Alaçatı borders the Aegean Sea on the Çeşme Peninsula. The old stone homes, cobblestone streets, and windmills define the village. The quaint, peaceful village comes to life in the summer months when tourists escape the heat of Istanbul and Izmir in favor of the more pleasant Aegean breeze. Due to the reliable wind, Alaçatı has become one of the most important windsurfing centers in the world.
Alaçatı’s rich history gives the village a timeless quality. In the 1830s, Haji Memiş invited the impoverished and earth-quake stricken population of the nearby Greek Island of Chios to Alaçatı. They brought their own culinary and cultural traditions with them. Many of the immigrants began working in olive orchards and vineyards. By the end of the 19th century, the area had become an important center for the export of wine and the Greek population had risen to over 12,000. However, following the Balkan Wars and the Turkish War of Independence, Greece and Turkey formalized a population exchange in 1923. Based upon religious identity, the expulsion sent nearly all Orthodox Christian citizens of Turkey (including those of Greek heritage living in Alaçatı) to Greece. Likewise, the expulsion sent most of the Muslim citizens in Greece to Turkey. Despite the population exchange, the Greek population left an undeniable imprint on the village that still exists in the architecture and food today.
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