Küçükçekmece. Sounds catchy, doesn’t it? See it. Every curve and imperfection. See it as a masterpiece. Explore it as a new discovery.
Küçükçekmece district was established around Küçükçekmece Lake. It has implanted its routes on the European side of the Metropolis long time ago. A district fed buy the streams of the lake. A district breathing its deep history.
The northern part of the lake whispers tales about earliest human presence of Turkey located mainly here, in the Yarımburgaz Cave. The archaeological settlement declared it as a natural reservation area in 2001. Many of the detected ruins which belongs to the city boarders are thought to belong to the Hellenistic, Late Roman and Byzantine periods. The written word has it – these belong to the ancient Hellenistic ancient city called Bathonea.
Egnetia… A significant route connecting Byzantium and western cities during the raids. A momentous scar stretching all the way across Küçükçekmece becoming its worst enemy.
The district kept its importance after being curbed down by the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Suleiman sure did his best to raise and glorify the area. Like mushrooms after warm summer rain palaces, madrasas, public baths (hamams) and inns shoot up and sprawled around Küçükçekmece. And as spectacular as the architecture is, it’s worth to highlight – this place is not exclusive for its exterior beauty. It’s what’s underneath the old parget of the walls. Feel it.
If you are on the way to visit Küçükçekmece Lake, you can stop by the Garip Dede Tomb. It’s an Alevi tomb that’s located by the lake. There’s not a lot of information about who was Garip Dede but it is certain that he was an important Alevi-Bektaşi character. According to the Islamic mysticism, ‘Garip’ refers dervish who dedicate himself to God. The reason they are called Garip is because they think this universe is temporary place and they are guests in this world.
The vicinity of Küçükçekmece Lake was an amazing place during 1950s and 1960s. The Lake was a truly miraculous place back then. Clean and so clear you can see the life under the surface of the water. People would go for a cool refreshing swim, stroll around with their small wooden boats, fling on their rods and peacefully wait for the curious fish whilst day-dreaming about how wonderful it would be to explore the undersea world like them at least for a day. People would ride their bicycles, or spend a late afternoon in an open-air cinema for some good old movie time. Küçükçekmece was surrounded by peaceful resort atmosphere all around. A little heaven in a bosom of Istanbul.
Unfortunately, as there’s always sun after a storm, there’s also another storm awaiting… After region started to house industrial factories along the Küçükçekmece Lake, district has been invaded by migrants. Numerous illegal houses were built in a really short time. The Lake got polluted over the years as a consequence of all the factories along the lake. The charm and peacefulness of Küçükçekmece was damaged and disabled.
Effort and action has been taken by the governor along with the natures’ persistence against the destruction which gave the lake another chance to breathe. The district now is a busy lively hive with its streams still running through. And you can only smile with your heart while you watch the most beautiful sunset in Istanbul here, at the Küçükçekmece Lake, and think that there’s nothing powerful enough to “wipe out” what has already been absorbed within. Try to feel it. Can you?…
Photo Credits: Küçükçekmece Municipality