Surface Area and Location
Gökçeada, which is the largest island of Turkey, has a surface area of 289 km.2 It has 46 nautical miles of coastline (approximately 83 km.), and its closes connection with main land is located between Gökçeada-Kuzu Port and Gelibolu Yarımadası-Kabatepe Port. Gökçeada is 14 nautical miles (approximately 25 km) away from Gelibolu Peninsula, the main land. Gökçeada is 12 miles (approximately 22 km) away from Semadirek Island which is located in the northern-west of Gökçeada, and it is 10 miles (approximately 18 km.) away from Limni Island which is located in the southern-west of Gökçeada.1
Preservation of natural beauties and rational usage of obtained resources for many years ensured that Gökçeada remains in the list of “natural resources”. Emphasis is placed on preservation of nature and sustainable usage of resources while developing policies on housing, transportation, agriculture and dams. In Gökçeada which was included within the scope of 1st Degree Priority Regions for Development as of 1995, 11% of the land is comprised of plains, 12% of the same is comprised of rugged terrain and 77% of the same is comprised of mountainside.2 The highest point of the island is Doruk Summit which has a height of 673 m.
Interesting geological formations are observed in the area that is located behind Yıldızkoy and Kaleköy of Gökçeada. Volcanic outlets that penetrate into the malos settlements and that cause mushroom shaped swellings to occur on the land have a special status in the geology and geomorphology of the island.3
Kaskavalia Rocks that are located in the vicinity of Kaleköy in Gökçeada are also interesting in terms of their geological characteristics; this structure was formed by the melting of eruptive granite stones and volcanic rocks that emerged in the tertiary geological period. Each of the rubbles that are in the form of a sculpture has their own distinctive form. Soft limestones obtained their current form as a result of wearing caused by wind and water for thousands of years.4 Kaskavalia Rocks that are approximately 15 minutes away from Kaleköy Port and 5 minutes away from Kuzu Port are an important diving point.
“Transitional climate of Marmara Sea” which is under the influence of Mediterranean climate is observed in Gökçeada since it is located in the northern-east Aegean Sea. In this type of climate, winters pass colder and snowy in comparison to the Mediterranean Region. There is less amount of vaporization in summers and drought is not observed as much as in the Mediterranean climate. Summer months do not pass depressingly thanks to low ratio of humidity and wind. Rain may be observed in summer time occasionally. More amount of rain drops to the island in comparison to the Mediterranean type climate. Precipitation may take place as snow in December, January and February. Gökçeada is open to winds in connection with its geographical location and Northeast and Southwest winds are mainly effective in the island in general. Gökçeada is on the route of the wind corridor which blows above the Aegean islands in the direction of north-to-south.5
Forests, olive groves, meadows and agricultural fields are available in the VII. Category lands that cover almost entire area of Gökçeada. Brown forest soil is observed in the island, and lime-free brown soil is also observed.
Gökçeada is included to Europe (Thrace) according to Flora Europe. As in the case of certain large Aegean islands, in Gökçeada, black larch may be observed at the upper sections of forests, Calabrian pine and oak may be observed as dominant types in the lower levels, and except for these types, the land is covered with scrub and impoverished scrub or is in the form of naked areas where Mediterranean herbaceous plant may be observed rarely.6 Calabrian pine forests, heaths, oaks, olives, arbutus berry, blackberry, astragalus, thymus, wild pear, tamarix and scrub may be observed as natural vegetation in Gökçeada. Meadows are observed in lower sections that are comprised of natural grasslands, awns and various types of herbaceous plants. Middle and northern parts of the island particularly have a virgin structure in terms of their natural characteristics.7
Other types of land may also be observed, such as naked rocks, rubble and coastal dune.8 Approximately 75% of the surface area of the island is suitable to be used for agricultural purposes, and this ratio is way above the average in Turkey.9
Inland Water Resources
Gökçeada is very rich in terms of fresh water resources. The Salt Lake which is located at the southern-east of the island is a lagoon lake in the size of 2 km.2 which is separated from the sea with a sandbar, and it is formed as a result of the water that has overflown from the sea. Only a thin layer of salt is left in the lake that dries in the summer. In addition to the Salt Lake, other 3 lagoons that are available on the island and Gökçeada Creek which is the largest creek of the island constitute the surface water of the island. The length of İmroz-Büyükdere, which is the most important river of Gökçeada, is 3 km.10 Water is provided from Şahinkaya, Dereköy, Aydıncık and Uğurlu lagoons for irrigation purposes, and potable water and domestic water is provided from Zeytinli Reservoir, and water is provided from Çınarlı Plain for agricultural irrigation purposes.11 There is an earth-rock fill dam established by the State Hydraulic Works on Gökçeada Creek in order to meet the main water requirement of Gökçeada.12
Sea bream, horse mackerel, chub mackerel, mackerel, sea bass, carp, picarel, seabream, red mullet, two-banded seabream, bream and dusky grouper may be listed at the top of the list of fishes that are included to the fauna of Gökçeada. Also, types of sponges are important. In Gökçeada, pre fauna-flora inventory of the island’s sea and land area was taken by Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV). One hundred and eighty sea creatures were determined according to this research. Northern part of the island is particularly rich in terms of sea creatures. Turkey’s first sea park is located in here. 19 types of mammals are determined in the island. Most common specie is the Anatolian Ground Squirrel. There are five caves available in the northern region of the island which host Mediterranean seals. Gökçeada is one of the important areas where the Mediterranean Seal may be observed in Turkey. Flamingos are also among the loyal visitors of the island. This visit that provides fabulous views annually colorizes the island, which is on the immigration route of flamingos, in spring and winter months. The presence of flamingos draws visitors from visitors from all over the globe. It is determined that 143 types of birds are available in Gökçeada. These types of birds constitute 30% of Turkey’s bird fauna.13
1 Ata Atalay, Development of a Resource Management Model for Gökçeada, 2008, Department of Landscape Architecture, Institute of Science, Ankara University, Phd Thesis, s.1
2 Hüryılmaz, H. (2006). Windy Garden of Northern-east Aegean Sea: Gökçeada, page no. 36, First Edition: Çanakkale.
3 Öztürk, H. 2001. “Geomorphological and Hydrogeological Structure of Gökçeada – Its Importance for Settlement Planning”; Declarations for National Aegean Islands Meeting 2001 Book, page no.: 1-8, TÜDAV Publication No: 7, Ofis Printing House. Çanakkale.
4 Yurtseven, H..R. 2006a. Slow Food and Gökçeada: An Administrative Approach, Detay Publishing, 1. Edition, ISBN: 975-8969-58-7, Publisher No: 05-06-0395-HY-150, Ankara.
5 Lerzan Yetim Erdinç, Determination of the Natural and Cultural Architecture Characteristics of Gökçeada and Bozcada, Preservation and Development Facilities, Department of Landscape Architecture, Institute of Science, Ankara University, Consultant: Prof. Dr. Mükerrem ARSLAN, Phd Thesis, page no. 115
6 Erinç, S. and Yücel T. 1978, Aegean Sea-Aegean Islands that are neighbours of Turkey, Publication of Turkish Culture Research Institute, 50, Series: VII, Issue: A3, Ankara.
7 Atabay, S. and Özügül, M.D. 2001. “Ecological Based Space Organization Based on Gökçeada Example”, National Aegean Islands Meeting, August 10-11, 2001, Sympozium Book, pages no. : 48-59, Gökçeada.
8 Lerzan Yetim Erdinç, Phd Thesis, page no. 98.
9 Doğan, H. 2007. Meeting held with Gökçeada District Director of Agriculture on April 24, 2007. Ata Atalay, Development of a Resource Management Model for Gökçeada, 2008, Department of Landscape Architecture, Institute of Science, Ankara University, Phd Thesis.
10 Atabay, S. and Özügül, Sympozium Book, pages no: 48-59, Gökçeada.
11 Bozbay, A. 2002. “Architectural Analysis within the framework of Ecological Planning in Gökçeada Example”, Documentation Centre of the Board of Higher Education, Republic of Turkey, Institute of Science, Istanbul University, Master’s Thesis, Consultant: Prof.Dr.Yahya Ayaslıgil, Department of Landscape Architecture, Istanbul.
12 Lerzan Yetim Erdinç, Phd Thesis, page no.98
13 Tok, C.V., , 2014, İstanbul, s.130