Bozcaada Travel Guide

Bozcaada Travel Guide

"God created Bozcaada for those who visited there, to have a long life"

Archeological findings indicate that the first human settlement on the island dates back to the Early Bronze Age II (ca. 3000–2700 BCE). Archeological evidence suggests the culture on the island had elements in common with the cultures of northwestern Anatolia and the Cycladic Islands.Most settlement was on the small bays on the east side of the island which formed natural harbors. Settlement archeological work was done quickly and thus did not find definitive evidence of grape cultivation on the island during this period. However, grape cultivation was common on neighboring islands and the nearby mainland during this time.
The island is known in English as both Tenedos (the Greek name) and Bozcaada (the Turkish name). Over the centuries many other names have been used. Documented ancient Greek names for the island are Calydna, Phoenice and Lyrnessus (Pliny, HN 5,140).
The official Turkish name for the island is Bozcaada, its name in Turkish since the mid-fourteenth century.[citation needed] Turkish word "boz" means either a barren land or grey to brown color (sources indicate both of these meanings may have been associated with the island) and "ada" meaning island. The name Tenedos was derived, according to Apollodorus of Athens, from the Greek hero Tenes, who ruled the island at the time of the Trojan War and was killed by Achilles. Apollodorus writes that the island was originally known as Leocophrys until Tenes landed on the island and became the ruler. The island became known as Bozcaada when the Ottoman empire took the island over. Tenedos remained a common name for the island along with Bozcaada after the Ottoman conquest of the island, often with Greek populations and Turkish populations using different names for the island.

Homer mentions Apollo as the chief deity of Tenedos in his time. According to him, the island was captured by Achilles during the siege of Troy. Nestor obtained his slave Hecamede there during one of Achilles's raids. Nestor also sailed back from Troy stopping at Tenedos and island-hopping to Lesbos. The Odyssey mentions the Greeks leaving Troy after winning the war first traveled to nearby Tenedos, sacrificed there, and then went to Lesbos before pausing to choose between alternative routes. Neptune, while going to assist the Greeks, stabled his horses in an undersea cave between Tenedos and Imbros.

Bozcaada is roughly triangular in shape. Its area is 39.9 km2. It is the third largest Turkish island after Marmara Island and Imbros (Gökçeada). It is surrounded by small islets, and is situated close to the entrance of the Dardanelles. It is the only rural district (ilce) of Turkey without any villages, and has only one major settlement, the town center.

The island has a Mediterranean climate with strong northern winds. Average temperature is 14 °C (57 °F) and average annual precipitation is 529 millimetres (20.8 in).There are a number of small streams running from north to south at the southwestern part of the island. Freshwater sources though are not enough for the island so water is piped in from the mainland.

Tenedos's population, was 2472 people as of the 2011 census. During summer, many more visit the island, ballooning its population to over 10,000 people. Historically the Turkish mahalle (quarter) has been located to the south and the Greek one to the north. Each quarter has its own religious institutions, mosques on the Turkish side and churches on the Greek side. The Greek quarter was burned to the ground in the fire of 1874 and rebuilt, while the Turkish quarter has a more ancient design. The houses are architecturally different in the two districts.The grid-planned Greek district has businesses, galleries and hotels.This district is dominated by the bell tower of the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God. On July 26 every year, the Greeks gather here to eat, dance and celebrate the feast day of St. Paraskevi.As of 2000, the official count of ethnic Greeks permanently residing on the island has dropped to 22.

Bozcaada City Map:

What to visit places in Bozcaada:

Bozcaada Castle:
As you approach the island by boat, the first site to attract your attention will be the imposing, majestic castle of the island. Don’t be surprised to find such a big castle in this seemingly small town. The grandeur of the castle reflects the rich past of the island. Since the island is located at the mouth of the Dardanelles, so close to the mainland it has been open to invasions throughout the centuries. All those civilizations that lived here felt safe under the protection of this big castle. It still exists but has long forgotten its reason for existence, waiting for curious visitors to come. Many things have changed since the days of the guards that were on watch for the pirate ships at the city walls. What has stayed the same is the northeast wind, the ‘poyraz’ blowing over its head, the crows flying above and its proud, upright posture...
Bozcaada Castle is one of the best preserved castles of Turkey. However, formerly known as Tenedos who has built it for the first time and when, nobody knows. The form of the existing castle dates back to Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror’s time, when it was rebuilt on the ruins of that castle used by the Phoenicians, Genovese, and the Venetians (1455). During the period of Köprülü Mehmet Pasa, it underwent a major restoration after the damages caused by the fights between the Venetians and the Ottomans (1657). During the reign of Mahmut II, it was almost completely rebuilt and has kept its appearance ever since (1815).
The castle which is located on the north-eastern end of the island is surrounded by a ditch which had once been full of water. Once upon a time the entrance to the castle was via a suspended bridge. Now, however there is a stationary bridge leading to the entrance. And there is no one inside the castle which was inhabited by the Turkish population in the past, along with their two mosques.
In the inner castle, there is a room where amphorae found around the island are exhibited. Besides, in the castle many tomb stones and historical objects found in the island are being exhibited. The castle is open for visitors everyday between 10.00 - 20.00.

Ayazma Monastery:
A monastery found in the south of Bozcaada belonging to the Christian congregation. It consists of a small chapel under 8 plane-trees, two small-structures and a fountain with two pipes. The Ayazma Festival takes place here between 25-27 July each July.

Bozcaada Museum:
Bozcaada Museum is a unique place for tourists who want to learn more about the place they visit. This collection that manifests the rich history of the island was set by individual efforts. When M. Hakan Gürüney’s loyalty to Bozcaada and his explorer personality came together, a please-to-see extraordinary collection therefore came out.
He changed his route to Bozcaada just because he learned that there is a sea shell kind which is only special for Bozcaada in the whole world and that there are plenty of these shells around the island. He returned from the island with 720 different kind of sea shells and in the following years he bought a summer house on the island and spent long summer holidays there.
As he learned that this little island has a very interesting history, he started to collect various cultural assets. The main titles you can see in this collection are: fossils peculiar to Bozcaada, archaeological pieces, coins, maps and gravures, articles of French soldiers when they used Bozcaada as a military base in the 1915 Çanakkale War, postcards from that time, documents of postal service history, 25 photographs Ara Güler(famous Turkish photographer) took in 1955, island pictures starting from 1880, old wine bottles produced in the island, the goods Greek and Turkish people used in their houses, documents, books.
Bozcaada Museum (Bozcaada Local History Research Center) is open in the island center in a historical building that was allocated by the Bozcaada Governorship. During the season, between 15th July- 15th September, the museum can be seen between 10:00 am -8:00 pm.
The entrance is charged and also there is a gift stand in the museum where you can buy books and souvenir.

Perhaps the sunset that is waiting for you at the west end of the island is going to be the most fascinating sunset you’ll ever see in your life. In front of you lies the boundless Aegean, beside you are the wind turbines standing with grandeur, and a deserted lighthouse. It smells of wild thyme and the island wind caresses ones face…
To end the day by visiting the West point has become a custom in the island. There is a smooth road where you can drive past the wind turbines and reach the end of the cape. Some take their picnic baskets, others just a bottle of island wine as they take their places facing the setting sun. The compass wind turbines that turn all day long by themselves and the Polente lighthouse that has gotten used to being alone are surrounded by an excited crowd all of a sudden.
The cape is filled with a new kind of beauty as the sun sets. There is no sign of habitation around, so no artificial lights. In the darkness, the bright stars are easily seen. You have never seen so many stars together before, the giant wings of the wind turbines that turn with a whisper and the only flashing light, that of the lighthouse, creates an even more effective atmosphere.

There are four wineries on the island. The older three are located in the town center, while the newest one is located at the Tuzburnu. Tours are available for those who are interested. These tours allow one to see what stages the grape goes through as it is turned into wine and to find a wine suitable to one’s palate. There are also shops next to the wineries where you may shop and enjoy tasting wine samples.

Goztepe, which is the highest point (192 m.) on the island, has an impressive bird’s-eye-view of the surroundings in all four directions. A paved road leads to the top, where there is only a radio link facility. If you would like to take a walk/hike, you may reach the top in 45 minutes.
This is a place where you really feel like you’re on an island. You absolutely must spend time here, particularly as the sun is setting...

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