Summer’s Cool At Şile

Surrounded by extensive, well-preserved forests, Şile brings the cool Black Sea atmosphere to Istanbul with its therapeutic beaches, humming market, historic lighthouse and lively festivals.

Did you know the Şile lighthouse is one of Turkey’s biggest? Celebrating its 150th anniversary this month in a project called ‘Attaining the Light’, it will be draped in Şile’s special cotton fabric July 23rd and 24th and photographed continuously over a 24-hour period with a catalog to follow. The program also features a special play about the lighthouse.

Weeping Rocks
Known as the ‘Weeping Rocks’, this underground spring that issues from between the rocks below Şile lighthouse has been immortalized in legend since the flow of water is reminiscent of a person weeping. According to the legend, a wealthy village maiden by the name of Eftelya used to meet here clandestinely with her beloved Mehmet, a poor shepherd, and even the rocks would shed tears at the star-crossed lovers’ tragic predicament.

Genoese Castle
Two millennia of history lay preserved in the ruins of the castle at Şile, which was used in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. A 12-meter-long section of the castle, built prior to the conquest of Istanbul, is still standing today. Nearby Heciz Castle, which rises atop a steep hill near Yeşil Vadi (Green Valley), was built to protect Byzantium against military raids from Anatolia.

Şile Market
A veritable rainbow of color awaits you at the Şile Market, where you will find a statue of a young girl embroidering ‘Şile bezi’, the crimped cotton fabric for which the town is famous. The shops that line the avenue are chock full of tablecloths, curtains, shirts and dresses all made of this fabric and attractively embroidered. Besides these garments, which leave a person feeling comfortably cool on even the hottest summer days, you can also try the town’s famous chestnut honey.

There are a number of beaches along the 65-meter coastline of this township which, according to municipal statistics, consists of 79% green cover. Turkey’s largest life-saving team mans these beaches, which are advertised as being ‘zero risk’ this summer season.

Sea Caves
Its coastline dotted with tiny islands, Şile also boasts a number of sea caves. One at Ocaklıada, Tersane Cave east of Şile harbor, Feneraltı Cave at Şile Point, Akşam Güneşi Cave at Harmankaya, Tavanlı Cave at Yay Burnu and the Kabakoz and Kilimli caverns, to name just a few.

Şile Bezi Festival
The Şile Bezi Culture and Art Festival will be held this year on July 24th. The festival, which garnered wide acclaim during the lifetime of Turkish singer Zeki Müren, one of the town’s more colorful personalities, will be welcoming guests again this year when the festival concert and its program of surprise singers will resound with dance and a host of other performances.