A historical town in western Turkey craves to be a tourist hub with new projects reviving its nearly 3,000-year-old history.
Located in the Odemis district of Izmir on the Aegean coast, Birgi dates back to 750 B.C., according to estimates.
With the traces of Phrygian and Lydian civilizations, Persian and Pergamon kingdoms, Roman and Byzantine empires, the Aydinid dynasty, and the Ottoman period, Birgi has been hosting a vibrant social life for thousands of years with its water resources and fertile lands.
The historical premises, which succeeded in bringing the architectural texture formed during the time of Aydinid dynasty to the present day and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List in 2012, take its visitors to a journey through time with the architectural tradition it preserves.
With the project named Efeler Road, Birgi is getting ready to host more domestic and international tourists. Among the stakeholders are Izmir Governorship, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Ege University, Regional Directorate of Forestry, and provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism.
The project, which is a 500-kilometer (310-mile) walking route connecting the villages and plateaus where the Efes, Aegean region’s most celebrated guerilla leaders, lived and the old villages in the Bozdaglar and Aydin Mountains, is expected to contribute significantly to the tourism of the region.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Yasar Gunaydin, Birgi representative of Rural Tourism Association, called the town a very important asset.
The region is also becoming a hot spot for Turkish television series and films to be shot, he pointed out.
Gunaydin said that they expected the place to become a center of attraction with the implementation of the Efeler Road project.
“It is a very comprehensive work. Birgi is one of the most important points of this project,” he added.
“With the project, we expect foreign tourists flock here. Because when they discover this place, I’m sure more people will come,” he said.
Among of the academicians of the Cultural Routes Research Group established in Ege University as part of the project, Ozgur Ozkaya said they think that the route that connects Bozdaglar and Aydin Mountains from the plateaus and ends at the House of the Virgin Mary in Izmir will create a very attractive alternative for international tourism.
Ozkaya added that thanks to the Efeler Road project, they anticipate that historical places, especially in Birgi, will host more visitors.
“Birgi, home to several civilizations, presents a multi-cultural structure with its monuments and historic buildings from different periods,” according to UNESCO.
“The city presents some monumental buildings from different periods together with a traditional housing texture dated to the 18th century. It is one of the precious examples, of which the integrity and authenticity have been preserved till today,” the UN agency said.