Çeşme is a coastal town and the administrative centre of the district of the same name in Turkey’s westernmost end, on a promontory on the tip of the peninsula which also carries the same name and which extends inland to form a whole with the wider Karaburun Peninsula. It is a popular holiday resort and the district center, where two thirds of the district population is concentrated. Çeşme is located 85 km west of İzmir, the largest metropolitan center in Turkey’s Aegean Region. There is a six-lane highway connecting the two cities (Otoyol 32). Çeşme district has two neighboring districts, Karaburun to the north and Urla to the east, both of which are also part of İzmir Province. The name “Çeşme” means “fountain” and possibly draws reference from the many Ottoman fountains scattered across the city.
The town itself dominated by Çeşme Castle. While the castle is recorded to have been considerably extended and strengthened during the reign of Ottoman sultan Bayezid II, sources differ as to their citation of the original builders, whether the Genoese or the Turks at an earlier time after the early 15th century capture. A statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Chesma is in front of the castle and the Pasha is depicted caressing his famous pet lion and facing the town square. The battle itself, although ended in Ottoman defeat, had seen Hasan Pasha pulling out honorably after having sunk the Russian flagship Sv. Evstafii, together with his own ship, after which he had to follow the main battle from the coast before joining the capital by way of land, where he rapidly rose to become a distinguished grand vizier.
Çeşme regained some its former lustre starting with the beginning of the 19th century, when its own products, notably grapes and mastic, found channels of export. The town population increased considerably until the early decades of the 20th century, immigration from the islands of the Aegean and the novel dimension of a seasonal resort center becoming important factors in the increase. The viniculture was for the most part replaced with the growing of watermelons in recent decades, which acquired another name of association with Çeşme aside from the thermal baths, surfing, fruits, vineyards, cheese, tourism and history.
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