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Alaçatı - Turkey Alaçatı
Alaçatı is a village in the Aegean region east of Çeşme, on a peninsula jutting out into the Aegean Sea. Formerly named Agrilia and populated by Greeks until the 1920s, Alaçatı was pretty much a sleepy village until the 1990s when it started to attract the attention of esthetic Turkish intelligencia desiring a peaceful and rural haven. Since the 2000s Alaçatı has become far trendier and has developed a wider spectrum of visitors. The local architecture is one of the main attractions of the village due to much of the old part of the village containing well preserved Greek architecture consisting of stone buildings lined along cobbled streets. Ancient windmills dating back to 19th century sit on the top of the hill overlooking the village are themselves now days shadowed by much taller modern electricity-generating wind turbines. In a cove offshore from Alaçatı on the leeward side of this windy peninsula means there is an abundance of wind, but no visible waves heading towards the coast, which makes it perfect for windsurfing and Alaçatı has schools offering windsurfing classes on the beach at the windsurfing cove, which lies about 2 kilometers south of the village. As for transport, it is connected to the Alaçatı village centre by minibuses (Turkish: dolmuş). Babylon Alaçatı Beach is where the bulk of tourist facility development has occured. It has a great private beach which seems to be preferred by Turkish visitors on holiday from Istanbul. The closest airport is Adnan Menderes Airport near Izmir which has regularly scheduled international flights as well as regularly scheduled domestic flights to major Turkish cities.

There are several stories about the derivition of the name Alaçatı. According to some, Alaçatı is the only the name for the harbor area situated about two kilometers from the old town. Others claim that the name for the town was Agrilia, as well as another name of Alaca At (English: Red Horse) used for the entire area. This claim is based on a story that says that the ruler of Alaçatı had a red colored horse and when riding this horse the bystanders would refer to him as Alacaatlı (English: The man with the red horse) and over time the name somehow changed to Alaçatı. According to Greek sources the name Alatsata come from the Greek word alas (Greek: άλας) meaning salt, as it was close to nearby salt lakes. During the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, the Turkish refugees from Greece were settled in Alaçatı and ever since the name Alaçatı has been used for both the town and the adjacent harbour area. The harbour area was used as the export port for İzmir until World War II, but afterwards its use as a harbour declined, and the bay where the harbour was, is now become very popular with windsurfers. Alaçatı became an Ottoman village during the 14th century, according to some, and during the 15th century according to others. After the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkans, Moslem refugees fled to the western coast of Anatolia. The Greek population of Alaçatı was forced to leave in 1914 and the village was emptied. Most of the Greek population returned in 1919 during Greek administration of Smyrna from 1919 to 1922, when the Hellenic Army occupied the region of Izmir. The majority fled hastily with the retreating Greek Army following a Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War. Under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the compulsory exchange of populations dictated that Muslims who lived in Crete, Thrace, Macedonia and the Dodecanese would be settled in Alatsata occupying the houses left abandoned by the Greeks. Most of these houses still remain in Alaçatı today and have become an attraction for tourists.

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