Fouilltes de Sagalassos

Olive groves and easy living in Zeytinbagi

on 22/05/2013


        At the edge of the Sea of Marmara, the village renamed Tirilye Zeytinbagi, has been renowned for its olives and for its way of life since 1963.It is easily accessible from Istanbul by a ferry which takes you to Mudanya, 12 km away, making it a place of discovery for a perfect weekend.
The surrounding hills are covered with olive trees. It is popular for amateurs from the village to pick the olive fruit and press the olive oil.
The local population was mostly of Greek origin. This changed in 1924 when the area underwent population exchanges between Turkey and Greece. Nevertheless, there remains many vestiges of this bygone era, whether it be beautiful houses covered with tiles or the brick color of sacred places. Indeed, Tirilye has no less than three monasteries, ancient churches and four three sacred springs.
One church has been transformed into a cultural center. Another has since become a dwelling house for three families.
The ancient Greek school called taş Mektebi is, in turn, abandoned.
The Fatih Mosque is housed in the old St. Stephen’s Church, built between 720 and 730 AD. It is a rare building of Byzantine architecture for this period, still visible in the country, except in Istanbul and the church of Saint-Nicolas in Demre South. In view of the on-site registration, the place of Orthodox culture was transformed into a mosque in 1560-1561.
The ambient tranquility of the village is sometimes cheerfully disturbed by the comings and goings of tractors.
It is good to walk in the narrow steep streets to admire the character of this living museum with its many buildings dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Fishing and the rearing of silkworms were the main economic resources before the olive farming took over.
You will enjoy equally the taste of seafood, including red mullet (Tekir), a local specialty and also the smiles and the warmth of the people of Zeytinbagi.

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