Tirilye, where I spent only a few hours on my last holiday, is among the places I plan to go for a weekend escape.
I added an extra working day to the 3-day-long National Holiday on 19 May, and we thought it would be wise to get out of Istanbul. We headed towards Edremit Bay early Friday morning. Wishing to be able to stop wherever we wanted, we didn't make any definite plans.
We left the TEM highway via the Bayramoğlu-Darıca by-road and took a ferry to Yalova from Eskihisar. Then we reached Gemlik and followed the signs to Mudanya. Suddenly we found ourselves driving along a stunning village road. It was so beautiful, lined with redbuds and green trees. This curving but smooth road led us first to KurŞunlu, famous for its spas, then to Güzelyalı and Mudanya, the most popular sayfiye (summer resort) in Bursa.
Then we followed the signs to Zeytinbağı (Tirilye) and, after a 10-minute drive along with a view of the sea and of olive trees, we reached Zeytinbağı.
The village is a photographer's paradise, with its old houses, cobblestone streets, the ruins of a stone school building, a church and a mosque supporting each other, and with the streets shadowed by centuries-old trees.
As you climb up the hill, you are met by "Kemerli Kilise" (Vaulted Church). It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1855 and, though it was restored in 1883, much of its originality has been lost. Inhabitants told us about the marvelous 14th- and 17th-century frescoes in the church; however, since you need permission to visit it, we did not have a chance to see those inner beauties.
The stone school building, which is called "TaŞ Mektep" and which has been quite destroyed, was built as a monastery in early 1900s. In addition, former Cyprus president Archbishop Makarios was among the graduates. Before the War of Independence, it was an orphanage, and since then it has been used for educational courses. The building now belongs to Bursa Uludağ University and is under restoration.
The strong northeast wind cools the summer days, however I imagine it is freezing in the winter. The coast between Tirilye and Zeytinbağı is a natural beach, but the pollution sometimes effects the view along the coastline.
I really tried hard not to pick up the colorful flowers hanging down the balconies and the naturally growing artichokes along the streets.
Zeytinci ısmail Emil's olive shop is a place not to be missed. The olives, olive oil and olive soaps are all produced by ısmail himself. These olives are smaller than we are used to eating in Istanbul; however the seed can easily be removed. The olive soap is known as the most sanitary soap in the area.
The coast hosts tea gardens, restaurants and stands at which girls exhibit
their handicrafts. Bottles of olive oil and brochures of Tirilye are laid on
the tables. Liman, Savarona, Şekerev, Mahur and Mehmet are among the well-known
restaurants of the village.
Latest comments about this article
By mordikus 6.6.2007
I spent 5 days in Zeytinbagi in Summer 2005:Ifond a cheap room by calling Mr Hasan Ozata :0.535.782.51.87. He is a olive oil maker and rents his father in law´s house during summer holidays.I had wonderful meals and koylu breakfast at Tirilye Sofrasimade by Hatice Toçak in the middle of the main street:I could taste different kind of fragant olive oils with a tasty freh bred from the oven and fantastic marmalades and rose jam coming from a shop situated a little bit further.Be careful during the week-ends because all places are small and full and Savarona Pansyion forgets reservations ,but the owner is a perfect gentleman !I loved Tirilye or Zeytinbagi for its quietness and lovely old houses and the trip to Mudanya ,I mean the road are great.You can go to Armutlu too by boat or minibus.where there are nice spa centers with radioactive waters.
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