Things to do
Zagan Pasha Mosque
Zagan Pasha Mosque, a historic mosque in Balıkesir, is where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk delivered his famous "Balıkesir Khutbah" in 1923. The mosque was built in 1461 by Zagan Pasha (1446–1462 or 1469), an Ottoman military commander and Grand Vizier of Albanian origin. The mosque is part of a complex located at the centre of the city; consisting of a tomb and a hammam. The mosque, along with the tomb, broke down in 1897 and was rebuilt in 1908 by the Mutasarrıf (Governor) Ömer Ali Bey.
It is the largest mosque in Balıkesir. The mosque is constructed in ashlar masonry. It consists of one main dome surrounded by four side domes, which are separated by vaults. The entrance of the mosque is through large double-winged wooden doors in the north, west and east. The minaret of the mosque is situated on the northwest corner of the building (donated by Hacı Hafız Efendi of Arabacıoğulları, a notable family in Balıkesir). In the courtyard of the mosque, two shadirvans and a tomb are situated.
The clock tower in Balikesir is a 66-foot tall domed building with four faces and a balcony. It also features a bell. It is situated at the centre of the city and can be seen from afar. The building was built in Ottoman era. However, the clock tower was greatly damaged in an earthquake and was rebuilt in 1901.
The clock tower represents power, cultural heritage along with the state’s authority of the Ottoman Empire. As Islamic prayers have to be performed according to a strict time. A clock tower was built in every city of the Ottoman Empire and sundials were placed in most of the mosques.
Atatürk Parkı Balıkesir
Atatürk Parkı Balıkesir is a large park in Balikesir. The park is lush green with beautiful flowers in each and every corner. The park has a walking track along with big green patches of grass where people can sit, have picnics, and children can play etc. At its centre; the park houses a lake with many fountains in it, an over bridge goes from one side to the other of the lake.
Değirmen Boğazı Tabiat Parkı
Değirmen Boğazı Tabiat Parkı is a simple but beautiful park in Balikesir. The park is much like Atatürk Parkı Balıkesir but is located within a forest. So instead of large green patches of grass, one sees many trees and a more natural look to the environment. Within the park is a large lake at its middle with an over bridge for crossing to the other side.
Museum of the Nationalist Forces in Balıkesir
Museum of the Nationalist Forces in Balıkesir has been dedicated to the ‘Kuva-yi Milliye’ (Nationalist Forces) which were formed as part of the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1923).
The museum was originally once a mansion built for Giridizade Mehmet Pasha (treasurer of the Karasi Sanjak) in 1840. In 1900, the first mansion burned down, a new mansion was built afterwards by the treasurer's grandson; Halil Pasha. During the Turkish War of Independence, the building used to serve as the meeting place for the local nationalist forces. On May 15th, 1919, many prominent citizens of Balıkesir gathered in this mansion and formed Kuva-yi Milliye to fight against the foreign troops.