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History of Foça
Foça, with its administrative center Eski Foça is composed of the following villages: Bağarası, Yeni Bağarası, Gerenköy, Ilıpınar, Koca Mehmetler, Kozbeyli, Yeni Foça and Yeniköy. It’s totally 275 square meter, with a population around 33.000 as of end of May 2020.
Administrative center, Eski Foça is 70 kilometers far from the city Symrna by highway. It is founded in the largest cove of the peninsula between the bays of Symrna and Çandarlı; at north of Symrna.
The small peninsula extend from east to west dividing Eski Foça to two harbours: Büyükdeniz and Küçükdeniz. If you reach Eski Foça by highway, you will first meet with a panoramic view. Two harbors, a lighthouse, the English Point, castle, small islands and windmills. The sunset over the English Point makes the view more attractive.
Phokai has no meaning in Hellenistic language. Professor Bilge Umar alleges that it comes from the word “Pauwake” in the Luwi language, which means ‘watery place’. Josef Keil proposed that this name was given because of the similarity with the seals that emerged on the water’s surface in front of the harbor.
Phokaia, which was named after the seals that live in Foça islands, was founded by Aiols in 11 BC. Ion settlement in Phokaia, which was one of the most important settlement places of Ionia at that time, started in 9 BC. Being known as great sailors in history, Phokaians also established many colonies in the regions of Aegea, Mediterranean and Black Sea with their knowledge in engineering. Some of the important colonies established by the people of Foça are as follows: Amysos in Black Sea (now Samsun), Lampsakos in Dardenellen (now Lapseki), Methymna in Midilli Island (now Molyvoz), Elea in Europe (now Italy), Alalia (Korsika), Massalia (now Marseilles, France). Phokaians are also known for being one of the first ones to print the “electron coin” using a natural mixture of gold and silver. Surely, a civil advancement of this magnitude impressed other civilizations and attracted them to Anatolia. Genoeses are the ones who founded the New Foça of today. Foça in history, was respectively taken by Çaka Bey in 13th century and by Saruhanoğulları Beylic. And after the great conquest, the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II took Foça and made it Ottoman soil. Having been a home for many civilizations and communities, Foça has become an important archeologic center. In non-stop excavations since 1953 until our day, theater from Hellenistic era, Temple of Athena, Harbor Sanctuary and Persian Mausoleum were unearthed. The mentioned mauseloum was made as a monument for the commanders of Ahamenid-Persian army which had invaded the place in 492 BC. The monument is one of the rare works by Persians in Anatolia.
FIVE GATES CASTLE
In the ancient era, the walls that passed over the hills on the east of the city also surrounded the peninsula that contained The Temple of Athena. The best preserved parts of the city walls dating from the Middle Ages surrounding the city are repairs from the Byzantine, Genoese and Ottoman eras. Foça became Ottoman soil in 1455 after the Genoeses. The walls of the city that were worn out in those years were repaired and strengthened. Five Gates is a part of the Ottoman and Genoese wall system surrounding the peninsula, and is located on the west of the peninsula. It has five gates faced towards the sea. This is why it is named as Beş Kapılar (Five Gates). Shaped like a horseshoe, it has a plan that resembles antique era theaters. It was used as a place for repairing small boats in the years it was made. It is written in the inscription on the entrance gate that Sultan Mustafa, son of Kanuni Sultan Suleiman, was rebuilt by the woodcutter Silahtar İskender Aga in 1538-1539. Nowadays it is used as an area where all kinds of social and cultural activities are carried
HARBOR SANCTUARY AND KYBELE OPEN AIR TEMPLES
Kybele, who is of Anatolian origin, is the oldest mother goddess of Foça. She was widely worshipped during the Phyrigian period. The mother goddess was worshipped in open air on the mountains. Kybele represents the wild animals and nature. She is the goddess of plentifulness and fertility. Temple of Kybele in Small Sea dates back to 600s BC. There were relieves of goddesses in the niches of different sizes in Kybele Sanctuary. The holes on the right and left of the niches were used for lighting purposes. There is a big pool where the bloods of the sacrifices to the goddess were drained in front of the statues in the temple area, which was made by carving the rocks. Sailors would sacrifice and pray in the area near the shore before and after their travels to show their gratitudes. There are many statues of Kybele and sacrificial altars at open air temples in İncir Island, Hill of Windmills and some excavation sites.
The economy is mostly depend on small entities for tourism, agriculture, animal breeding and fishery. Tourism is most popular in Eski Foça and Yeni Foça while the economy is based on agriculture in inland neighborhood. At administrative center Eski Foça, an important percentage of the population are employees for the goverment. With the support and contribution of the metropolitan and local municipalities, the economic activity in agriculture sector is increasing in the last decades.
Mediterranean climate areas are places where the so-called "Mediterranean Trinity" of agricultural products have traditionally developed: wheat, grapes and olives. Foça is also one of these areas.
Regarding aquaculture, Foça Peninsula is highly advantageous anf fishery have become an important economic value. The small and big coves locates along the shore between Aliağa District and Gediz River. At Eski Foça and Yeni Foça, families exceeding a number of 300 make a living from the sea. A number of around 30 species of economically important fish grow in Foça so that its one of the main areas for fishery in Mediterranean.
Large and Small Ruminant Breeding
There are 20 poultry businesses, 195 cattle, 86 small cattle farms. Animal products are mainly milk, chicken meat and egg. As of 2015, number of cattle is 12.269, whereas number of small cattle is 12.000.
Yoghurt is a milk product obtained by fermentation of milk specific microorganisms, which shall be viable, active and abundant in the product.
Bağarası ve Yeni Bağarası Cooperation is producing yoğurt by buying the milk of its partners. Its well known and highly demanded for its quality and natural production.
Tourism is an important economic activity in Foça like as it is all around the coast of Turkey. Eski Foça and Yeni Foça become prominent with tourism business. In both regions, the number of the historical buildings that are restored and operated as hotels are gradually increasing.
Foça has a remarkable potential for Cultural, Nature and Agrocultural Tourism. The following are to be developed:
- Historical Route
- Surrounding Historical Route
- Mountain Climbing
- Air Sports
- Water Sports
- Bird Watching
- Fauna Watching
- Olive Road
- Vineyard Road
- Agriculture Tourism
- Blue Route
- Gastronomi Tourism
- Foto Safari
- Bridge Tournaments
Foça is located in the western Anatolia at Aegean Region. It is in the boundaries of İzmir Municipality within the Gediz Basin.
Foça Peninsula covers 25.411 ha area of the Gediz Basin. The area is declared as natural and archeological site and urban protected area.
The 8 villages of Foça -Bağarası, Yeni Bağarası, Gerenköy, Ilıpınar, Koca Mehmetler, Kozbeyli, Yeni Foça and Yeniköy- become prominent with their nature, olive gardens, agricultural lands.