Culture & Travel27 April 2023
Just like in Alaçatı, those who come here just to swim in the sea are disappointed. Its unique streets, history, atmosphere, and charm literally fascinate people. The streets of this place were crossed by the Mycelians and the Romans. Byzantines built a monastery, and Turks built a mosque. Both the meaning in the taste of the olives and the breeze of the deep blue sea in the summer months. But the most attractive thing is its unique streets that have been preserved. Tirilye is exactly such a place. Of course, you can also call it Zeytinbağı if you like. Without much ado, we would like to move on to the crucial parts of our article for the introduction of this wonderful city; without boring you, we wish you good reading.
Civilization Shines in Sweeping Places
Tirilye is the twin of Alaçatı in Marmara, and traces of Ancient Greece, Rome, and even distinctly Byzantine and Ottoman can be seen. Just like Alaçatı, Tirilye is very proud of its traditional stone houses, Greek Churches, and streets that are still busy and useful, almost unspoiled from a historical point of view.
It is thought that the name dates to the Byzantine period and comes from Trigleia. Being one of the valuable settlements of the Middle Ages in the Marmara region, the Byzantine culture is very much felt here. Tirilye, one of the ancient cities of Byzantium, still has more churches, such as Medikion Monastery, Hagios Theodoroi, Hagios Soteros, and Hagios Georgios, which will later turn into Fatih Mosque, the symbol of Tirilye, despite the passage of years.
Until the early 20th century, the established Greek culture dating back to the Middle Ages was very dominant. During the Ottoman period, this culture attracted the Greeks residing in the neighborhood and became the dominant culture until 1922.
Even though the area was inhabited by the Greek community, considerable legacies of Ottoman culture have survived to this day. For example, the Ottoman Baths right next to the Fatih Mosque and many valuable fountains still keep this culture alive today.
Imagine that in the 12th century, in the church of Aya Todori, which we know today as the Fatih Mosque, a Sunday service was held in a church filled to the brim with townspeople. Even the scent of the incense that one of the priests was burning has not left the walls of this building or the air of the city. Just like the smell of the sacrifice that the Roman people offered to the temples here thousands of years ago with great hope, the smell of the soaps in the Ottoman Baths, where the Turks cleaned and ablutioned before the Friday prayers at the Fatih Mosque, has permeated the town and has no intention of leaving.
Representative of Alaçatı in Marmara
What it has in common with Alaçatı is not only a beautiful sea, preserved traditional stone houses, and an old Greek community. The fact that the name of the city founded by the Greeks who said goodbye to Trilye in 1922 when they left for Greece is “Nea Tirilya,” which means “New Tirilye,” strengthens this similarity. Because the Greeks from Alaçatı, who migrated to Greece on the same occasion, registered the settlement they established as “Nea Alatsata,” carrying the name of the town they spent years in and could not forget. The similarities between Alaçatı and Tirilye are not limited to these. Both of these places, which were abolished from the status of towns in 2014 and turned into neighborhoods, are considered to be the most touristic regions of their respective districts. With this population, Alaçatı is growing to the point of becoming a separate district. Of course, it is not easy to predict whether Tirilye will share this fate.
Tirilye’s Struggle with Names
Tirilye has been known by three different names in the last 100 years. Tirilye was even named after Mahmut Şevket Pasha, who played an important role in the dethronement of Abdülhamid II in 1909. However, the locals could not easily adopt the name Mahmutşevketpaşa and had difficulty saying it. Naturally, they continued to say the name of their houses in the way they were used to. In 1963, it was renamed Zeytinbağı because of its trademark olive, but half a century later, it was renamed Tirilye again.
The Best Getaway Routes from Metropolitan Cities
Tirilye, which shares the same commonality with Alaçatı in this regard, has become one of the most attractive destinations to get away from the industrial burden around Marmara and especially the tired life brought by Istanbul. Although there is an influx of tourists in the summer, tradesmen are unfortunately not prepared for this. Therefore, since it is possible to see disruptions in services, you should be prepared for this. Because even though this place is the twin of Alaçatı, it has not yet become a brand like Alaçatı. Tirilye still insists on keeping the town alive. I think the best activity to do in Tirilye, which creates an almost Pasiflora effect when you visit it at a suitable time, is to sway on these unique streets. No matter how many concrete buildings are interspersed among them, it is still possible to experience that atmosphere to the extent that you can ignore these concrete buildings. Having breakfast at Çamlı Kahve under the olive trees on a cool summer morning is to enjoy the Mediterranean climate of the region.
If you come here and don’t eat red mullet, you regret it. Throughout history, the red mullet here has been so famous that anyone who doesn’t eat it regrets it. Especially drinking raki with its appetizers becomes indispensable here. This must be the most wonderful way to get away.
It is also unlikely that you will be able to escape from one of the indispensable products of the Mediterranean and Aegean shops of olives and olive products are everywhere. After all, Tirilye was not named Zeytinbağı for nothing.
Rumor has it that the name Tirilye comes from 3 priests who wanted to introduce frescoes to Christianity during the Byzantine period and were sent into exile as a result. Exile here must be the sweetest blessing in the world.