Yalova: A Crossroad of Cultures and History

The city of "Yalova" in northwestern Turkey is very popular, with tourists and visitors from various Arab and western countries, due to its tourist and historical attractions in addition to many other features, which made it a unique touristic icon with the testimony of all who visited and resided in it.

In this article, Omran Trk company provides its followers with a detailed overview of the history of the city of Yalova, and the most important historical and archaeological monuments in it.

History of Yalova

Historians say that the city of  "Yalova" was the home of many civilizations dating back to 3000 BC, and it was also under the rule of the Kingdom of Bitina after it was ruled by the Hittites, Phrygians and Persians for a short period of time.

The Roman and Byzantine Empires ruled "Yalova" until 1326, and then came the authority of the Ottoman Empire in 1326 and ruled it.

"Yalova" was associated with the city of Istanbul in 1930, at the behest of the founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who gave it great importance, even saying, "Yalova is my city."

According to historical accounts, Yalova was one of the most prominent cities in the time of the Greek Empire, which was named after the city of “Pylae” which means the gates, as it was then an important passage to the Asian continent by crossing the Marmara Sea from Europe.

In the history of modern Turkey, Yalova was one of the favorite cities of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, where he spent the last years of his life in this city. In 1995, Yalova was separated from Istanbul, to join the list of the 81 Turkish states.

 The Romans occupied the area in 74 BC, and after the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was part of the Byzantine Empire.

In ancient times and in most of the Middle Ages, the city was known as Pylae or Pylai and in Greek it was called Bithynia, a Greek word meaning "gates", as it was at the beginning of one of the main routes to Asia for those who crossed the Sea of ​​Marmara from Europe.

Other historians mentioned that the city had special strategic importance in the Byzantine period, due to its geographical location, as the "emperors" used it as a disembarkation point from "Constantinople".

In this context, historians pointed out that Emperor Heraclius landed there in 622, at the beginning of his counterattack against the Persians, as Romanos IV Diogenes did the same in 1071, on his way to the Battle of Manzikert.

In the ninth century, as documented by historians, "Yalova" was the site of one of the lighthouses that carried news from the border with the Abbasid Caliphate, and included an imperial inn for travelers.

Yalova was incorporated into the territory of the Ottoman Empire, was part of Sancak Kocaeli, and was known respectively as Yalakabad and Yalova.

According to Ottoman population statistics in 1914, the total population of  Yalova was 21,532, of whom 10,274 were Greeks, 7,954 were Muslims, and 3,304 were Armenians.

 On September 5, 1920, the Greek forces occupied Yalova during the Turkish War of Independence. During the period of their occupation of the city, the Greek forces committed massacres on the Yalova peninsula.

The Greek forces, which were stationed in the areas of "AdaPazari, Yelova, Sapanca, Kandera, and Izmit", began to move initially towards Bursa and later to the "Eskişehir" area after the Greek defeat in the second "İnönü" battle to concentrate forces on the Bursa line - Uşak) and attacking the Turks in Afyonkarahisar, Eskişehir ,Kütahya , and the Turkish forces that waited behind the Sakarya River, took advantage of this opportunity and attacked the Greek forces to achieve a crushing victory over them. Adapazari was liberated on June 26, 1921, Izmit on June 28, 1921, and Yalova on July 19, 1921.

After its liberation, Yalova became a district center in Karamursel district of Kocaeli Province, and became a district center in Istanbul Province in 1930, before becoming an independent district (state) in 1995.

The historic Yalova massacre of 1921

The Yalova massacre took place in April and May 1921 AD, when the Greeks and Armenians committed countless atrocities against Muslims in Yalova, burning all the villages of the region (nearly 27 Muslim villages), and killing about 10,000 Muslims, other than rape and displacement.

The British historian, "Arnold Toynbee" wrote about atrocities committed since the Greek occupation of "Izmir" on May 15, 1919, pointing out that he was a witness to the atrocities committed by the Greeks in "Yalova", Gemlik, and Izmit, in addition to the houses that were burned and looted, in addition to the many cases of abuse committed by the Greeks.

In its report dated May 23, 1921, during the period of the Greek occupation of Western Anatolia, a joint committee of the Allies from the European countries on the Yalova-Gemlik Peninsula stated the following " There was a systematic plan for destroying the Turkish villages and for getting rid of the Muslim population, reached up to the destruction of the neighborhoods near the Greek headquarters. The members of the commission consider the Kasas of Yalova-Gemlik occupied by the Greek army, and this plan is being carried out by the Greek and Armenian gangs, which apparently operate according to Greek instructions and sometimes with the assistance of the regular forces."

A representative of the Red Cross stated in a report: "The Greek occupation army was used to exterminate the Muslim population of the peninsula (Yalova - Gemlik). The established facts include the burning of villages, massacres, and terrorizing the population, as the coincidence of place and time leaves no room for doubt in this regard. And the atrocities that We have witnessed, or we have seen physical evidence of, carried out by armed irregular gangs of civilians (Chiti), and units of the regular army... Instead of disarming and dismantling them, these gangs cooperated in their activities side by side with units of the regular army".

It is noteworthy that in conjunction with the Greek occupation of the city of Izmir in the summer of 1918, the Turks organized resistance movements in order to save and liberate their homeland from Western occupation. The Turkish resistance movements took on a central character shortly after, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk set foot in Samsun port on May 19, 1919, announcing the start of the Turkish national struggle in the war of liberation and independence that lasted from 1919 until 1922.

In mid-September 1921, the balance of power shifted in favor of the Turkish resistance after the humiliating defeat inflicted on the Greek forces in the Battle of Sakarya, which took place near the capital, Ankara, between August 23 and September 13, 1921.

After the liberation of Izmir, the Turkish army moved towards Gemlik and Mudanya, liberating it on September 11, while the expulsion of the Greek army from Anatolia was completed on September 17, 1922. It was as described by historian George Lenczowski: “As soon as the attack began, it turned into an enormous success. During two weeks the Turks led the Greek army to the Mediterranean from where they came.

Population of Yalova

Their demographics are diverse and mix the families of Istanbul, Crimea, Bulgaria, Dagestan, and many others. These groups have preserved their authentic culture and heritage and were an example of the harmony and coexistence of different cultures in one region.

Yalova Landmarks

The city of "Yalova" includes a number of famous and distinctive tourist places, the most important of which are:

The Black Church: It was built in the Roman era, as it was initially a water reservoir and then turned into a place of worship after the Byzantine period.

Chopan Castle: Chopan Castle or the Shepherd's Castle in Turkish (Çobankale) is located on the historical Turkish Silk Road in the valley extending from south to south in the Altınova region of Yalova, about 7 km from Herceg and 2 km from the village of Soğuksu Ayazma ). the South.

Termal Village: It is considered one of the most famous tourist attractions. It is famous for its hot mineral springs that originate from the tops of Termal Hill since the Roman era. The water temperature in these springs ranges between 55-65 degrees Celsius.

Other historical and tourist attractions include: Yalova Museum, Ataturk's Palace, “Yürüyen Köşk” (Walking Mansion), Ethnographic Museum, Paper Museum, Güneyköy Village, Subaşı Village, Hersekzade Ahmet Paşa Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque.

“Dipsiz Göl” Bottomless Lakes: They are located 10 km from the city of Teşvikiye and the road leading to it is completely asphalt and completely safe. It is a special area in terms of forests rich in plants and wildlife around a large bottomless lake at an altitude of 530 meters at a distance of 2.5 kilometers from the city main forest and another smaller bottomless lake at an altitude of 570 meters at a distance of 1.5 kilometers from the first lake.

Karaca Arboretum: Turkey's first private botanical garden. It contains about 7 thousand species of different plant species.

Delmece and Karlik Plateaus: One of the most famous plateaus of Yalova, Delmece plateau has a unique natural beauty, and all the roads are asphalt and cover a very large flat area. It has a source of drinking water known as healing water, while all kinds of forest trees and plants are found in the Karlik Plateau.

Hersek Lagoon and Bird Observatory: The lake is a shelter, food, and breeding source for many species, especially waterfowl, due to the fact that the lake does not freeze in winter, it is possible to see many types of birds, especially flamingos and ducks, on the surface of the lake, especially in drought years. There is also a bird-watching tower and information center.

The Turkish city of "Yalova" has witnessed tremendous developments in the recent period, due to the fact that it enjoys beautiful resources and landscapes, as well as an intermediate location between the major states, in addition to a moderate climate and the availability of many services.

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The pearl of Marmara and the favorite of tourists... Yalova