IZMIR, Turkey --
Foça, a little fishing town about 45 minutes northwest of Izmir, was established in the 11th century as “Phokaia” in antiquity. Eski Foça (Old Foça) and Yeni Foça (New Foça) are two famous districts of Foça. Eski Foça is probably the best of the two districts for tourism.
The two bays called Küçükdeniz (Small Sea) and Büyükdeniz (Big Sea) resemble a half moon. All fish restaurants, discos, shops, bars and recreational areas are lined up along the shore.
On narrow stone-paved streets, you will see little stone-houses lined up across from each other. When walking from one end to the other, take the time to sit on one of the benches by the Five Doors Castle to watch the sunset. The noise coming from the little boats coming back from fishing is a harmony that completes the day.
The little sea-side town receives its name from monk seals. The monk seals on the back of the ancient Phokaian coins are proof that the town has long honored these animals. Although the seal is the modern symbol of Foça, in ancient times it was the rooster, the symbol of living and early awakening. There is also a belief among Foça locals that there is a hidden golden rooster somewhere in the little town, sought for many years by treasure hunters.
People living in Foça earn their living from fishing and tourism. While the fishermen drink their teas during the sunset, the fish collected from their nets are being sold to the restaurants. One can find fresh fish like coral fish, bass and grey mullet for reasonable prices.
“We have special fishing tours from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those interested in fishing,” said Kemal Kemiksiz, a native fisherman of Foça who has been working at the market for years. “No matter whether you are a professional or an amateur, you can have a day of fun for 100 TL (Turkish lira). If you don’t like fishing, and just want to eat good fish, all you need to do is to buy the type of fish you like from the fish market, and take it to the nearest restaurant. The restaurant will only charge you for cooking the fish, and you can have a cheaper lunch or dinner in this way.”
There is a well-known rumor in Foça about a black stone, the location of which is unknown in the town. If people step on it once, they will never want to leave Foça. If they are obliged to go, they will sooner or later come back to Foça. People who hear this story are likely to go for a stroll around the town hoping to step on that black stone and stay in this beautiful town.
So make the most of it at Foça during the ITT fishing trip and enjoy the Küçükdeniz Harbor where fish restaurants, discos, shops, bars and recreational areas are lined up along the shore on the way back.