Büyükçekmece is a district in the
suburbsof İstanbul, Turkeyon the Marmara coast of the European side, west of the city. It is largely an industrial area. Population 380,000. Gelsenkirchenin the Ruhr area, Germanyis a twin towm to Büyükçekmece, since 2004.
The land around this inlet of the
Sea of Marmara, has been settled, abandoned and resettled throughout history as army after army passed along the Marmara coast to İstanbul. It is thought to be the site of the Greek colony on the Marmara shore called "Athyra". The Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan built a bridge to cross the mouth of the inlet and there are ruins of inns and caravansarai which show this was a stopping place on the road to Europe. At the beginning of the Ottoman period it was empty forest and farmland and has gradually been settled by Turkish peoples migrating in from the Balkans and the Caucasus.
In the early years of the Turkish republic it was still very rural, with village cottages, farmland behind, and by the sea the odd weekend home for Istanbul people. The area was a very popular day or weekend trip from the city, there is a sandy shoreline, a long seafront and until the 1970s families would come out to Büyükçekmece for fishing, crabbing or for a day on the beach.
The area administered by Büyükçekmece includes a large hinterland behind the Marmara shore, some of it still rural.
In the centre of Büyükçekmece itself there are still
tea gardens on the seafront and other places for kids to play while their families sit, picnic and enjoy the sea views. These are now used by day trippersfrom the city, especially the nearby dense working-class housing areas such as Avcilar.
There are no holiday-makers now, they have moved further out from the city as since the 1950s the area has become industrialised, over-built with apartment buildings, and populated by migrants from Anatolia. Today the inlet and the Marmara Sea are both very polluted and the infrastructure of an industrial city is now in place.
Büyükçekmece Lakewas connected to the sea until it was separated by a dam to supply fresh water to Istanbul. The bridge of Mimar Sinan is located in this area.
Atirus Shopping Center
* [http://www.bcekmece.bel.tr Official site of Büyükçekmece Municipality]
* [http://www.istan-bul.org/index.php?x=28.577756881713867&y=41.02025424320425&l=14&f=255 Satelite view of Büyükçekmece]
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