Considering the land, Çatalca is happens to be the largest district in Istanbul. Located on the north of European side, this district has 135 km coastline along Black Sea. It consist of 2 neighbourhood and many villages. There are also two lakes named; Durusu and Büyükçekmece Lake which provides potable water of Istanbul. Having so many different sized streams surrounded with forests, Çatalca is known as to be the storehouse of fresh air within Istanbul.
Starting with Byzantine Empire, Çatalca has always seen as a door which opens to Istanbul. As a result of this location, numerous battles had taken place within the borders of this district. While there weren’t any battle, the region was used as a hunting and wood yard area by hunters. Ottomans occupied Çatalca area for many times. Last time was when II. Mehmed conquered before Siege of Istanbul.
Russian-Ottoman War, happened in between 1977 and 1978, has a huge importance for the future of the region. Russian Army arrived to Yeşilköy and Ottomans were being forced to sign a peace agreement. As a result of battle, Ottoman Empire lost very large lands in Balkans. Concurrently, a huge migration wave started from Balkans to Çatalca and this land became a new home for these migrants.
Later, Çatalca became a home for migrants again after Balkan Wars (1912), First World War (1914-1918) and interchange between Greece and Turkey (1924). All the residents were migrants from different regions. Usually, each group established their own settlements and sustained their own cultures. They worked on the areas of agriculture and stockbreeding. Sunflower, barley, melon, watermelon, butter, cheese and yogurt were the main outputs. Apart from these, industrial investments have been done and now there are several textile companies with their factories functioning in Çatalca.
Located in Çatalca, Anastasian Wall (Long Walls of Thrace) which was known as the most monumental Roman barriers wall was the latest masterpiece of the emperor Anastasios. Walls were built in order to protect Constantine from Huns and Slavs. Having all the characteristics of city of defence one may expect to find towers, gates and forts. It ran from north to south through locations what are today Karacaköy, Gümüşpınar, Pınarca, Kurfallı, Fener, Alipaşa, and Silivri.
With its nature, Çatalca is a sanctuary for the residents of Istanbul. It has many activities to offer mostly related to nature. If you want to have a trip to Çatalca, Subaşı being a home of İnceğiz caves, is one of the best option to start with. Just beside caves, there is a huge picnic area where you can enjoy good weather with your friends and family.
Yalıköy is another nice village which offers an amazing beach along the Black Sea. There is no entry fee for beach and comparatively this beach is more calm and peaceful spot to enjoy the sea. The reason why this spot is not so crowded is not because it’s hidden treasure. It is because sea is very rough and if you are not very good at swimming, don’t take risk. If you are not good at swimming don’t be sad reading this as there are many other things for you to enjoy. You can do camping, walk along the coast, listen to the sound of waves and watch the sunrise and sunset. If you don’t like camping or don’t feel like carrying your stuff, don’t worry, you can also find small hostels very close to beach.
Çilingöz is another place for camping spot seekers. The camping area residing here has a little fee to enter. Paying this entrance fee, one may expect to find fresh water, shower cabins and toilets inside. If you are interested in fishing don’t forget to take your fishhook with you. The part of stream which is close to sea is rich in terms of fishes and you don’t have to be a professional to catch one. Still if you aren’t lucky enough to catch a fish, there’re also restaurants which offer dish and wines from Thracia. Not to mention; this neighbourhood is a very secure area which is being guarded by police and soldiers.
Photo Credits: Abdulaziz Ceylan