Balikesir has an edge with both the Marmara and the Aegean Seas. City of Balikesir is the city that has the most islands. The region is a real paradise for tourism with its natural wonders.
Balikesir, which dates back to the Ancient Bronze Age, has been reighned by the Lidyans, the Persians, the Galats, the Bergama Kingdom, the Roman and Byzantine Empires. After the War of Malazgirt in 1071, Karesi Bey, son of Kalem Shah Bey one of the Seljuq Beys, made it into the capital city, but later it has accepted Ottoman reign and was included in the Ottoman lands by Orhan Gazi in 1345.
Yildirim Kulliyesi is the most significant edifice in Balikesir coming down to us from the Ottoman Empire. The kulliye consists of a mosque, a madrasah and an alms house. The mosque and the madrasah were restored after the earthquakes but the alms house has preserved its originality. Zaganospasha Kulliyesi is another important edifice. It was built by Zaganos Pasha, vizier to Mohamnad II., in 1461. The Kursunlu Mosque, on the other hand, was built Yusuf Sinan, the Seljuq Commander and the Conqueror of Edremit, in 1231. You can also see the tomb of Yusuf Sinan next to the mosque.
There are pictures of ceilings and walls belonging to the early 19th century in the Tahsiarkos Church. The Clock Tower built by Mehmet Pasha in 1827 resembles the Galata Tower in Istanbul. There is also the Karesi Bey Tomb dated 1336 in Balikesir. The tomb has five graves belonging to Karesi Bey and his sons. And never forget the Balikesir Kuvay-i Milliye Museum. You can see interesting archeological remnants here.
Balikesir, a meeting point for the clean sea water and the beaches; with its bays surrounded by bright color green olive trees, its islands big and small; the Ida Mountain, mentioned in the Epic of Homeros, where the most oxygen in the world can be found; and with its spas offering cures to people for thousands of years, is one of the places in Turkey where tourism was born.
The Ayvalik Seytan Sofrasi is situated in a serene forest that soothes the souls of the visitors. You should visit the Seytan Sofrasi to watch sun rise or the sun set. There are wonderful fish restaurants, Saint Nicholaus Church decorated with wall paintings, a large number of mosques and historical houses on the Alibey Island that is 8 km from Seytan Sofrasi. You can tour around the remnants of an antique asylum in the Sarmisakli Island. The Degirmen Valley situated on the road to Bursa, between two hills in 10 km distance to Balikesir, is just the right place to go for your weekend tours. You can take a breather in the Karakol Village and take photos of the three windmills beautifull as works of art, if you have your camera with you, of course!
The Remnants of the region: Kyzikos – Erdek, Deasklaion- Bandirma/ Eregli, Saraylar – Marmara, Antandros- Edremit/Altinoluk are ideal for having a nice time in the embrace of the nature. There are four points in the region where you can reach the Kaz Mountains. These are the forest paths up from Zeytinli, the Kizilkecili Village, the Gure Village and Altinoluk .
The beaches and the clean seas in the region are a great attraction for people during the summer term. Akcay is 10 km from Edremit and is a good alternative for sea-lovers.
The distance between Altinoluk- Edremit is 28 km. This region offers a wide range of accommodation options.
Balikesir is situated in a geographical area rich in spas. The Edremit-Gure Spa is 12 km to Edremit and 3 km to Akcay. The Bostanci- Entur Spas are in the Edremit exit of Burhaniye and 10 km from Burhaniye. This spa has facilities built with the latest technology. The Edremit-Derman Spa, on the other hand, is 3.5 km from the district of Edremit. The facility offerss bathing opportunities in 21 rooms with bath tubs. The Gonen Spas are very well-known, too.
You’ll have the chance to be in intimate terms with nature within the borders of Balikesir. Pinarbasi is a picnic area within the boundaries of the Gure Village, 6 km to Akcay. This area includes a trout production farm. Sahinderesi is located at the Altinoluk region skirts of the Kaz Mountains. It is a well-wooded picnic area with its cold spring waters. Caglayan Picnic Area is in the Kizilkecili Village and 3 km to Akcay. There is a 800-year old plane tree within the picnic area.. There are wood lots and cold water available in the Hanlar picnic site, which is 35 km far from Akcay. Gure Gelincami Picnic Site houses the Sarikiz Events, organised by Gure Municipality every year. Sutuven in on Izmir-Canakkale road, 20 km from Edremit. The Sutuven Waterfalls pouring down from a height of 8 m and named after the region itself are worth seeing. After the Sutuven picnic area, proceeding through the path on the other side of the stream for 1 km, you arrive at Hasanboguldu. Hasanboguldu is an outstanding picnic area with its lake with its waterfalls and lots of fish. Subasi, located 2.5 km to the west of Altinoluk and shadowed by centennial plane and walnut trees, welcomes its quests with its outdoor cafes in the country side.
The Ilin hosmerim dessert and the Susurluk ayran are the famous flavors of the region. Its colognes and the Yagci Bedir Carpets are original products that are recommendable for purchasing.www.balikesir.gov.trwww.balikesir.bel.tr
Bandirma, situated on the Kapidag peninsula, has become an important connection point for Southern Marmara and the Aegea regions, after the facilitation of transportation to Istanbul, thanks to the ferryboat voyages. Especially the surrounding villages are worth visiting. When you leave Bandirma and proceed towards the center of the peninsula, you will be welcomed by the cosy holiday resort Erdek. With its long coastline and the various accommodation opportunities it provides, Erdek is a popular town during the summer season. The antique city of Kyzikos, also known as Belkis, situated between Erdek-Bandirma, dates back to 7 B.C. The works of art excavated from the antique city at about 10 km to the west of Bandirma can be seen in the Erdek Museum. Those willing to see the antique city, shall carry on their expedition in the direction of the Hamamli Village.The Hadrian Temple, antique theater and the aqueducts in the antique city are impressive.
You can see Karacabey in the southeast of Bandirma. The Karacabey Havrasi, which is a horse rasing farm, is the ideal place for those who like horse riding. 40 minutes after leaving Bandirma, you arrive at the Cayagzi Village situated in the east of the peninsula. This is a cosy seaside village that lives on fishing and growing olives and which is famous, especially, for its red onions with a distinct flavor. Tatlisu, Yukari Yapici and Cakil are the preferred areas of the peninsula for the summer holidays. Tatlisu is the place most suitable for accommodation. One of the ways of getting to know the Kapidag peninsula closer is making a boat tour. This is a chance not to be lost for those who can afford it.
There are two important islands off the Kapidag peninsula. These are the Marmara and the Avsa Islands.
The Marmara Island (Prokonessos) took an important place during the Roman, Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires due to its rich marble reserves, and the marbles excavated here decorated the architectural works built by the emperors of the era. The Mermer Beach near the Saray Village is named after the marble reserves that are almost visible above the water. In the open air museum in the village, the remnants of the Roman and Byzantine eras are on exhibition. Avsa, with its wonderful beaches and productive vineyards, is an island worth visiting. In the town of Manastir, there is the Mother Mary Monastery coming down to our day from the Byzantine period. The Avsa Island is also known as the Turkelli Island. The area offers a wide range of accommodation opportunities. You can take a boat tour around the nearby islands and the island villages, if you like. There are also the Pasha Port, Koyun and Zeytinli Islands nearby.
Situated 55 km to the south of Bandirma, in the direction of Biga, Gonen, which was famous during the Roman Empire and which houses important spas of Turkey, is among the places that should be seen. There is a mosaic belonging to the 5th century in a bath dating back to the Roman era. The water of the spa comes from 50o meter underground and reaches up to a temperature of 82 degrees.
Sindirgi, situated on the skirts of the Alacam forests, in the middle of the forests and the pastures and famous for its carpets, on the other hand, is a place you can have really a nice time.. The rugs manufactured in Yagcilbedir are much-looked for. The older these carpets get, the more precious they are. Ayvalik, Burhainye, Oren, Edremit, Akcay and Altinoluk, which are perfect holiday resorts for those willing to have a peaceful holiday along its glittering sea and its very green environment and to see the archeological and historical places, are not too far away from Bandirma, either.
The Manyas county of Balikesir is especially famous for its spas and worl-renown Kus Cenneti. There is evidence that it has been a center for settlement since 7th century B.C. It was reigned by the Persians for some time and was called the city of Daskyleon, which was the garrison of the Persian Satrab Pharnabazos.
The spas of Manyas are near the Kizik Village. Their waters are around 40-50 degrees. The Serpin Manyas and Kizik Village Thermal Spa Facilities are at the service of the visitors.
The Kus Cenneti National Park houses 239 species of birds immigrating from the southern countries to breed every year in late winter. An average of three million immigrant birds choose Manyas and Kus Golu, which are serene and ideal for building their homes.
It is possible to come across the interesting sides of bird life in Kus Cenneti. A wide area can be observed from the watchtower between March-July and September- Ocotber. Those that happen to be in Manyas during these months, meet the magical atmosphere of Kus Cenneti.
The Edremit Bay, situated in the Olive Growing Riviera, is surrounded by Altinoluk, Akcay, Edremit and Oren. Edremit (Pidasus) founded in 1443 B.C. is located between the Kaz Mountain and the Edremit Bay. In some ancient books, it is referred to as Adramytteion. It came under the reign of Turks after being reigned by the Lidyans, Persian, Romans and the Byzantine.
Along with such historical buildings as the Edremit Kursunlu Mosque (1231), the Esref Rumi Mosque and the Emir Ali Tomb, it has got a museum as well. There are the works of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuqian and Ottoman periods and there is a weaponry collection on exhition in the museum within the city library. The old settlement of Edremit was founded by the Antandros Pelesgois. It was called as the city of the Lelegs and the people of Kilikya. The coins found in the area show that the protector of the city was Artemis. Antandros, which was an important seaboard city, was settled starting from the 6th century B.C. to the Roman Empire.
The Kaz Mountains National Park, which has its roots in mythology and which is named after Kaz (Ida Mountain, 1774 m.) is one of Turkey’s most beautiful places and has the most bracing climate. Mythology says that the Ida Mountain housed the first beauty contest of the world and Paris has awarded Aphrodite, who was selected as the winner of the contest, with an apple. In a tour taken around the Ida Mountain, you’ll come across the tombs of Sarikiz and her father, the goose yard, the remnants of antique walls and fountains. The Sahin Deresi Canyon, full of fresh air and surrounded by soothing herbs, enables air circulation by communicating the mountain air with the sea air and the sea air with the mountain air. In the Tahtakuslar Village between Akcay and Altinoluk, the Ethnographical Museum, which has an arts gallery and a library, is worth seeing.
At the outskitts of the Kaz Mountain, Gure, with its old streets and houses, fountains and its mosque dating back to the 19th century, has been a spa center since the ancient times, as well. It is possible to find hotels and facilities overlooking the sea all around Altinoluk, which is one of the popular holiday resorts. In addition to its beaches, market place, tea gardens, and restaurabts, it has clean and nice air. The Kucukkuyu District of Canakkale situated on the Altinoluk road is a serene and cosy area that hasn’t lost its natural beauty. The Zeus horses on the hillside, the Adatepe Village with its old houses and the surroundings of Mihlicay are among the places worth visiting.
Oren, which is a district of the county of Burhaniye has sandy beaches, a shallow and blue flagged sea, qualified holiday resorts and hotels.
It is a seaside town, which a district of Balikesir, in the middle of the pine trees. Of the 22 little islands in the Ayvalik Bay, there is settlement only in the Cunda Island.
It is claimed that the name Ayvalik comes from Eolya. In the mythology, Eolya is the region where the Eols; settling in the region extending from the Edremit Bay to Izmir, covering Midilli; lived. There are no remnants of the antique era in Ayvalik, however the names of the surrounding islands are mentioned in the antique ersources. There was settlement in these cities during the Roman and Byzantine eras, as well. While a little fishing town until the late 18th century, it became an important seaside town, which was developed in terms of trade, industry and culture, in the 19th century.
It is really impressive to watch Ayvalik and its islands, especially the good restaurants, many mosques, the Saint Nicholaus church and the small Alibey (Cunda) Island taking the lead. You can go to the Cunda Island in the evening and have wonderful time watching the sunset, while at the same time devouring your meal of fish, wine and olive oil run hors d’oeuvres. The Sarmisakli Beach, which is called as Timarhane Adasi, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area that have the remnants of an antique asylum. The stone lanes, salient stone houses, 19th century churches and monasteries and the natural beauties of Ayvalik are eye-catching. It is a lively and fervid holiday resort full of history, culture and olive trees.