For those that want to experience something new and different, where deep blues and lush green coalesce to form the perfect encounter, the destination is Urla…
Small hotels, exotic bazaars, and artistic streets amidst vineyards in a rural setting, makes this the perfect place to escape from a routine schedule. Urla is a natural paradise consisting of vineyards, local wines, rich and colorful fruit and olive trees, fisherman in the sea, and of coarse, wayward cats. Maison Vourla is the place to go to bask in all of these characteristics.
NATURE, SEA, HISTORY, AND LOTS OF OXYGEN…
35 km west of Izmir, engulfing 12 little islands, Urla is a town saturated with the smell of the sea. Preserving the nature, history, and local culture, Urla is considered as “The Lungs of the Aegean”, due to its high levels of oxygen. It has become an escape for those who want to get away from the stressful life in the cities.
The rich soil provides a bountiful stock of delicious crisp vegetables and juicy fruits. There are 3 major bazaars in town that sell the produce locally from farmers and villagers near by every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The bazaars offer artichokes, okra, butter, extra virgin olive, radish grass, and chicory, which are all must-haves in Aegean style cooking.
Urla has 40 km of coastline, including beaches and bays. The one thing that sets Urla apart from the other coastal towns in Turkey are the 12 islands in the Gulf of Izmir. 4 of those islands are used by the military, and the 8 are open to tourists. These are the 12 islands (all island names are in Turkish):
- Yılanlı Ada
Urla is situated north of the Gulf of Izmir, south Duden Gulf and Seferihisar, west of Cesme, east of Güzelbahçe and has an approximate population of 50 thousand. A large part of the population is of Romanian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Greek immigrants’ descent.
HISTORY OF URLA
Today, there are two scientific excavations carried out in Urla: Limantepe and Klazomenai archaeological excavations. Located on the Iskele Quarter, these two ancient settlements reveal that Urla is one of the oldest Aegean’s settlements. Limantepe goes back to 4 thousand BC, reaching the Middle Chalcolithic period, and findings now present new evidence dating even earlier.
The remains of Klazomenai can be spotted today all over Iskele, especially in some of the neighboring farms, in the sea adjacent to the shore and near the shore and on Quarantine Island. Klazomenai is also the birthplace of the famous mathematician, astronomy scholar and philosopher, Anaxagoras, born in the 5th century BC. Some ceramic workshops found in the area date back to 7-6th centuries BC confirming the size of the ceramic industry. At that time colonies around the Black Sea and the Mediterranean coast exported ceramic vases illustrated with battle scenes and animal figures. Most of the ceramics found in Iskele hold an important place in some of the world’s historical museums.
The World’s Oldest Olive Oil Production Facility is in Urla
Te ancient city of Klazomenai had made a name in the olive oil trade. Amongst the city’s ruins was found a very well preserved olive oil workshop dating back to the 6th century BC and is defined the oldest olive oil production facility. This facility was rebuilt with the efforts and coordination of Ege University in Izmir. At the same site there was also found a blacksmith’s workshop, which was most likely used in connection with the olive oil press process.
Urla’s name is believed to be coming from the Latin and Greek “Vourla”, meaning a “swamp”.
Don’t Leave Urla Without:
- Tasting Urla’s famous ply (katmer)
- Drinking the water of the Malga Wells (Malgaca Icmeleri)
- Witnessing the sun rise and the sun down
- Seeing the ruins of the ancient city of Klazomenai on the Quarantine Island
- Taking a picture of a thousand year old olive tree in the Ozbek village
- Walking around in the world’s oldest olive oil plant
- Taking a look at the 3500 years old Uluburun boat replica
- Sipping a glass of good wine at Urla’s winyards
- Taking a good long walk on Urla’s famous Art Street (Sanat Sokagi)