Gokceada Island is on the Aegean Sea 18km from the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was originally called Imbros or Imroz and the name was officially changed to Gökçeada in 1970; this is Turkey’s largest island having an area of 285 square kilometres and a population of over 8,000. The island of Semadirek is on its north side, Limni on its southwest side and Bozcaada on the south.
The mound is 9m above land level and 18m above sea level. Halime Hüryılmaz, an Associated Professor from the Department of Archaeology at the Hacettepe University, has been carrying out excavations since 1996 and seven archaeological levels have been identified with the first containing Cyclopaean masonry and some Mycenaean pottery. Settlements in the tumulus date from the Early and Late Bronze Ages going back 5,000 years and in ancient times the site was on an estuary but it is now 1.5km inland.
HistoryIn Greek mythology it is said to be the Palace of Thetis, mother of Achilles and king of Phthia and that the Greek sea god Poseidon rested his horses in the deep sea between Imbros and the Greek island of Samothrace. Homer wrote of the Imbrosian’s fighting the Trojans during the Trojan War and Thoukydides said Imbrosian’s were descendants of immigrants from Athens and spoke the Hellenic Ionic language.
Places to Visit in Gokceada Island
Yildizkoy BayThis is the most beautiful bay on the island that has some very interesting rock formations and can be walked to from both the villages of Yukarı Kaleköy and Yenibademli Village. The beautiful underwater area between Yıldızköy and Yelkenkaya has been made into a National Park by the Turkey Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) and is the only one of its kind in Turkey. Scuba diving for recreational purposes is allowed here.
Yenibademli TumulusThe first archaeological excavations undertaken on the island was at the Yenibademli Tumulus (ancient burial mound) in the Kalekoy area 3km from the town centre.
AyatadoriVillage of Olives The charming Ayatadori village is 3km from Gokceada town centre and sits on a hillside surrounded by olive trees. The village residents are predominantly Greek and it is a very interesting place to visit in both summer and winter. Dibek coffee, which is unique to the island and famous throughout Turkey, is served here along with delicious local cheese.
Tepekoy Village – AgridiaThe village is 10km from Gokceada town centre and is the highest village on the island. The residents here are also predominantly Greek and during the Virgin Mary festivals in August each year Greek people from the world over flock to the village. Pınarbaşı (Ispilya) is a popular attraction where people go to picnic under the century old plane trees by natural flowing waters and to escape the high heat of summer.
Derekoy Village – IskinitThis is the oldest village on the island and 16.5km from Gökçeada town centre. In the 1950-60s it had the largest population and highest number of houses (600) in Turkey. One sight worth seeing in the village is the historical laundry. In the forest close to the village are the Marmara Waterfall (Marmaros Falls) which is a very popular place for picnicking and hiking although the flow of the waterfall during summer months greatly diminishes.
Laz Koyu – Laz BayDue to the islands natural structure there are many large and small bays and the Laz Bay is located at Sahinkaya and has a beautiful beach and is a great place to spend the day.
Aydincik BeachAydıncık is the most popular beach on the island, located 13km south of Gökçeada town centre and is close to Salt Lake (Tuz Gölü). The beach is 2km long, attracts many windsurfing enthusiasts and has a Surf School that was established in 2004. There are also camping facilities here.
Salt Lake - Tuz GölüMany visitors come to cover themselves in the dark sludge mud formed by the Salt Lake because of its chemical properties that help to cure rheumatism, psoriasis and arthritis. Analysis shows the mud contains quartz, sulphur, sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, barium, magnesium, carbonate, sulphate and sodium bicarbonate. It is also rich in manganese, titanium, aluminium, silica and has a 6.5 value of methylene blue. At various times of the year many different bird species can be seen including flamingos, wild ducks and wild geese.
Kaskaval Cape – Cheese RocksThe rocks acquired their name from the interesting formations that look like cheddar cheese hoops placed on top of each other. They are located east of Kuzu harbour but can only be viewed from the sea by boat. The legend of the rock formations refer to a rich, miserly, stubborn old woman who had many sheep and goats and she believed it would help her reach heaven if she made vast amounts of cheese into the round blocks and place them in rows. As she did not share the cheese with anyone God was angry with her and on the 1st of March he punished her by sending rain, snow and fierce winds that froze the cheese, which in then turned to stone.
Iskiter CastleThe castle is located at Kalekoy overlooking the plain of Cinarli Plateau. It is one of the islands oldest structures, was built by the Genoese using rubble stone and a wonderful place from where to watch the sun set.
Kaya Mezarı – Rock TombThe rock tomb is 18km from Gökçeada town centre in the district of Kokina. The two rectangular graves sit side by side and believed to have been built during Roman times.
Getting to GokceadaBY CAR: From Istanbul follow Tekirdag, Keşan, Gelibolu , Eceabat and Kabatepe route. If you are coming from the Anatolian side head to Canakkale first then follow the route to ferry-pier in Kabatepe. BY BUS: Most bus companies in Turkey run from the major cities to Canakkale every day. BY PLANE: There are direct flights from Istanbul to Gökçeada the airport is 6 km away from Gökçeada town centre BY SEA: Ferries run to the island throughout the day to Kabatepe Pier and the trip takes around 90 minutes.
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