The Land Of Plentiful Oxygen: Mount Ida / Sinan Hamamsarılar

Anyone visiting Mount Ida comes back with a story of their own. Some fall in love with the fresh air, some with the spectacular nature..

It is not for nothing that it has been named the “lungs of the earth”. Stretching from the south of Canakkale to the Edremit shores of Balikesir, this region boasts vast forests and an unsullied nature which brought it the status of a national park in the 1990s due to its healing waters and unique vegetation.

Telling one about the myriad beauties and attractions of Mount Ida, a place lodged deeply in everyone’s hearts and minds, soon turns into a pleasant presentation that is sure to captivate anyone who has not drunk from the fresh spring waters of Ida, traversed its pathways or dunked bread in its olive oil. Let us do the same. I will start by naming a few activities you can enjoy in and around Mount Ida.

1. The first thing to note is that Mount Ida can be visited all year round. It is the perfect spot for mushroom picking and nature walks in spring; camping activities and summer excursions in summer; olive harvests, now a millennia-old tradition, and bird watching in autumn; and retreating into small mountain villages in winter, when the season of peace and quiet comes.

2. Mount Ida and its surroundings are also an area of attraction for history enthusiasts. In ancient Greek mythology, Mount Ida is the birthplace of Zeus. These lands also witnessed key historical moments! Like the first beauty contest in history with Aphrodite, Hera and Athena.. Homer’s Iliad tells of the Trojan War that took place in these lands which has an important place in world history.

3. Speaking of Troy, be sure to visit the ancient city of Troy in Canakkale province, the unique Troy Museum opened in 2019 and Tevfikiye, an archaeological village built upon the ancient Troy.

4. I would also like to share a detail which I am sure some of you will find interesting. After Troy fell, Aeneas led the Trojans, who were forced to flee the city in search of a new home. It is believed that he came with a group of people following him to the town of Antandros (Altinoluk) south of Mountain Ida and built ships there. Sailing away with these ships, their first stop was the Carthaginian coasts from whence they sailed to central Italy. Later, his grandsons Romulus and Remus founded the Roman Empire. If you look at it this way, one can say that the Trojans, who once ate from the sardines of the Dardanelles, founded the Roman Empire. A cool story, right?

5. And Mount Ida came to be called “Mount Kaz” with Turkmen tribes migrating into the region. The place also witnesses the Sarikiz legend, more of a folk legend than a mythological phenomenon. So, the Sarikiz Tomb is a must-see destination if you are planning a trip to Mount Ida. In a nutshell, the story is about the unfortunate death of a beautiful peasant girl after she was persecuted in her village.

6. Adatepe, which many city dwellers now consider a haven of tranquillity, is one of the must-see stops on the route. The village with almost no inhabitants in the 1980s, is now a hot spot following the settlement of a group of adventure-seeking live wires who transformed the place through renovations and developments. Ida Blue Hotel is one of the best known facilities in the village. Make sure to book a room in advance before you get there. Also, the Altar of Zeus, believed to be the place where Zeus watched the Trojan War, 10 minutes from the village, is another place of interest.

7. When you get to Kucukkuyu, you can see the museum that honours the olive, a major component of the region’s vegetation and the driving force of the region’s economy, and its main product, olive oil.

8. If you are looking for an authentic accommodation in the heart of nature, Mount Ida is the place to go, instead of a hotel room. Hizir, Akaleos, Endes and Camlaralti Campgrounds are safe camping areas for nature enthusiasts.

9. I would also recommend you to go to Mount Ida with your own personal vehicle and visit the beautiful mountain villages there.

Far-away, yet nearby

  • Bayramic and Ezine being the places where the best white cheeses in Turkey are made, you can indulge in HÖ444 and Uysal cheeses on a trip to the north.
  • Do not forget that Bozcaada is right next to you!
  • Don’t end your trip without eating fish in Babakale.
  • And of course, be sure to visit Ayvalik and Cunda in the south.
  • The ancient city of Pergamon is also only 2 hours away!
  • Don’t forget that in summer you can take daily tours to Lesbos, the other side of the Aegean Sea.