The Menderes district is 20 km. from İzmir. The ancient city of Lebedos is in the Ürkmez location, in the west of the district. The ruins of the ancient cities of Colophon, Claros, Notion and Lebedos, located adjacent to each other, are the important archaeological reference points concerning the history of the area. The sub-district of Gümüldür located in this region is the producer of “satsuma”, a world famous type of tangerine. The subdistrict of Özdere is a location not only popular for its clean sea and coast, but also for offering great fishing opportunities for amateur fisherman. Beads produced by the local people in the Village of Görece in Menderes are used to avert the evil eye, a place of particular interest to local and foreign tourists alike.
The city to the east of present day Değirmendere, named after Kolophon Mountain, was the only Ionian city not to be built by the seaside. It formed a strong union with the Port of Notion and Klaros, the city of temples. There are a few ruins in the city, which was settled throughout the Lydian, Persian, Seleucid and Pergamon periods. The city remained under the influence of Crete and Mycenae during the major Ionian migrations. The first excavation work was carried out in 1922, in the area where city ruins had been unearthed earlier in 1886. The lower city section extends along the edge of the acropolis located in the south, and the walls built in the 4th century B.C. protect it. The first city was located to the southwest of the hill with a height of 800 m where the acropolis was built. There are imprints and signs of buildings that once existed on the northern slope of the acropolis. Of such buildings, which survived to present day in a good condition, an eyvan (threewalled vaulted antechamber, open at the front) which dates back to the 4th century B.C. is the most outstanding one. It is believed that the famous philosopher and poet Xenophanes lived in Kolophon in the 6th century B.C.
Lebedos Ancient City:
Lebedos, one of the ancient cities of Ionian region, was founded on a small hill next to Ürkmez Village on the shore between Seferihisar and Selçuk. Lebedos, founded by Andropompos (one of the sons of King Kodros) in the north of Kolophon (Değirmendere), is one of the first Anatolian cities conquered by the Hellenes during the Ionian migration. Although the city was one of the twelve members of the Ionian League, it remained weak together with its neighbor Myus in compare to other cities. Lebedos, defined by Horatius as the “Deserted Village”, was the only Ionian city that did not coin in the Classical period.
In the Hellenistic period, the name of the city was never mentioned, King Antigonos considered to add this city to the territory of Teos. It is mentioned that Lysimakhos placed the people of Lebedos to Ephesos and completely eliminated Lebedos. Despite this, the city survived, and in 226 BC, the city had to accept the reign of the Egyptian King Ptolomaios II. For this reason, the city was called as "Ptolemais" for a 60-year period. Artists of Dionysos who were expelled from Teos, Ephesos and Myonnesos in the 2nd century BC settled here and made some contributions to the development of the city.
Since there is no archaeological research in Lebedos, information about its past history is quite insufficient. The ruins that can survive until today are very few. Only the remains of the walls surrounding all around the peninsula have survived. On the slopes of the main land opposite Lebedos, a large number of sherds and wall traces were found on the surface. In addition, the foundations of a quite large building were found on a flat hill here.
Baklatepe, which is located in the south of Izmir, on the northern edge of the old Bulgurca Village of Menderes, is known by this name because it is an area where broad beans has been grown for years (Bakla means broad beans in turkish). The mound has a natural rocky altitude, it has 250 meters of diameter and 20 meters of height. The top of the hill is a flat surface up to 70 meters in diameter. It is supported by rich foundlings that it is a settlement located in the back region that supported maritime trade in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC.
The spa, which is carved into the rock and has two rooms, is located on the pathway to the north of the bridge, which is located 6-8 km after entering the Deliömerli direction on the 17th km of the Menderes-Gümüldür road. It was used as thermal treatment centers of Roman hot springs and baths which were built in the 3rd century BC.
Klaros, the city of soothsayers
Although the year of its foundation is not known, it is believed that the inhabitants of Kolophon built this city as a temple site for the main god, Apollo, in the 7th to 6th centuries B.C. The Temple of Apollo, built in the Doric style, was known throughout the world for its soothsayers, who were believed to have secret powers. There are ruins from the Ionian, Roman and Byzantine periods. Klaros, which was not an independent city, achieved some development as an annex to Kolophon. Inscriptions carved by people visiting the soothsayers for advice have been unearthed in Propylea, which is believed to have been built in the 2nd century B.C. In Propylea, there is a sacred pathway leading to the Temple of Apollo, which is lined on both sides with columns and statues.
The Statue of Apollo on top of the sacred room is 7.5 m. tall. At a distance of 2.5 m. from the front of the temple there is a monumental altar. The site, where excavation of these ruins is in progress by the Aegean University, is open to visitors.
Port City of Notion
Notion, which was the port city of Kolophon, is 2 km. from Klaros. Although no ruins have survived to present day in a protected condition, the outer city walls running for about 4 km., and dating back to the Hellenistic Period, are interesting. It is also a favourite place to visit because of its proximity to Kolophon and Klaros, and the views offered of the Island of Samos, Kuşadası and Efes (Ephesus). The major ruins at Notion are located to the south of Ahmetbeyli and include the Temple of Athena, a Bouleuterion, outer city walls and a theatre.
The town was called as Kasura in the Hittites period, Dioshieron in the Ions, Kesri in the Ottomans, Kesre in the Republic period. Recent name is Özdere. It is the most important holiday and tourism center of the district with its emerald forests where the deep blue sea and its historical texture rest.
Although there are many beautiful places to swim and to make picnic in Özdere, the most important ones are Koru, Zindancık, Lake Bed and Kuyu Bükü bays; Güverte Restaurant, Çukuraltı, Kalemlik Forest Camp, 14 Evler, Göktur, Orta Mahalle and Genclik Park beaches are the most popular places.
It is located on the coastal road connecting Gümüldür, Kuşadası and Çeşme. It is approximately 75 km from İzmir and 40 km from Kuşadası and Ephesus. Orhan Veli Su Sağlık Güneş Yolu Beach and Denizatı Beach are the most well-known and most popular holiday destinations in the coastal region, with a population of 200 thousand in the summer months.
SYMBOLIC ITEMS SPECIFIC TO MENDERES:
Evil Eye Bead:
In almost every period of the history of civilization, human beings have resorted to objects called talismans in order to get rid of their fears and troubles or to defend bad effects. It is believed that symbols and signs which are considered sacred within monotheistic religions keep human beings away from evil energies. One of these symbols stands out in almost every culture without exception. It is the evil eye.
The evil eye bead, which is among the intangible cultural heritages, is produced in the traditional furnaces in the Görece Neighborhood of Menderes. The beads, which are believed to protect the human from the eyes, are produced by hand labor and exported to all over the world. This art has undergone little change over the centuries. The ancient Mediterranean glass art of 3 thousand years lives in Menderes beads with all its delicacies. Today, real evil eye beads are produced by the last few masters who work wholeheartedly in Menderes district of Izmir.
Gumuldur Mandarin has become a brand with its color, smell, flavor and, of course, health benefits. With the Gümüldür Mandarin Festival, which was organized by Menderes Municipality on the 28th and 29th of November 2014, it was aimed to promote this product, which is one of the main sources of income in the district, to support and encourage its producers, and to reach new markets.
Another agricultural product that has become the symbol of Menderes is grape. Efemçukuru Neighborhood, 22 km from the center of Menderes and 42 km from the city center of Izmir, is under the influence of the Mediterranean Climate. The grapes in these vineyards, which create the a beautiful atmosphere, are black type of grapes called "alfons" with its commercial name and "enfes" in colloquial speech.
Colorful roses that make a great contribution to the economic life of the region are one of the important trade items. 50 percent of Türkiye's demand of cloves are distributed from the greenhouses in Altıntepe Neighbourhood of the Menderes district. In addition to roses and cloves, gerberas, chrysanthemums and lilies are also cultivated here.