Today we’re in Cesme, Turkey. We’re going to head up into the hills for a panoramic view over the city, come into town for a walking tour, visit a Greek Orthodox church and see a centuries-old castle. We’ve got a lot to do, so let’s get going.
The name Cesme derives from the Turkish word for fountain. We learned that the name probably comes from the many Ottoman fountains throughout the city.
Çesme was once the region’s major port. The city marked the end of the infamous Silk Road.
Caravans came into town from Central Asia and the Middle East to unload their goods from camels for export to Europe on boats that sailed the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
“We’re on our walking tour in Cesme, and we’ve been invited for refreshments. Now we have Turkish coffee here in these beautiful little pots, and Turkish donuts. Now, the name of these in Turkish is beyond my linguistic capabilities. Both of these have what’s called mastika inside. Now, mastika comes from the resin of trees, and it’s also used in chewing gum, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it tastes.
“First the coffee. It looks a little bit like motor oil. Wow, that is an unusual taste. It’s not like the coffee that I’m used to. It tastes like it has liqueur in it, and in fact, mastika is used in raki.”
We stepped inside the Church of Agios Haralambos. The church is named for Saint Haralambos, a Christian bishop who worked to spread the holy gospel in this region for many years. He was arrested and brought to trial where he confessed his faith in Christ and martyred for his faith. Some sources say that at the time of his martyrdom, the saint was 113 years old.
Next we stepped into Çesme Castle. With its six towers and moats on three sides, the castle is the focal point of the city. It’s guarded by a statue of one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Cesme. The commander is depicted caressing his famous pet lion and facing the Town Square.
The castle also has a small museum with ancient artifacts from various periods – and the various wars – throughout Turkish history in this area. I climbed up to the top of the castle for views over the city and the Aegean, ending a nice day in Cesme.