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Menemen is 35 km away from the center of İzmir. The district, which was founded before the birth of Christ, is famous for its historical buildings, and pottery.
Places worth seeing in Menemen
Taşhan, one of the most important historical heritages of Menemen, consists of a covered Turkish bazaar right across, the Mahkeme Mosque, (also referred as the Mehmet Pasha Mosque and Çivili Mosque by the locals), and an Ottoman Islamic social complex, including a Turkish bath. Because of its central location on the caravan trail to Izmir and Foça, Taşhan has always been an important accommodation and trade center in history.
The oldest ancient dwelling center in the Aegean Region, Panaztepe Ancient City is also located within the borders of Maltepe Village, Menemen. During the first archeological excavations, the ruins of the city, the port, and the graveyard belonging to the Mycenaean Civilization were discovered. The deposit layers in the settlement area are remains from a village dating to recent times, to the Byzantine era, Early Bronze Age, Medium Bronze Age and the end of Late Bronze Age.
Another places to visit in Menemen include House of the Priest, which is one of the oldest and the most unique structures of the district as the first army branch built Menemen; The Agios Constantinos Church which used to serve the Christian Greeks in the district before the Turkish Independence War, and is still standing; and Mühürlü Sultan (Kız Veli) Mausoleum, which is estimated to be around 500 years old.
Pottery in Menemen
The region called Aiolis during the Antique Age is very rich and fertile in terms of soil and especially pottery clay. That is why fishery and winery, amphorae made of terracotta and pottery have developed since the Ancient Age in the Aegean. The amphorae of the ancient ages have transformed into the Menemen jug today. While the production techniques and intended purpose have changed in time, pottery is still as valuable as it used to be for the district of Menemen.
What to eat in Menemen
The four most famous dishes in the district are Menemen dish, which is made of eggs with tomato; Pot Yogurt, a unique produce of the region made by fermenting the milk of cows and sheep in the region, in terracotta pots made of clay soil and is preferred by many since it is organic; Emiralem Strawberries, which can be found during only a short period of the year; and Sultaniye Seedles Grapes, which are succulent, non-acidic and seedless white grapes.
Where to visit
Taşhan (meaning “stone inn” in Turkish), which is a historical complex consisting of a covered bazaar, Mahkeme Mosque, and a Turkish bath, is one of the buildings worth seeing in the district. It is also one of the important accommodation centers of the district. Other important buildings you can visit are the Mühürlü Sultan Tomb, Kasımpaşa Tomb, Papazın Evi (meaning “the house of the priest” in Turkish) which is the first military building in the district, the Armenian Church, and the Church of Agios Konstantinos, which is not open for worshipping any more but you can visit. If you’re into history, you can visit Panaztepe Ancient City, where remains from the Early Bronze Age are found, Leukai Ancient City which is located near the Maltepe village, and the Ancient City of Larissa where you can see the ruins from the 6th century B.C. If you want to spend a day in nature, you can go to Karagöl Park for a picnic and hiking. We should also remind you that the road to Karagöl is a little winding.
What to do
You can visit the workshops where Menemen pottery, which is famous not only in Turkey but also in the world, is made, and you can get the opportunity to watch the pottery production closely. Menemen pots are also a valuable souvenir that you can give to your loved ones as gifts.