akçay and Altınoluk are also among the holiday towns which attract vacationers interested in a relaxing holiday with beautiful scenery and a wealth of historical and archaeological sites.