Gokceada island in Turkey


Gökçeada, known as Imroz in the old times, is the largest Turkish island (280 km² / 108 mi²) in the Aegean Sea, off Çanakkale province. Its population is around 11 thousand but it goes up during summer months with vacationers. There are regular ferries to the island from Canakkale city and Kabatepe port in Gallipoli peninsula. The island became a Cittaslow in 2011.

There isn't much information about the history of the island in ancient times, but it is thought to have started in the Middle Ages. The island remained under the Latin Empire between 1204-1261. When the Byzantine Empire started to loose power, the Genoese Gattilusio Family dominated Gokceada, as in other Aegean Islands, in the 14th-15th centuries. When sultan Mehmed II conquered Istanbul in 1453 and put an end to the Byzantine Empire, this Latin State, which had close relations with the Empire, came to an end. After the death of Dorino Gattilusio, his son Dominico succeeded him and sent an ambassador to Mehmed the Conqueror to make peace. Gökçeada was the scene of clashes between Venice and the Ottomans between 15th and 17th centuries and constantly changed hands. During the Balkan Wars, the Battle of Imroz took place off the coast of Kefaloz between the Greek and Ottoman Navy in 1912. During the last century the island had a very variable population due to migrations for various reasons. As a result of the Treaty of Lausanne, Imroz (Gokceada) joined the territory of the Republic of Turkey on 22nd of September 1923.

Gokceada Underwater Park is the first and only underwater park in Turkey since 1999. It is located in the northeast of the island, between Kaleköy and Kuzu harbor. It is 1 nautical mile long from the coast and 200 meters offshore. It has underwater cave entrances and is a habitat for many marine creatures, including the Mediterranean Monk Seal.

Other sights to see on the island are; Marmaros waterfall, Kaskaval cape, salt lake, traditional villages, old laundries, Roman rock tombs, Yeni Bademli mound from the bronze age, Scythian (Kastro) castle, historical churches, monasteries and mosques. And the best beaches to swim or to spend a leisure day are; Aydincik beach, Hidden harbor, Laz bay, Marmaros, Yildiz bay, Yuvali beach, Mavi Bay, and Kuzu harbor beach.

Bartholomeos I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Istanbul Orthodox Patriarchate and the Archbishop of Istanbul, was born in Zeytinli village here.