On our Altınoluk trip for a few days, our first stop is Kaz Mountains. In other words, Mount Ida, the throne of the immortal gods of mythology, which has been the subject of countless legends… First, he must take a breath and gather energy. The forest smell in the air is strong enough to burn our noses. We feel the intensity of the oxygen we breathe in almost every breath we take. As a city person, we consider the people of these lands lucky in our own way. I say to myself, “One can live long here…”. This feature of Altınoluk, which is famous for its clean air, is not just a cliche tourism discourse. Because an expert delegation from Cerrahpaşa and Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine, who came to the region in the early 1990s, proved this scientifically with the measurements they made. When the oxygen density of Altınoluk was measured at 21.9 percent (the oxygen rate in a clean air, according to the data of the European Environment Agency, 21 percent), it turned out to be one of the highest in the world. Today, the slopes of the Kaz Mountains, especially Altınoluk, are an ideal holiday destination to store oxygen. With its immaculate air, medicinal herbs, olives, and intertwined old and new life styles, Altınoluk stands before me like a mythological hero leaning his back on the Kaz Mountains and leaning his feet into the sea, watching the Aegean Sea… The colorful flower clusters we encountered during our nature walk on Altınoluk ridges. We watch with admiration. Then we approach Şahinderesi Canyon on a narrow path.
The sounds of the canyon
Our location is on a hill overlooking Altınoluk. We listen to the voice of Şahinderesi Canyon as we watch the gap formed between two rock masses at a depth of hundreds of meters from the top. Judging from the sources, this canyon is the leading factor that turns Altınoluk into an oxygen tent. The canyon, which provides intense air circulation, distributes the pine-scented air it draws from the mountain to the plain, and acts as a kind of chimney by carrying the iodized air taken from the sea to the mountain. The people of Antandros, who were the natives of the region in ancient times, took shelter in the canyon when their resistance decreased in the face of a great attack. A part of the city walls and building ruins of Antandros Antique City can still be seen in Şahinderesi Canyon. Ida Mountains, a part of which is a national park stretching from Zeytinli Stream to Mıhlı Bridge, generously offers all the beauties of nature to the visitor groups in summer and winter with its numerous hiking trails. However, it should be noted that in order to enter the difficult and sometimes risky tracks such as Şahinderesi Canyon, it is necessary to set out with a guide.
We are on our way to Eski Altınoluk. At a distance of about 2 kilometers between them, one of them is Çam Mahallesi on the hillside; Consisting of two main residential areas, the other is Iskele Mahallesi on the coast, Altınoluk has two different faces, old and new. Altınoluk, formerly ‘Priesthood’, today’s Çam Mahallesi was once an old Greek village. Aside from the existence of old stone houses that have been restored and have a new look, the historical neighborhood clearly maintains its original texture. The inhabitants of this neighborhood have for many years displayed the best examples of friendship and brotherhood with the people of Mytilene, opposite the neighbor. During the exchange years, the Turks living in Lesbos and the Greek community of Papazlık Mahallesi changed places, but the tears did not stop.
Floor mosaics in Antandros.
The Ephesus of the Future
When the beauties of Altınoluk, which was a town with only 450 houses until the 1960s, are discovered, flock here also started. In a short time, Altınoluk beach was filled with summer houses. Today, İskele Mahallesi looks like a small-scale city… In fact, the rush of construction has reached the outskirts of Antandros Ancient City. Fortunately, Antandros is one of the places whose value is appreciated and taken under protection. It is rumored that Antandros Ancient City, which witnessed the development of many cultures, especially the Cimmerians, over a wide period of time from the 7th century BC to the Early Byzantine period, is the home of the legendary comic book hero Conan. Considered as the “Ephesus of the Future” by archaeologists, Antandros has so many archaeological artifacts that have remained from the sailor Cimmerians until today… Sculptures, wall frescoes, floor mosaics and much more… The ancient city, which was founded in the 8th century BC, It is also home to the oldest ancient necropolis in the region. Studies are continuing to reveal the cultural treasure in the ruins. According to the information I received from the archaeologists in the excavation team, the ones unearthed here are very few of those still under the ground. The hillside houses of Antandros, which is a very old port city, are really worth seeing.
Old Goldoluk’ We stop by Abdullah Efendi Mansion, one of the most elegant buildings of Çam Mahallesi, with the thought of making more discoveries about the city. Although the exact construction date is not known, the mansion, which we learned has a history of nearly two centuries, was built by one of the leading families of Altınoluk. The lower walls of the three-storey mansion are masonry, and there is a bay window on both corners of the sea-facing face of the top floor. If you happen to be here, I suggest you look at Altınoluk from the bay window of the mansion. This detail-rich mansion is also used for cultural and artistic activities. The mansion, which has ideal halls for exhibitions, is also very beautiful in its large garden surrounded by pine, fig and pomegranate trees. Apart from olives and many products related to olives, medicinal herbs and herbal teas of Kaz Mountains are waiting for their customers in the small olive shops lined up in the square.
The sacred fruit of the Mediterranean, the olive, undoubtedly has a very important place for Altınoluk. This little black fruit has been the breadbasket of local tradesmen, the daily wage of collectors and processors, the taste of food, and the source of health for centuries. He even gave Altınoluk his name. The canyons in the Kaz Mountains are likened to the gutter, and the oil from the fertile olive trees surrounding the canyons is likened to gold, and thus the name of the town has emerged.