Love that comes late: Ağva, Istanbul.
It has been waiting patiently and excitedly for the day it would attract people’s interest. And now it is discovered: Ağva of Istanbul...
Istanbul's hidden treasure: Ağva
Ağva sure deserved to be paid attention to, with all its charm and innocence. It wanted to be loved, just like Şile right beside it. And justice prevailed at last –people became passionately addicted to it.
A pure blue sea, a beach with fine sand, two wonderful brooks, perfect nature, clean air, attractive gardens, delicious fish... Here is the pearl of the Black Sea region, which is only 115 km away from Istanbul. Here is Yeşilçay... I can almost hear you ask “Yeşilçay? Where is it?" Yeşilçay is the official name of Ağva, with which you are already familiar. Why don’t we leave formality aside and use the name Ağva instead?
"The village set between two brooks"
There is of course a reason why this beautiful town is called Ağva. The name means “the village set between two brooks” in Latin. These two brooks are Göksu and Yeşilçay, which come down from Izmit’s Çal Hill. These waters and its surrounding nature arouse feelings that cannot be explained but can only be experienced. In particular, taking a boat trip along a brook among reeds and trees while birds sing just before sunset is an incomparable pleasure. The pleasure of sailing in a boat is exceptional, but you can also use a canoe or a water bike. If you are with a large group, you can also take a motor craft. Yet if you like to listen to nature’s peaceful silence, I would recommend that you split into small groups and go on a boat trip. You can also swim in Ağva’s brooks with all shades of green to accompany you. I do not know if you would prefer to swim in the clean and cool Black Sea; nonetheless, I want to remind you that you can swim in these rivers, especially the Göksu.
Cool yourself in the Black Sea!
With the cool blue sea, the natural coasts, the untouched bays, the charming isles, and the three-kilometer-long beach, you may feel as if you are in one of the most beautiful bays of the south. But you must never forget about the weather and water temperature. If you stay too long in the Black Sea and become exposed to the wind after getting out, it is quite possible that you will end this vacation by catching a cold. You’d do better to keep yourself within the limits when swimming. For you have so much to do in Ağva...
So many things to discover!
Among the places you need to discover in Ağva are Kilim Bay, Sakligöl (Hidden Lake) and Gelin Kayası (Bride’s Rock). Gelin Kayası is named as such because it is white and it looks like a bride with a veil. If you have rheumatism, remember that walking on the beach, which is believed to be healing, and breathing in the fresh air would be very good for you.
Journey to the past...
Now let’s take a look at Ağva’s past. Just like it embraces those who love it today, Ağva presented itself to Hittites, Phrygians, Romans and Ottomans, and gained a place in history. In the second half of the14th century, Turkmen from Konya, Karaman and Balıkesir settled there. Today, Ağva’s local people are the children of those Turkmen. When we look at Ağva’s history, we come across an interesting story. Siyahi Ahmet Efendi, one of the 18th century calligraphers, had to put in Ağva because of a minor problem in his ship during a journey. He took a walk in Ağva and passes by a cemetery. Siyahi Ahmet Efendi says: “Those poor ones could not make it to Şile and were buried in a more pleasant place.” By coincidence, he died in Ağva that night and was buried in that cemetery. Ağva does not attract visitors only because of its beautiful nature but also because of its historical remnants. You can visit the church and gravestones belonging to Romans in Kalemköy, and Gürlek and Inkese caves found in early 4th century in the Hacıllı village. Christians escaping Pagan Romans had taken shelter in these caves for a long time and saved themselves from the Romans’ wrath. Remains of the castle in Hisartepe and the mountain mill in Sungurlu are also among the historical treasures of Ağva.
All kinds of fresh fish...
One of the most important aspects of Ağva is that you can find all kinds of fresh fish there since it is on the coast of the Black Sea. The abundance of fishing boats will catch your eye when you take your first steps in Ağva. In the attractive restaurants beside the blue sea or a green brook, you can find fresh fish of the season. It is impossible to leave Ağva without eating fish. Menus of the restaurants include fish cooked on the grill, wood fire or tile kiln. The meals are improved in taste by adding sweet bay leaves and special sauces, which are quite affordable. In this paradise, if you prefer going to the restaurants in the countryside, you can also have such delicious food as quail, chicken or kebab. After dinner, it is recommended that you walk to the lighthouse where the river meets the sea, and take deep breaths of the Black Sea’s refreshing air. If you are interested in fishing, or you would like to try, Ağva is the ideal place for you. Fishermen in Ağva are helpful –they don’t just inform you, they let you go fishing with them and have fun listening to their stories.
A unique environment...
Ağva is a good place not only for fishing but also for hunting with gazelles, jackals, many species of birds and especially kingfishers in the forests. However, it is much better to enjoy the sight than hunt! If you want to make the most of Ağva’s forests, you can also enjoy cycling and hiking. After reading about the heavenly beauties of Ağva, have you begun to adore it, too? You are lucky to be one of Ağva lovers, because, having been neglected and thus upset for so many years, Ağva now embraces all those who love it and gives them whatever they need.
How to get to Ağva…
If you go by car, follow Ümraniye-Şile route. After passing Şile, go through Kabanoz, Imranlı and Kurfallı. You will arrive in Ağva in about one and a half hour.
If you want to travel by bus, you can easily use the Şile-Ağva buses that run from Üsküdar every hour.
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