The Culture of Gökçeada

İmroz (Gökçeada) in Mythology

İmroz, antique name of Gökçeada, comes from Imbrasos, pre-Hellenic agriculture god. The island is known as the abundance land of Imbrasos. The name of İmroz is mentioned in Iliad several times. According to the saga that is about Trojan War which is assumed to have taken place in 1200 BCs, Gökçeada is indicated as the “rocks”. Homer defines İmroz as wild and wavy. Wide ridges that separate two valleys from each other and plateaus remind to Homer the joy and enthusiasm of the sea.

The sea between Gökçeada and Semadirek Island which is 13 nautical miles away from the same is very deep. In ancient ages, it was believed that the mysterious depth between the two islands is

hidden in the palace of “silver footed” Thetis, water goddess, mother of Akhilleus, as indicated in Iliad. There are two natural ports in Gökçeada, i.e. one in Kefalou Gulf and the other in Alykes. It was believed that these two natural ports protect the ships from the rage of Poseidon, God of the sea. According to Greek Mythology, barns of winged horses of Poseidon were in the depths located between İmroz and Tenedos (Bozcaada).1

1 CittaSlow Gökçeada, a publication of ÇOMÜ GUBY, prepared within the scope of “Cittaslow Project for Introduction of Gökçeada and Eco-gastronomy Culture in the National-International Arena” which is supported by the Southern Marmara Development Agency, Republic of Turkey.

History Of Gökçeada

Latin used to refer to Gökçeada as Imbros or Imvrus in the past. These names underwent certain changes throughout history, and it emerged as Embaro or Lembro with the influence of Italians.1 According to the data obtained as a result of the excavation works performed by the Archaeology Department, Hacettepe University, it is understood that settlement in the island dates back to 5000 years from today.2 As a result of the data obtained during such researches, it is determined that the most populated settlement was located in Yeni Bademli in Early Bronze Age. In this settlement where no findings related with Middle Bronze Age were determined, examples of stoneware that have plain and decorative surfaces, which indicate Late Bronze Age, were obtained.3

Akas (Pelasgions), who emigrated from Central Asia in the midst of 2000 BC, settled in Greece and Italy at first, and then in Limni, Imbros and Semadirek islands which are located in the Aegean Sea.4 Pelasgions, who came to the island around 500 BC, protected themselves by surrounding the coast with fortifications, and they were engaged in commercial activities with the ships passing from there.5 The oldest record related with Imbros tells the story of how the island was surrendered to Otanes, Persian commander, together with Lemnos in 512 BC. Therefore, the island remained under the ruling of the Persian in those days. The Athens re-conquered Imbros and there colonized the island by accommodating Athens into the island.6 As a result of the Antalkidas Peace Treaty signed between Athens and Persian in 448 BC, the island was ruled by Athens until being conquered by the Roman Empire. The island was conquered by the Roman Empire after the Roman Empire conquered entire Macedonia and Aegean Region as a result of the Macedonia wars which continued for 47 years between 215-168 BC.7 The Island came under the rule of Genoese by being affiliated to Gelibolu Dukedom after Byzantine being invaded by the Latin. It came under the rule of Ottoman Empire in 1470 after being conquered by various parties for short periods. Fatih Sultan Mehmet allowed the society settled in the island to live in the way they used to, and asked from them to give tax regularly and assigned a person, who will be responsible from administration of the island. Ottoman Empire made three wars with the Venetians in the following four hundred years. The offshore waters of Gökçeada staged the battles made with the Venetian fleet in the midst of 17th century because of the Crete War.

Gökçeada was ruled occasionally by the Ottoman Empire and by the Venetians.

İmroz Naval Warfare took place in the offshore waters of Kefaloz during Balkan Wars. Gökçeada entered into the domination of Greece as a result of Balkan Wars, and it was used as naval and air base by the British during 1st World War.8

As in the case of Greeks living in Istanbul and Bozcaada, Greeks living in İmroz were exempted from the population exchange that took place between Turkey and Greece in 1923. In addition to those, who immigrated to the island with the encouragement of the government because of the landslide that took place in the Black Sea Region in 1949, people from Muğla, Burdur, Isparta, Çanakkale and Black Sea Region immigrated to the island in the 1970s and 1980s because of various reasons, and therefore, new villages were established. Legal changes that were made in connection with the Cyprus crisis that broke out in 1964 triggered the Greeks to emigrate from the island to Istanbul or abroad. This immigration continued in 1970s and 1980s. Thus, demographic structure changed significantly from 1964.

The name of “İmroz” was changed as “Gökçeada” as a result of the statutory decree no.: 8479 of the Council of Ministers, dated July 29, 1970.

1 Yurtseven, H..R. 2006a. Slow Food and Gökçeada: An Administrative Approach, Detay Publishing House, 1. Edition, ISBN: 975-8969-58-7, Publisher No: 05-06-0395-HY-150, Ankara.
3 Hüryılmaz, H. 2006. “Urban Organization and Management in Gökçeada Yeni Bademli Tumulus”, Electronic Social Sciences Magazine www.E-Sosder.Com ISSN:1304-0278 Spring -2006 C.5 S.18(30-43) 30.
4 Aziz, A. (1973). A Social Review on Gökçeada, Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty Magazine, Volume No.: 28, No.: 1, Page no.: 86, March-June, Ankara.
5 Yurtseven, H. R. (2006). Gökçeada: Stories of Ordinary People. Page no.: 3, Detay Publishing House, 1. Edition: Ankara.
6 Özbek, Ç. (2008). Gökçeada in Antique Age. Gökçeada Values Symposium, Declaration Book, page no.:. 60, August: Çanakkale.
8 Erol Duran, Conservation of Social and Cultural Identity within the scope of Sustainable Tourism: Gökçeada Example, page no.: 82, Consultant: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ebru Günlü, Tourism Management Department, Social Sciences Institute, Dokuz Eylül University, Phd Thesis, 2009

Gökçeada Architecture

The most valuable asset of Gökçeada is Greek settlements in terms of architecture. Greek residential areas provide a traditional identity that is specific to the Aegean islands. Public spheres and street life are important in villages. Housings, spaces that established for commercial and social purposes reflect the traditional texture. In the traditional settlements that are available in Gökçeada; streets end in village centre and villages commonly include stone houses, churches, schools, squares, laundries, olive oil and soap houses and coffee shops.1

Traditional residences that are available in the island provide homogeneous textures thanks to their basic prismatic forms, used construction techniques, their plain face arrangements and interior space organizations. Structures that are general organized in a way to include courtyard has two-storeys. Ground floor of two-storey structures is used as roof or depot. Two-storeys form a single interior space.2

Laundries have a critical status in the tradition of the island. In the previous years, every village used to have a special laundry day and women used to communicate with each other at the same time and used to offer food and drinks to each other on the relative day.3 Laundries were constructed next to available fountains. Examples of semi-open laundry spaces that were established by covering the tops of fountains with wooden roofs may be observed in Bademli Village. Laundries were also organized as large indoor spaces, examples of which may be observed in Dereköy, Tepeköy and Zeytinliköy. Such spaces include stones for washing laundry, channels for water flow, ovens and niches.4

Panagia and Barbara (Varvara) churches, Central Mosque and two laundries survived until today in the district centre which lost its unique form and structural characteristics at a certain ratio. Panagia Church is a narthex structure, and it is divided into three naves with pure wooden supports. Columns are plastered with plaster. The composition that is comprised of dense leaf patterns processed on column caps is located between huge volutes. In addition to Metropolitan stand, “iconostasis” also draws attention with its painting covered with plenty of gold bronze. The date indicated as “1835” below the double-headed eagle pattern located below the pediment of iconostasis determines the construction year of the church.5

Agia Barbara Church is the second religious structure available in district centre. The date indicated as “1838” in the form of relievo on the wall located on the south-east of the church indicates the construction year of the church. Barbara Church which is covered with wood as in the case of Panagia Church includes three naves, is supported by wooden supports and has an abscissa that is in the form of a semi-circle that extends externally. Following sentence that is written in Greek may be read on the middle pediment; “Protect what you have constructed and this holy place my bellowed (Jesus).6 he fountain that was established on a set across this church was constructed after the construction date of the church and are among the registered cultural assets of the island.7

The minaret of the Central Mosque which is located in Çınarlı neighbourhood, dated 1813, and which reflects the architectural characteristics of the period is in harmony with the environmental plan. Fatih Mosque which is also located in the district centre and which is in harmony with the available texture was constructed in 1960 and was opened to worship in 1967.

Agios Nikolaos Church in Kaleköy which is also referred to as Small Church, historical fountain that was constructed by block stones with inscriptions and Agia Marina Church are archaeological conservation areas. Both of the aforementioned churches are not used today. Agia Marina Church used to be the “Metropol” among all of the churches

in the island. Old jetty remains in Nikolaos bay (Kaleköy) which was named after Agios Nikolaos Church formed the basis for today’s port construction works.8 Gökçeada Castle was established on a dominant hill for the purpose of protecting Kaleköy Port which was the first port of the island in the past. The castle which is in ruins shows the characteristics of Byzantium and Genoese structures. Castle and its vicinity were registered as 1st degree archaeological conservation area.9

In addition to the Mother Mary Church, there is also a Republican period school in Eski Bademli which has been closed since 1965. This school was commenced to be repaired in 2004. In Zeytinli, Agios Georgios Church which is the oldest church of the island is located right next to the village centre. Interior of this church which is opened on Sundays for holding religious ceremonies is decorated with plant and animal patterns. A well-kept church structure also rises from the upper part of Tepeköy. Belfry of the church is located at the south-west corner. This church which includes pictures above its iconostasis was constructed in 1834, and it was repaired in 1928. Dereköy is literally in the position of a laboratory for architects and town planners. Stone houses, narrow and inclined streets preserve their silence. Upper church of Dereköy is large and well-kept. This church which is referred to as Panagia is a structure that includes courtyard and that is connected to the entrance from the right of front facade by the stairs that descend from the belfry. Columns and caps in the church are covered with plaster and brought into a condition on which various patterns may be drawn. In addition to the geometrical arrangements and certain monograms on the caps, it was determined that saint and apostle pictures are available in the panels located in the flat arches that connect supports to each other, as well as Jesus figure which is limited with an ellipse frame located in the middle of the middle nave cover are also available.10 The date of 1848 which is read on an icon is considered as the construction year of the structure.

Lower church in Dereköy which is referred to as Agia Maria was constructed in the first half of 18th century.43 The belfry of this church which includes three naves and is in the form of a narthex space like the other churches of the island was renovated. This oldest church of Dereköy also includes a magnificient “Iero” and “Iconostasis” in addition to the icons.11

1 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. 185
2 Ağaryılmaz, İ. and Polat, E.O. 2005. Residential Areas and Architecture in Gökçeada. Gökçeada Book, page no.: 93-126, Gökçeada Municipality Publications, ISBN: 975-92501-0-1, Gökçeada. Also see Turhan, A. 1997. “Gökçeada Civil Architecture Examples Facade Analyses”, Institute of Science, Yıldız Technical University, Master’s Thesis, Thesis Consultant: Prof. Dr. Işık Aydemir,  Istanbul.
3 Yurtseven, H..R. 2006, Stories of Ordinary People, Detay Publishing House, 1. Edition, ISBN: 975-8969-62-5, Ankara.
4 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.190
5 Gökçeada Book, page no. 10
6  İLTER, F. 1994., Aegean Region Churches of the XIX. Century in the Ottoman Era Architecture by showing Certain Examples; Gökçeada (İmroz)-Ayvalık-Selçuk “ Şirince (Kırkıca) Village, XI. Turkish History Congress, Volume No.: V,  1987-2000. Ankara. İLTER, F. 1994. “Aegean Region Churches of the XIX. Century in the Ottoman Era Architecture by showing Certain Examples; Gökçeada (İmroz)-Ayvalık-Selçuk “ Şirince (Kırkıca) Village, XI. Turkish History Congress, Volume No.: V,  1987-2000. Ankara.
7 Gökçeada Book, page no. 10
8 Gökçeada Book, page no. 11
9 Emecen, M.F. 2002., History of an Island; from Imbros to Imroz and Gökçeada, s:53-68, Gökçeada Book, Gökçeada Municipality Publications, ISBN: 975-92501-0-1, Gökçeada.
10 İLTER, F. 1994, Aegean Region Churches of the XIX Century in the Ottoman Era Architecture by showing Certain Examples; Gökçeada (İmroz)-Ayvalık-Selçuk “ Şirince (Kırkıca) Village, XI. Turkish History Congress, Volume No.: V, 1987-2000. Ankara.
11 Gökçeada Book, page no. 11-13

Island Culture

The culture of Gökçeada (Imbros) must be assessed in the context of the historical heritage of the North Aegean islands to which it is related. North Aegean islands are located in the location where the cultural roots of humanity, philosophy and democracy were born and developed. The civilizations that lived in these islands where several branches of art developed continue to affect modern cultural productions. As a North Aegean island, Gökçeada accommodates cultural treasures with which all of the visitors will be fascinated, from the authentic patterns of the country to elite examples of world art and to the colours of regional folklore. Because of the cultural variety that it embraced, the island accommodates various customs and traditions, a rich food culture, life style and architectural texture.1

Archaeology Department of Hacettepe University made archaeological excavation works in Gökçeada by obtaining permit from the General Directorate of Monuments and Museums, Ministry of Culture. According to the data obtained as a result of excavation works, it is understood that habitation in the island dates back 5000 years from today.2 As a result of the excavation works performed in Yenibademli Tumulus which is the single residential area in Büyükdere groove, it is observed that the urbanization process in Yenibademli is similar to the culture of 1st Troia Period.3 Furthermore, there are various other residential units which are waiting to be excavated in various locations of Gökçeada, and they present rich archaeological assets.

Gökçeada is a rich habitat where various cultures with different ethnic roots live together. Greek villages have a special status in the unique texture of Gökçeada. It is known that the Greek used to live mainly in the villages and that the Turkish used to live mainly in the centre until 1975.4 It draws attention that the population has dropped with the foundation of semi-open prison in 1965. The population of these villages even decreased more as a result of Cyprus Peace Operation in 1975.5 Today, citizens of Greek origin continue to accommodate in four of the five ancient Greek villages. These villages are as follows; Bademli (Giliki), Dereköy (İskinik), Tepeköy (Agritya) and Zeytinliköy (Ayatodori). In addition to Kaleköy (Kastaro) which is another ancient Greek village, the villages titled Yeni Bademli, Uğurlu, Eşelek and Şirinköy were founded by the government and citizens, who emigrated from various locations in Anatolia and from Bulgaria, were accommodated in here.6 Initial populating movement took off with 45 residences that were transferred from Black Sea Region in 1945. This is the first mass immigration movement that is observed in the history of the island. It is known that the families that were accommodated in Dereköy left the island in time. However, a significant increase was observed in the population of the island in the passing years thanks to these villages that were established within the scope of settlement law.7

It was a significant factor in the increase of the importance attached to religious ceremonies, that the initial habitants were of Greek origin and believers of Christian-Orthodox sect were represented in the island at metropolitan level. Fairs that were held after religious ceremonies used to continue for several days, and used to cause the

habitants of the island to socialize and for the relations between same to get more intense. “Panaiya”, Virgin Marry Festival, which begins on August15 in Tepeköy, shows the cultural diversity of Gökçeada. Seven of the churches out of nine churches, which are the belief centres for the Christians in the island, are open to religious ceremonies.8 Agios Georgios Church, which is the oldest church in the island, is located in Zeytinliköy. Furthermore, chapels that are located at various locations in the island also have a great importance in terms of the island’s culture.

In the Greek villages of Gökçeada, every family has at least one blood relation with one of the other families. Grapery has been performed in the island since 2900 BC. Kalabaki, Vasilaki and Mavropali are known as the wine grape of Gökçeada from past to present. Kalabaki is named as the wine made from grape, a.k.a. Gökçeada Wine.9

Greek villages of Gökçeada are a significant part of the island’s culture in terms of history and tourism. These villages, from the coffee houses of which one may smell sweet grinded coffee, are magical venues thanks to the typical masonry houses, laundries and churches they include.

Gökçeada is a location preferred by amateur and professional sportsmen thanks to its natural resources. Gökçeada Underwater Marine Park is the first underwater marine park in Turkey and it is an important destination for diving sport. The island provides great opportunities for various activities, such as biking, nature walks, wind surfing, parachute surfing and diving.

Social and arts activities are gradually increasing in Gökçeada in parallel with the development of tourism. Gökçeada Municipality has been holding Gökçeada Film Festival annually since 1998. Also, various activities are being held throughout the year. Cittaslow Gökçeada Eco-Gastronomy Congress, Slow Food festival and Cittaslow Gökçeada Slow Sunday may be listed at the top of this list.

1 Erol Duran, Preservation of Social and Cultural Identity within the scope of Sustainable Tourism: Gökçeada Example, Consultant Assoc. Prof. Ebru Günlü, Dokuz Eylül University, Social Sciences Institute, Department of Tourism Management, Phd Thesis, 2009, pages nos. 96-97.
3 Hüryılmaz, H. (2002). Yenibademli Tumulus: An Early Bronze Age Habitation in Northern-East Aegean Sea. Hacettepe University Faculty of Literature Magazine, Volume No.: 19, Issue No.: 1, page nos. 29-51.
5 Nazlı Uçar, Effect of Tourism on the Country: Gökçeada Example, Phd Thesis in the Anthropology Department, Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University, 2010, page no. 40
6 2009. Bozbeyoğlu, A. C., Onan, I. (2001). Changes In The Demographic Characteristics of Gokceada. IUSSP General Conference, 18-24, August, Salvador, Brazil.
7 Nazlı Uçar, Effect of Tourism on the Country: Gökçeada Example, Phd Thesis in the Anthropology Department, Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University, 2010, page no. 40.
8 Erol Duran, Preservation of Social and Cultural Identity within the scope of Sustainable Tourism: Gökçeada Example, page no.103.
9 CittaSlow Gökçeada, a publication of ÇOMÜ GUBY, prepared within the scope of “Cittaslow Project for Introduction of Gökçeada and Eco-gastronomy Culture in the National-International Arena” which is supported by the Southern Marmara Development Agency, Republic of Turkey.


Island economy and production

The sectors that are included to the economic structure of Gökçeada are as follows; service sector, olive cultivation, viticulture, beekeeping, green housing, organic agriculture, stockbreeding and fishing. One of the critical factors that affect the economic structure is tourism. Natural beauties and cultural wealth of the island made tourism a source of income for native population.


Following may be listed at the top of the list of cereal products that are grown in the lands reserved for agriculture; wheat, barley, oat and corn. Wheat is the product that is generally dominant at both sides of Güllü Creek, lower parts of Muca creek and in Büyükdere Stream. Wheat becomes less frequent at the hillsides and it is replaced by barley and oat which is used as animal feed.

Organic agriculture

As a result of the advantages obtained by being an island and thanks to its immaculate soil, Gökçeada is selected as the pilot region for ecologic agricultural production by the Ministry of Agriculture. “Gökçeada District Governorship Organic Agriculture Project” developed projects in three fields, i.e. production of organic olive oil, organic honey and organic table grape and wine grape. Organic agriculture works initially took off in the field of olive cultivation in Gökçeada. Production of vegetables, fruits, grains and industrial plants by organic agriculture is ensured subsequently. Organic agriculture that will make a great contribution not only to the economy of Gökçeada but to the economy of the entire country gains importance in the Island increasingly. In Gökçeada, there are firms which produce olive oil and that possess organic agriculture certificates, and there is also an organic milk, yogurt and cheese brand that sells products throughout Turkey. ELTA-ADA entity that produced the first organic cheese in Turkey has relatively large and equipped facilities and sites. The entity has also promoted implementation of important projects and researches that are critical for the island by allocating lands to the universities and institutes at no cost. Cittaslow Gökçeada is one of the candidates of being one of the most important centres of “fine, clean, fair” food production all over the world.

Olive cultivation

One of the most critical agricultural activities that the inhabitants of the island are engaged is olive cultivation. Olivegroves are generally located in the vicinity of Zeytinliköy, Tepeköy and Dereköy. Olive oil and soap are produced from the crops obtained from the trees that provide many crops in one year and less in the following year alternately. The olive oils that are obtained during first procedure are consumed in the island, and the olive oils that are obtained during second procedure are mostly delivered outside the island. Oils that have an acidity of more than 5% are used during soap production as by-product by the inhabitants of the island. Olive oil production was limited with 1.000 tons in the 1960s when normal crop used to be obtained, while it is known that oil capacity reached to 3.000-4.000 tons in the years when there were plenty of crops.1 Improvement of available olive groves increased the olive production capacity to 4.000-6.000 tons. It is expected for the olive production to reach to 8.000-10.000 tons when 70.000 saplings that were planted in 1998 enter into a virtuous period.2 40 years ago from today, there were 11 hydraulic olive oil production houses in total in Gökçeada, i.e. three in Dereköy and Tepeköy, two in Çınarlı and Zeytinli and one in Bademli. A facility that has 152 shareholders was founded in 2000. 300 tons of olive oil was obtained from this facility where 1.500 tons of olives are produced between November-February.3 Olive trees that have been grown in Gökçeada by using natural methods for centuries and that do not catch any disease from the outside world were entitled to obtain organic agriculture certificate within a short period. The island continues to produce organic olive within the scope of “Gökçeada Rural Development Project” provided by Çanakkale Provincial Directorate of Agriculture.


One of the critical revenue sources of the inhabitants of Gökçeada, which provides unique opportunities in terms of natural production, is beekeeping. Additive-free honeydew honey and thyme honey gained righteous appreciation of the local and foreign tourists, who visit Gökçeada. There are approximately 25.000 hives in Gökçeada within the scope of beekeeping in which the inhabitants of Gökçeada engaged generally. Works continue to be performed to increase the number of hives. Beekeeping Cooperative is founded in order to ensure that the produced honeys are transferred to the consumers with more quality and more healthily. Also, transition to organic honey production was performed easily since no chemical fertilizer and drugs are used in the island. As of 2014, there are approximately 60 persons, who are engaged in organic beekeeping in Gökçeada.


Viticulture is performed in the island since 2900 BC. Various governmental incentives were provided in Gökçeada in the previous years for the development of viticulture and winemaking sector accordingly. Also, producers offered to the market the wines that they produced in their houses through their own means and ensured that the danger of extinction of this sector is eliminated. American type grape-view rootstocks are grafted with local types for the development of the sector and various activities continue to be performed in order to increase grape production and wine production accordingly. Very valuable wines that hold organic certificates may be purchased from manufacturers in Gökçeada.

Kalabaki, Vasilaki and Mavropali are known as the wine grapes of Gökçeada from past to present. The wine that is produced from Kalabaki grape is named as Gökçeada Wine. Cabarnet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also being grown in the vineyards of Gökçeada.4

Green housing and fruit growing

Green housing took off in Gökçeada by subsidies in 2002. Vegetables that are produced for domestic consumption are general grown in the greenhouses. Some of the greenhouses are located in Büyükdere Plain and Çınarlı. Support activities continue to be performed in order to ensure establishment of new greenhouses. Fruit growing is directed towards local consumption in the island rather than foreign markets. Fruits that are mainly grown are almond, walnut, mulberry, pear, plum, quince, apricot, peach and sour cherry. Almond orchards where 50 tons of crops are grown annually are generally located in the mouth of Muca Creek and at the hillsides of Eski Bademli Village.5

Stock Breeding

Ovine breeding and bovine breeding are also done in Gökçeada. There are sheep and goats in the island that hang around freely. These animals hang around in the nature throughout the year, and are brought together by their owners in June for the purpose of benefiting from their products. Tagging, marking and lamb output and breeding animal selection procedures are performed within the scope of the practice that is referred to as “Madra Yapmak” (Valuation) by the inhabitant of the island. This system may be referred to as “semi-wild sheep breeding” that is specific to Gökçeada.

The sheep breed called İmroz is found only in Gökçeada for more than a century. İmroz heep is a breed that is integrated to the ecology of the island and whose biology is adapted to the available conditions. It is valuable since its milk yield is superior to the local breeds.6 Gökçeada goat is also an important source of genetics. Growing fodder plants is also promoted in the island, and works with regards to improvement of available meadows and poultry raising are also supported.

There are 43 bovine breeders and 10 ovine breeders within the scope of Organic Animal Breeding project that began to be implemented in 2008. 49 bovines were distributed in 2009. Ovine and bovine animals that were included to the project were supplied within the scope of Gökçeada-Bozcada Agricultural Investment Project and distributed to the breeders.


Gökçeada is a true fishing island thanks to its position in Saroz Gulf, in the offshore of the western coasts of Gelibolu Peninsula and thanks to the advantages it has by being an island. Diversity of fish types benefited from the fact that the first underwater marine park of Turkey was opened in Gökçeada in 1999. As a result of visual counting that was made in a surface area of only 300 m2 and in the depth of 5-10 m in connection with a study performed in 2013, 62 fish species were determined out of 337 species in total.7

Small scale fishing is dominant in the island. Fishermen of Gökçeada use particularly Kaleköy, and then Uğurlu and Kuzu Port as their headquarters. Fishing area of the fishermen of the island is the site between the vicinity of the Island and Kabatepe. Gökçeada’s main fishing activity is based on set net that is established for periodic fish passages. S.S. Gökçeada Centre, Kaleköy, Bademli, Uğurlu Marine Products Cooperative has been operating since 2000. Fishery is the main source of income for many families in Gökçeada. Excessive numbers of fishes are offered to external markets out of the island, such as swordfish, horse mackerel, chub mackerel, mackerel, sea bream, seabass, salema, bream, red sea bream and red mullet etc.8 Shrimp, lobster, calamari and octopus species may be listed as other species that are hunted in the vicinity of Gökçeada.

Boarding House Management

Boarding house management constitutes one of the most critical sources of income for the society particularly in summer months in Gökçeada. The accommodation requirement of local and foreign tourists, whose numbers increase every passing year, is met by boarding house management. According to a research made in 2010, 71% of the population of Uğurlu Village and 43% of the population of Yeni Bademli Village are engaged in boarding house management.9

1 YÜCEL, T. 1966. “Geographical Observations in İmroz”, Geographical Researches Magazine, Faculty of Languages, History and Geography, Ankara University, Volume No.: 1, 83.
2 AKGÜN, H. R. 2002. “Life in Gökçeada” B. Öztürk (ed.), Gökçeada. World of Green and Blue, 1-40. Istanbul.
3 Gökçeada Book, page no. 15
4 CittaSlow Gökçeada, a publication of ÇOMÜ GUBY, prepared within the scope of “Cittaslow Project for Introduction of Gökçeada and Eco-gastronomy Culture in the National-International Arena” which is supported by the Southern Marmara Development Agency, Republic of Turkey
5 Gökçeada Book, page no. 16
7 Aslan-Cihangir, H.,Cihangir,B., Underwater Visual Counting Technique Practices Regarding Specie Diversity of Gökçeada Shores, 17. National Marine Products Symposium, September 3-6, 2013, Istanbul, Summary Book, page no. 71-72
8 Okan Akyol, Tevfik Ceylan, Fishery in Gökçeada, Gökçeada Surrounded with Nature and Cultural Assets, Prepared by: Bayram Öztürk and Yüksel Pazarkaya, Cem Publishing House, 2014, Istanbul, page no. 93-96
9 Nazlı Uçar, Effect of Tourism on Rural Area: Gökçeada Example, Phd Thesis in the Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University, 2010, page no. 33.



Plainness of Gökçeada’s gastronomy which does not push the limits of palatal delight and which does not spread taste is a product of experience and tradition of centuries. Naturalness and cleanness of all of the foods, plainness of cooking methods, abundance of the sea and mountain give Gökçeada its gastronomy authenticity.

Being far away from main land and being located in the middle of the sea are surely reflected on the cuisine. Fresh fish types, octopus, calamari, shrimp, sea-urchin and crab are an important part of Gökçeada cuisine. Fish is cooked in the company of local vegetables in Gökçeada. One must taste salema with okra, calamari with spinach, fish with potato, sea-urchin salad, octopus stew and marine products soup.

Ladolia olive tree only grows in Turkey. This tree provides table olive that consists of rich aroma and taste. Organic olive cultivation and olive oil production are an important source of income in the island. Tasty and pure olive oil is always used in traditional island cuisine.

As in the case of other Northern Aegean islands, various herbs are served with olive oil and vinegar in Gökçeada, such as radiccho, wild radish, blessed thistle, rhatany, sea milkwort, stifno and mustard etc. The wind that blows from the hills filled with wild thyme literally carries the aroma of the cuisine. The meat of the animals, which are fed with this thyme, is much tastier. Turkey’s one and only wild sheep and goat potential is in Gökçeada. Sheep meat is consumed commonly. Paschal lamb or goat is cooked by using traditional methods specific to the island. Products that are prepared with goat milk and goat meat, kaşkaval cheese which is kept in special jars for three months are tastes that must not be forgotten. Thyme honey, which is the product of the bees that feed on thyme, is among the tastes specific to the island.

In addition to the grinded coffee which may be tasted in the elegant coffee shops in Greek villages, one must definitely taste mastic-gum pudding and crème caramel. Tomato jam that is made by putting an almond in the middle and “Vişinada” which is a special type of sour cherry syrup, rose hip cookie and Efibadem cookie, which is now a legend, are among traditional tastes specific to the Greek culture.

One must taste the pizza that is made of leavened dough called “Cicirya” and that consists of Goat cheese, mint and thyme. You may find in the restaurants located in the centre the tasty mantı (turkish type ravioli) which is prepared by the women of the island in a way to include tastes of the island. Tasty breads are made from the wheat, barley and rye that are grown in the island. Gökçeada has earned a rightful gastronomic fame thanks to roasted sheep, avcı pastry (a type of pastry), çiğ börek (deep fried water thin dough with raw minced meat filling), black mulberry ice cream and appetizers that include rich tastes.

Viniculture has been done in Gökçeada since 2900 BC. Kalabaki, Vasilaki and Mavropali are known as the wine grape of Gökçeada from past to present. The wine that is made of Kalabaki grape is known as Gökçeada Wine. Cabarnet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also grown in the vineyards of Gökçeada today. Fig and almond are also grown in the island.

Before you leave the island, we advise you to buy the organic wine and olive oil, goat cheese or honey which are all in a quality where you may not find in anywhere else. There are firms in Gökçeada which make production under organic agcirulture certificate, and there is also an organic milk, yogurt and cheese brand which sells product all over Turkey. These products which are fresh, natural, fair and clean will remind you Gökçeada.

“Slow Food Gökçeada Convivium” is a member of Slow Food since 2006. Eco-Gastronomy Congresses are also organized in Gökçeada, which is the first and single Cittaslow island of the world that adapted the philosophy of “Slow Food”.1 Gökçeada is located on a geography that is parallel with the idea of Carlo Petrini, founder chairman of Slow Food movement, where he indicates that “taste is a human right”.2

1 CittaSlow Gökçeada, a publication of ÇOMÜ GUBY, prepared within the scope of “Cittaslow Project for Introduction of Gökçeada and Eco-gastronomy Culture in the National-International Arena” which is supported by the Southern Marmara Development Agency, Republic of Turkey.
2 Nedim Atilla, We slowed down. We were in Gökçeada, Eco-Gastronomy Magazine, Year 1, Issue 1, Ankara, 2014, page no.: 11.