A popular North Aegean seaside resort for Turks in need of sun, sand, sea and seafood is Ayvalik, located on Turkey's north Aegean coast opposite the Greek island of Lesvos (Mytilene), 151 km (94 miles) north of Izmir and 163 km (101 miles) south of Çanakkale.

Ayvalik, formerly Kydonia (the place of quince), has been a significant olive-growing region for hundreds of years and has long been the main economic source, accounting for around 80% of Turkey's olive oil. During the Ottoman Empire, Ayvalik was a big trading center and one of the most prosperous towns on the Aegean seaboard.


The town changed hands many times over the years, with Greeks, Turks, and Cretans living in it since the population swap in 1923, making it an interesting and lively character today.

Prior to the population swap, Ayvalik had 11 churches, but only 7 of them remain today. Four of these seven churches have been turned into mosques and are still in use. Taxiarchis Church (1844) is the city's oldest and most important church, having been rebuilt and converted to a museum.

The Hamidiye Mosque, which was constructed in 1895, is the only historical mosque in the city. The mosque, which still operates with features from the 19th century neoclassical style, is a good example of such architecture.

The most prominent feature of Ayvalik's residential architecture is the Ayvalik Houses, which provide the city its distinct identity. These residences, which are generally constructed on long and narrow plot lots in line formation facing the street, are one, two, or three stories tall with a mezzanine. The street-facing sides of building sites are oriented toward each other. The building façades are therefore narrow, and access is straightforward from the street. Every household has a courtyard or garden, which is located at the rear of the property. A separate courtyard/garden entry may be required depending on the position of the property lot. As a result, in Ayvalik, streets are defined by house facades.

Cunda, also known as Alibey Island, is the largest of Turkey's archipelago islands, formerly home to the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop and the Moonlight Monastery. It has exquisite beaches and a peaceful cobblestone town with olive groves, gift shops and excellent fish restaurants, as well as opportunities for water sports and watching the sunset. There is a bridge that connects the island to the mainland; buses run every few minutes or you may walk or take a taxi.

Ayvalik has been added to the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2017.