Think of a destination; named Birgi Village… This village is very far from the area of tourist attraction sites.
So much so that, it is not even close to the seaside. Nor is it on the main roads connecting big cities such as Ankara, Izmir, Istanbul, Antalya, or Bursa.
This one, as well, is a small town in the vicinity of Izmir’s Odemis district, 9 kilometers away from its district. Odemis, also, does not have that much of a touristic attribute.
However, this small and peaceful village has visitors every season and it is quite popular despite its location… There are even those who go so far as to say that it is perhaps the most beautiful village in Anatolia.
Of course, this approach is very, very artsy, considering that every cornerstone has a different story in Anatolia. This is because of the fact that, no matter how large they were, each and every empire and the culture left their important traces and works in this region…
Why would a tourist go to Birgi Village?
So, why do you think a tourist would endure about 1 and a half hour’s drive from Izmir and go to this village?
In fact, there is no such extraordinary structure or mystical situation in this village, like, for example, Gobeklitepe or Cappadocia. However, to be fair, there is a small historical treasure in this interesting corner of Anatolia. The village, which became the center of attention after the 1990s, has also taken place in the World Heritage Temporary List of UNESCO, since 2102.
Tha Capital City – Birgi
The most important feature of this lovely town, which dates back to the Roman Empire period, is that Aydınoğulları Principality, who wanted to take Izmir from Byzantium, used it as the capital. This Principality went under the rule of the Ottomans in the 1300s after capturing a beauty like Izmir from the Byzantines under the leadership of Umur Bey.
This town has never lost its importance because it had always been on the important trade routes (especially the Silk Road, the famous road of the period) to Izmir. On the other hand, it has managed to stay simple and stay away from the spotlights. The village still continues to give peace to its visitors with its authentic atmosphere.
A Rustic Opportunity
Those who are curious about the village life in Anatolia, especially in the Aegean Region, can take 1 or 2 days to visit this village. You can also consider staying in the small pensions there. If you have time for this length of a stay, this might be a good idea. Getting authentic village air may be an unforgettable opportunity compared to many other classical touristic experiences.
On the other hand, if you plan to go from Izmir to Pamukkale or Antalya, the situation will differ. In such a case, we would strongly recommend that you turn your route towards this village and see the area around here even for a short break. Maybe it may cause you to travel 1-2 hours longer, but this will be definitely worth it.
At the very least, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Bozdag Mountains along the way and visit the lagoon named Golcuk. When you get to the village, you can have real village-made products that the people of this town or Odemis district has produced.
There are a few structures in the village that will attract attention. One of them is the historical Mosque, which the Aydınoğulları Principality had built in their period. The architecture of this Mosque is quite different from what you will see in other parts of Anatolia. In a sense, it somehow has a contrary style to most of the Islamic structures. Yet, it doesn’t even have a dome, for example. Its roof resembles the surfaces of a ship that touch the water.
Umur Bey – The Warrior
At this point, I think it would be nice to mention Umur Bey. Umur Bey, who is said to be a great sailor, is allegedly the commander who built the first navy in history. He was an excellent warrior, as he died when he was 39 years old when he joined another war. Anyway, when you get to the village, you will see his attractive statue as well.
Returning to the Mosque, the locals think that this particular roof shape came from this maritime tradition. There are also beautiful and striking symbols and shapes that reflect the architectural richness of that period. For example, you need to see the distribution of octagonal figures in the mosque.
The architect completed those figures in 8 years. The figures are said to describe the Solar system and the stars. Also, it becomes more interesting when you know that the architects used zero nails while building this mosque.
Interesting Buildings of Birgi Village
Likewise, there are other historical buildings such as hammam, madrasah, and another mosque in the village. You can take a look at these while you are strolling around.
Another interesting structure of the village is Çakırağa Mansion, built in the 1760s. People know this mansion for having a romantic story. And the enthusiasm of the owner, who was a merchant, for art is another outstanding feature.
And the treasures
When talking about traveling this much, would it be right not to talk about eating and shopping at all?
You’re right… It won’t be right.
One of the streets of Birgi Village is designed as a street market. There is a lot of village-made and handmade stuff that you can buy for very good prices. You can also find numerous beautiful pieces of textiles, souvenirs, dishes, and food species.
We would suggest you not to leave here without trying the hand-made Turkish style food and desserts prepared by the ladies of the village…