The Cesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir, in Turkey’s Aegean region. Cesme, meaning fountain in Turkish, derives from the many sources of water found in the area. It is one of Turkey’s most beautiful stretches, surrounded by clear blue seas, with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In the un-spoiled bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday accommodations, restaurants and sports and entertainment facilities. It is also possible to get to Greek island Chios (Chios) with regular daily ferries. Cesme has an international harbor linked to Izmir with a superb highway (80kms).
A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Cesme and now houses a museum of weapons. Today, the town is a popular holiday resort with good accommodations and restaurants. The 16th century Caravanserai near the fortress, Ox Mehmet Pasa Caravanserai, built by Suleiman the Magnificent, which has been converted into a hotel. It’s aa solid stone building in good repair whose central courtyard is cool even in the hottest weather. Before the rise of Izmir, Cesme was the region’s major port, and this Caravanserai marked the end of the Silk road for the caravans who plodded their weary way across Anatolia from Central Asia and the Middle East. Here the goods were unloaded from the camels for export to Europe by ship through the Aegean and Mediterranean. The Church of Agios Haralambos has been restored as an art gallery. Thermal baths offer a health centered escape from modern life. At night a lively, fun atmosphere pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and Discos along the promenade. Yachts can be hired to explore the peninsula’s splendid coastline. Cesme hosts an annual International Song Contest in July, one of the most Important festivals in Turkey. Cesme is also famous for its specially flavored ice-cream and mouth watering toasted sandwiches. Above all it is Cesme’s beaches, the longest on the Aegean coast, and turquoise sea which bring holidaymakers back here again and again.
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