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An update from Evaneos

Sile, a green setting in Istanbul

Commonly a destination that is relatively unknown among foreign tourists, you will have all the pleasure of taking a "Turkish bath" in Sile. Previously called Origanos, the small town has had an eventful history under its various occupancies. Discovering this old Greek town allows you to go back in time and enjoy a more rural Istanbul.

A "rural" tourist weekend

Şile has an exceptional environment. A luscious green vegetation surrounds us from all sides and spreads over 800 km² of land. This green setting offers numerous walks and treks, but also the chance to observe a large variety of birds and rare plants. Take a minute to try a Sakli Göl tea, literally: a hidden lake. With depths of waters surrounded by trees, this pleasant location has been the setting for the filming of numerous popular Turkish TV series. A nice place to discover in the sunshine with the re-birth of nature.

On foot, go and explore the little villages near Sile. Among the nearest villages: Yeniköy, a village comprised of a Bosnian population. Kabakoz and Akçakese both offer picturesque settings. Weaving in and out of the "traditional" houses allows you to understand the realities of the Turkish countryside. An experience off the beaten track.

Traditional wooden house

In search of symbols of the city

Be sure to see the two iconic buildings of Sile. The city's area also offers pleasant routes on foot. After visiting the centre, head down towards the port. The Sile Kalesi looks over one of the rocks which makes up the island of Ocakli. This caste which was built during the Byzantine era has been reinforced over the course of its different occupancies. Today, you can only admire it from a distance. It's an opportunity to tour the small fishing port, and to continue walking along the pier. Fishing is a flagship activity of the small town, so why not head to one of the port's boat restaurants to try a few fish dishes? Turkish people cannot get enough of 'raki-balik', which is the combination of this traditional alcoholic drink with mezze dishes and grilled fish.

Consequently, heading up to the beacon is a allows you to walk off your meal. Erected in 1860, the light beacon is still in operation. At a height of 19m, it looks over the Black Sea and is established as the largest beacon in Turkey. Note that the construction is signed by the French Beacon Committee. The panorama at this viewpoint is quite simply astonishing. You find yourself at a crossroads between the earth, sky and sea.

A selection of Ladies dresses

The Sile Bezi are a local speciality, and are a good souvenir idea for yourtrip to Turkey. Pieces of fabric made from cotton cultivated in the south of the country are 100% produced naturally. Dresses, of course, but also jackets, shirts, tablecloths and place mats are on display in shop windows in the town centre. The spirit hasn't really changed since 1970... However, you can be sure that they are made locally, because each piece of fabric is dipped into the sea and dried on the sand of Sile. This very finely woven cotton, with the assistance of manual machines, is almost like linen. Perfect for the region's hottest days Some assure that the Sile Bezi have therapeutic virtues... To be confirmed!

Although the summer months aren't necessarily the most pleasant months to go to Sile (because of the overcrowding of rich tourists and second residencies), note that the town has had its Sile Bezi festival since 1983. Foreign participants and Turkish pop starts come during July in a lively atmosphere.

Clemence Zisswiller
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