With its rich history, geography, and nature, the Aegean Sea region, has been the source of inspiration for civilizations since ancient times. Science and philosophy have always flourished in these lands. Since the Neolithic era, Urla has taken a very special place in ancient geography.
Comprised of the rich traditions of the past, the warm human relations interlaced with the peninsula’s multicolored culture, Urla continues to carry along an integral part of that ancient abundance its geography offers.
Urla’s proximity to Izmir, the area’s beaches and forests, historical ruins, the town’s unique local life and configuration in wide geography topped with its illustrious vineyards and rich olive orchards, offers its visitors a peaceful, relaxing, and memorable visit. The most unforgettable part of Urla is its healthy and delicious local cuisine. You can taste distinctive local flavors within a short evening walk.
For those who want to experience nature engulfed in deep blues and lush greens, feel the magic of history and experience the exceptional local cuisine, the destination is Urla…
BRIEF HISTORY OF URLA
The history of Urla dates back to the ancient city of Klazomenai in 2000BC. The ancient city was inhabited by the Ions, who crossed into Anatolia from Greece and established new cities by settling in the region extending from the Izmir Bay to the Mandalay Gulf. This entire region is called Ionia.
The Limantepe Mound in the Iskele District is one of the oldest known ports of the Aegean Sea. The most striking historical evidence here is the Klazomenai Olive Oil workshop, the first and oldest olive oil production facility in Anatolia. It has been open to visitors since 2005.
During the Hellenistic-Roman period, the mainland was evacuated and the settlement on Quarantine Island gained importance. From the various archaeological artifacts excavated at the settlement, it is estimated that it existed until the 5th century.
With the arrival of the Turks into the area in the 1080s Izmir was no longer a Byzantine, but a Turkish city. İzmir and Urla joined the Aydınoğulları Principality in 1330, and a new settlement was established 4 kilometers inland from the coast. In records from the end of the 14th century, Urla was described as a busy marketplace, called Karye Pazarı. Ottoman rule began in 1390, where Urla rapidly developed as a trade point. It is noted that there were about 200 shops in the district marking the development during this period.
The port facility unearthed in the archaeological excavations in Limantepe, located in the Urla Pier area, is one of the earliest examples researched so far in the world. The most important feature of these archaeological excavations is that they are carried out under the sea beside the land.
In the light of the finds uncovered, Limantepe was a strong port that has been at the center of overseas trade relations since the earliest cultural strata. During the Early Bronze Age II period, the city spread over a wider area, and a new defense wall was built, supported by monumental and horseshoe-shaped bastions. When evaluated in terms of its dimensions and architectural remains, Limantepe represents one of the most magnificent settlements of the Aegean Region.
The ancient city of Klazomenai, one of the 12 Ionian cities in the area, spreads from Limantepe to the skirts of Ayyıldız and Cankurtaran hills in the west. Part of the city is on Quarantine Island. The olive oil workshop, which was excavated in Klazomenai, proves that the technology used today was developed in this region for the first time in the world 2600 years ago. The ruins carried by the ancient city of Klazomenai, albeit in a scattered way, are quite rich and worth seeing.
Quarantine Island (Karantina Adası)
While following the traces of the past, you may want to turn your direction to the mysterious Quarantine Island. During the Ottoman period, the island was used to prevent infectious diseases.
The French had started the first Ottoman quarantine zone in 1865. The facility was established for commercial and passenger ships and especially for the pilgrims coming for the northern pilgrimage route, and it remained active until 1950. The education center was built 150 years ago and the first deadly diseases intervention was made here. It later became the head of the most advanced health centers of its time. The facility was used as a Sea and Sun Treatment Institute after 1950 and was transformed into a hospital for bone and joint diseases Hospital in 1960. In 1986 it gained the status of a State Hospital. Today, International medical rescue training sessions are held by the Turkish Ministry of Health at the facilities on the island.
Historical Turkish Baths and Mosques
There are some sites worth visiting today, however, a few are still ruins that need to be rescued. Hersekzade Ahmet Pasha Bath, built in the 15th century, is located in the urban area of town and is registered as an architectural structure that is historically protected. Kamanlı Bath is another building built at around the same time, but is in ruins today, waiting to be restored.
The four walls and the dome of Rüstem Pasha Bath remain in the Rüstem Pasha Complex today, also awaiting rescue. The Rüstem Paşa Mosque stands as the only wholesome building of the complex. It was damaged in a great earthquake during the 19th century, and it was later partially repaired using Byzantine Stones, a site worth a visit.