The Çeşme Castle, with its soundness defying its 505-year history, architectural structure, and its museum bearing trace of civilizations, is one of the must-see values of Çeşme.
The beachfront castle was built by Architect Ahmet’s son Mehmet, on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II via the Governor of Aydın province, Mir Haydar. Currently, due to land reclaimations in time, there is a street between the castle and the sea; but it is still steady as a rock as if it was built yesterday. The south entrance portcullis has all the makings of the Ottoman architecture. There are two more gates to the citadel. The castle, which was considerably worn away during the Ottoman- Russian war in 1770, restored, and lost its military significance after the Crimean War, now hosts Çeşme Archaeological Museum.
The most important artefacts among the 320 archaeological remains, 126 ethnographic remains, and 31 coins (totally 477 remains mostly excavated in Erythrai, Çeşme Centre, Alaçatı, Kalemburnu and Çeşme Bay) being exhibited in the museum are the underwater archaeological remains of the ships and galiots sunken during the Ottoman-Russian War in Çeşme Bay, took place on 6 July 1770, and the related documents brought from Russian Federation.
The castle hosts International Çeşme Music Competition and Çeşme Festiva, and brings music and history together.
Totally different beauties are hidden around every corner of the Çeşme Castle, one of the first artefact attracting attention when you come to Çeşme by sea. The castle, which enables you to get a panoramic view of the district at the top, must be the first stop of your Çeşme trip.
The castle can be visited on any day of the week, except Mondays, between the hours 08:30-12:00, and 13:00-17:00. The Museum is at a distance of 80km from Adnan Menderes Airport, 72km from Izmir, 7km from Ilıca, and 10km from Alaçatı.
The Caravanserai, built by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1528, adds an extra beauty to Çeşme. The Caravanserai, which was used for accommodation of foreign traders, now offers service as a hotel with 45 rooms. There are also entertainment venues and shopping malls within the Caravanserai.
The thermal springs in the sea make Ilıca Beach -and other beaches around- big thermal pools. One of the most important features of Çeşme beaches, in particular Ilıca Beach, is that the shoreline (of approximately a hundred meters from the coast through the sea) is at a depth not over human’s head. As the scientific findings show that the UV light in thermal-spring-fed-shallow-waters is good for human health, it can be said that Çeşme beaches, in particular Ilıca beach, offers you a healthy holiday opportunity.
It is a 5-km-long bay having adorable beaches. This bay smacks of Ilıca Beach, and is now one of the most rapidly-developing tourism areas of Çeşme. The calmest beach of this bay, protected against north winds, is Aya Yorgi Beach (Sakin Deniz Plajı).
ŞİFNE-GREAT PORT (BÜYÜK LİMAN) -PASHA PORT (PAŞA LIMANI)
The shoreline, northeastwardly extending to Şifne (Ilıca Beach at the centre), is a stunning centre with its beautiful beaches and SPAs. The bays of Great Port and Pasha Port are the places where touristic facilities, camping sites, and summer housings cluster. Transportation to this important touristic centre, 5km away from the Ilıca Centre, is provided from Ilıca.
DONKEY ISLAND (EŞEK ADASI)
With its virgin bays and hospitable donkeys, the Donkey Island, formerly named as “Goni”, which is an hour’s sailing away from Çeşme, is an ideal place for excursion yachting/boat trips. Its bays, not exposed to north winds because of its natural position, are suitable for underwater and surface water sports. On the island, almost entirely covered by maquis, there is a wind-driven fresh water-well for the donkeys. The island only serves for touristic purposes, and it is not permitted to stay over-night as it is considered as a National Park.
BLACK ISLAND (KARAADA)
Beside the church remains, there are also some ancient stone houses on the island, where the Greeks lived in the past. The Bandırma Bay and the two bays at the Mercan gullet are among the bays the Black Island visitors prefer to swim at. During summer season, beginning from June, daily boat trips are organised from Çeşme to Black Island.
Alaçatı, with its cobblestone alleys shadowed by the blue windowed stone houses from whose balconies bougainvilleas lean out, offers peace to its visitors.
Alaçatı, with its historic fabric going back to 1800s, is considered not only Izmir’s but also the world’s one of the most beautiful places. Although it still bears the traces of sad migration stories it witnessed; it achieved to create a cultural mosaic whose common ground is Aegean. Alaçatı, with its windy days exceeding 330 days a year, is one of the most important windsurfing centres in the world
Agios Konstantinos Church(1874), one of the four churches known to be standing until 1970s, is now used as the marketplace mosque.
Ildırı village, with its nature and historical remains, is an ideal place for same-day visitors. Ildırı is located on the ancient city Erythrai. It is one of the 12 cities of the Ionia Community established by the Cretans, and where Lycians and Carians lived. The remains of the Erythrai Theatre is still magnificent. The view of Chios and large and small islands within the Gerence Gulf is gorgeous from the hill where the ancient theatre located.
With its natural beaches and camping sites, ILDIRI and its township covering also the ancient Erythrai city, is a frequent destination for campers. An asphalt road connects Şifne and Ildırı, which is 22 km away from the Centre of Çeşme, and 15 km away from Ilıca.
The gumwoods of Çeşme, which has survived 6000 years, are spectacular. These trees, not exceeding 300, are under protection of Çeşme Municipality.
Gum jam and mastic are produced from the gum mastic, which is obtained from these trees and can be used for multi-purposes. Beside its taste property on our tables, gum is also used for drug and paint production. Various medicines against hydrophobia, snake bites, stomach discomforts, intestinal and lung diseases are produced from this gum.
After İzmir-Çeşme highway exit, windmills take place on the windy Değirmendere Hill, at the left side of the very beginning of the road to Çakabey Monument and at right side of the urban freeway to Dalyan and Ilıca. Also many northward windmills erected on high altitude areas of Alaçatı, Çiftlikköy, Dalyanköy, Aya Yorgi, Germinyan, Reisdere, and Ildırı, exposed to the dominant winds (northeast, north, and northwest) of the region.
What to Eat?
Sea foods take place on the top of the local cuisine. More in particular the sea bream, sea bass, octopus, mussel... Your stomach will have a nice fast-food-feast with “Kumru”, another symbol of the district. The far-famed “Kumru” sellers aligned in different parts of Çeşme witness long queues in the summer months.
Famous Alaçatı meatball, gum jam, and gummy ice cream are other local tastes you should try… Worldwide exported flavourful melons of Çeşme and artichoke, the absolute must of olive oil dishes, are also the complementary elements of your Dalyan holiday…
What to Buy?
On your way back to home, you may buy olive, gum jam, mastic and wine made from grapes grown in the vicinity. If you like traditional outfits, gauze dresses are just for you.
How to Go?
Transportation from Izmir to Dalyan can be either through 80-km-long highway or through 77-km-long narrow-asphalt-road which is known as “Eski Yol (Old Road)”. Tourists who come to Izmir by air, land, or sea can transit to Çeşme and other destinations by bus. In high summer seasons, there is also a regular bus service to İstanbul and Ankara which operates twice a day (in the morning and evening). Tourists from Chios can take Turkish and Greek ferries that operate in between Chios and Çeşme. It takes one hour from Chios to Çeşme. The tourists that will depart from Turkey can also navigate from Çeşme to Port of Bari and Port of Brindisi (Italy).