Foca and Yeni Foca
Yeni Foca (correctly spelled as Yeni Foça) is Turkish for New Foça and is 20 kilometres from Eski Foça, or Old Foça. Both towns have a number of bars, restaurants, shops, harbour and sandy beach. There is a regular bus service which runs between the two Foça’s. It takes about 25 minutes to drive this distance along the coast where you can glimpse the excellent sandy bays and on a clear day you can see the Greek Island of Lesvos. The bus station also runs a regular service to Izmir which is about 45 - 50 miles away.
Yeni Foça has something for everyone, whether you are looking for a relaxing place to stay for you and your family, like to visit places of historical or archaeological interest or just want to get away from over-crowded resorts. Tourism is important to both Foça and Yeni Foça. Fishing, animal breeding and agriculture are the other local incomes in both towns and the neighbouring villages.
The harbour in Yeni Foça has moorings for up to 75 fishing boats. On the small pier the local fishermen catch fresh fish for the harbour side restaurants. Most fish restaurants will display their days catch which may include sea bass, octopus, squid, grouper or other local varieties. There is currently a development project underway to construct a 300 boat marina nearby which is good news for anyone investing in the area.
There is a small market near the beach offering a wide range of souvenirs and local crafts. Yeni Foca also has a small shopping area where you can purchase fresh locally produced fruit and vegetables and a bakery where they sell baklava which is a typical Turkish pastry laced with honey and nuts.
Yeni Foca also has a few supermarkets, Post Office and Internet Cafe for those who want to keep in touch. The bus station is just on the edge of town (just a 5 minute walk from the harbour) and offers a regular service to Eski Foca for about 10.00 TYL (£4.00). The buses are small but will stop to drop off or pick up anywhere along the route.
Some parts of the district are under environmental protection, due to the flora, fauna and the natural beauty of the bays and coves, especially between Yeni Foça and Eski Foça - the ancient city of Phocaea was located between the two modern day Foça’s. To take advantage of this wonderful coast line boat tours operate from Eski Foça on a regular basis. You can also do day trips to the Greek Islands from here. Due to this protection order there are also many areas where new construction is not allowed.
Eski Foca (correctly spelled as Eski Foça and meaning Old Foça), or Foça (pronounced FOHchah) as it’s often referred to, and known as Phocaea in ancient times is a small town on the Aegean coast, about 45 miles north west of Izmir. Foça is also a district as well as a town in Turkey´s Izmir Province. The first inhabitants of Foça were immigrants from the nearby Greek islands around the 9th century BC.
Foça is famous for its Mediterranean Monk Seals, the seals are under a preservation order as there are only about 400 left worldwide, half of which are found in the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and Greece the remainder are in the Atlantic Ocean. The seals cannot live in captivity and have to breed in their natural habitat of clean water. These seals can live for up to 40 years. The Turkish word for seal is “fok” and this is where Foça took its name from.
Foça has two harbours which offer excellent tourist trips, tours and ferry services around the coast and to the nearby Greek islands. There are a few small islands near Foça, these are Fener, Orak which has a pebble beach, Hayyrsyz, Kartdere which both have high cliffs, Incir and Metalik. Some of these islands are uninhabited.
Foça is full of traditional stone houses some of which have been converted into boutique style hotels which offer character, charm and Turkish hospitality. In the summer season it’s a popular resort for locals and a growing number of foreign holiday makers who prefer this area for its natural beauty, small bays, clear waters and the climate. Some of Foça’s bays have been rewarded with the Blue Flag. Eski Foça stretches along two bays a large one called the “Greater Sea” (Büyükdeniz), and a small cove within the large bay called the “Smaller Sea” (Küçükdeniz). This is where a medieval castle is tucked away.
Foça’s shops, boutiques and souvenir stalls are in the Küçükdeniz district. You can buy leather goods, carpets, onyx, jewellery and souvenir’s with the famous Foça seal on. There are a number of festivals during the year in Foça which are worth a visit:
Folklore, Music and Water Sports festival is held in June and lasts for three days
Water Sport festival which has boat racing & water skiing between 29-31 July
International Foça festival is held in August
Freedom Day is celebrated on 11th September
Foça has a number of waterside bars, restaurants and ice cream stands where you can sit and relax with fantastic views over the bay. Alternatively there are a few local sites of interest to visit within walking distance. The city walls and five gates which were built in 1678 and right on the seafront is a good place to start. Foça also has two small fortresses, Beskapilar and Diskale, dating electric scooters
from Ottoman, Byzantine, and Genoese times. There are also a few Hellenic ruins and tomb a few kilometres outside the town centre.