Balıkesir is a city and the capital of Balıkesir province in the Marmara region. This agricultural and industrial city is well known for its dairy produce and food products such as wheat, sunflowers and sugar beet. Olive oil is also produced here and Balıkesir and its districts make up the 12th largest economy in Turkey.
On top of a hill with commanding views of the city below is the Çamlıtepe Park. This large and impressive park with its tree lined borders and open spaces features a mosque, arts and craft shops and the Balıkesir National Library. There is ample parking and any visit to Balıkesir should include a trip to this park.
The city of Balıkesir is vibrant and youthful, in no small part due to the fact that the Balıkesir University Campus and its 25,000 students represent 10% of the population of the city. Balıkesir has a population of over 250,000 which makes it the 4th most crowded city in the Marmara region.
From the train station in central Balıkesir you can take a night sleeper to Ankara, effectively using the train as a hotel whilst you sleep through the entire 9 hour journey.
The city has a number of architectural attractions. The clock tower ( Saat Kulesi ) which was built in 1892 and is the symbol of the city. There is a historical fountain built in 1908. The Zaganos Pasha Mosque built in 1827 and the Yildirim Mosque completed in 1388 are the most well known historic buildings. In the centre of the city there is the “Pasha Hamami” Turkish Baths which are still in use. There are also old houses from the Ottoman period in the Aygoren and Karaoglan districts. Around the city limits you will see many thermal spas and health hotels. The area is famous for its thermal springs.
The Balıkesir National Photography Museum and the Museum of National Monument which exhibits historical memories of the city are both worth a visit. There is also a contemporary modern art museum near the bus station. City life is concentrated in the centre around the main squares. The Ataturk park area is tranquil and serene and allows an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city nearby. The city is a mix of traditional shops and more modern shopping centres.
Many locals head for the parks or the Avlu Centre, called the Courtyard in English. Here you will find a large shopping complex comprising mainly of cafes and restaurants with the river on one side and small artificial lakes with water fountains on the other.
The name of the city Balıkesir actually means fish-slave in Turkish although this is a corruption in the translation from its old Greek name of “Palaokastron” which means “old castle” In 1345 the city was annexed by the Ottomans. In 1897 an earthquake almost destroyed it. During the Turkish War of Independence the city was taken back from the Greeks and became a main centre for the war offensive.
When you do a Google search on Balıkesir you will can easily get confused because so many websites are talking about the region of Balıkesir instead of the city itself.
Places to stay
Öğretmen Evi, Plevne Mahallesi Cumhuriyet Caddesi No:126 Altıeylül / Balıkesir
2 Kişilik Oda 180 TL Tel: 0 (266) 549 10 10
Balıkesir historical windmills are about 25km from the city in Karakol village. Originally there were 7 historical windmills but only three of these now remain.
Degirmen Boazi, a beautiful forest area just 10km from Balıkesir off the main highway to Bursa. An area of natural beauty lying between two hills and a popular local destination at holiday times and weekends. There is a nice tea garden and restaurant here.