Our trip started from Edremit in a rainy Aegan morning and ended in Old Foça about two hours later. The part after the Çanakkale-İzmir division of the road is a visual feast. The perfect match of green and blue, small and big isles and great coves. Makes you think if it is Mediterranean area…
Foça (Phokala,Phocaea), took its name from the seals that live around the islands. But the old Phocaeans used rooster as the mascot of their town because it represented aliveness and waking early.
Heredotus met Foça when he came to Anatolia to win the famous Trojan War. When he went back to his own country, he uses these words for Foça and the people of Foça: “They built their city under the most beautiful sky and climate of the earth we know..”
Foça, lies along two coves called Bigsea and Littlesea. Our first stop was the lighthouse foreland. A great choice for the ones who wants to see and photograph Foça from across. We saw a very fiery sea-filling action, which I think they are trying to make it an area that trade ships can use more often.
After the lighthouse, we went to the Bigsea cove with our car first. The seashore houses here are really beautiful and they open from 1.5 trillion TL’s, and the top limit is not known. The little fishing boats and yachts got our attention. The weather was overcasted and rainy but we were in the search of “if we can swim here in summer”, and yes, it is a very clean cove and there are docks in front of the houses to get in the sea. The sea is ideal for swimming but the ground is very rocky.
We were at the point that is called square. The houses around are older, most of them are two floored, the streets are narrow and made with cut stones, which is very common in Aegan towns. We parked our car there and started to walk to the Five Gates.
Five Gates were being used as a boathouse in the Ottoman castle here. The Five Gates is on the foreland that sperates the Bigsea and Littlesea coves. When you face to it, the left is Bigsea and the right is Littlesea.
Right next to the Five Gates, there is the Kybele Openair Temple ruins, which still has archeological work going on. We could not get close to the ruins because it was closed to visitors, and we had to leave with the photos we took from far.
The sky was getting darker. We kept walking in narrow streets and we came across the Littlesea cove. We can call it the heart of Foça. Fish restaurants and fishermans are lined up, and places of entertainment are all here.
You encounter tour boats when you walk on the shore. Especially one of the best things to do here for the ones who come at summer is to take one of those tours. Seeing the Foça islands and coves from the sea. And of course you will see the Siren Reefs which is an essential of a Foça tour.
Fishing is the top source of living in Foça. It is possible to see the biggest fishing boats of this area in Foça shores.
Now historical information: Phokaians, who were a nation of sailors, found Marseilles in the 6th century B.C. Today, starting from Marseilles port, seeing the name Phokaia is possible everywhere. Samsun, Lapseki, Alalia in Corsica, Velia in Italy and such cities were also found by Phokaians. When we see our close history, we see that the ones that migrated from Foça are really fond of this name and they are really attached to it. Rums that had to leave after the Independence War of Turkey, has found two new settlements, one in Thessaloniki called Nea Phokea – New Foça, one in the south of Athens called Palea Phokea- Old Foça. The relations between Phokeaians in Greece and Turkey still goes well just like in before the Independence War. The friendly visits between the Phokeaians in two sides of Arşipel, are still going on oftenly today. Foça is very rich in terms of myths. The most common one of them is the Karataş Story. It is told that whoever comes to Foça, and steps on the Karataş without knowing, becomes a Foça lover and will feel the need to come to Foça all the time. Nobody knows where Karataş is, so only time will tell, if you stepped on Karataş(Blackstone) or not.