Things to do - general

Balıkesir, also nicknamed as ‘Ida in Homer’s Iliad’, is a city and also the capital city of Balıkesir Province in the Marmara region of Turkey. It is located near the mythological Kazdagi (Mount Ida).  The city charmingly presents the best characteristics of Turkey’s Marmara and Aegean regions. It is a home to some beautiful national parks, archaeological wonders, thermal waters, great Aegean cuisine, stunning blue flag beaches, holiday resort towns, small islands and more.

Balıkesir city contains many historical buildings: the clocktower (built in 1892) is the symbol of the city; a historical fountain (built in 1908) is a popular building; the Zaganos Pasha Mosque Complex and Yildirim Mosque are some popular spiritual areas; many old Balıkesir houses in the Aygoren and Karaoglan district still remain from the Ottoman period. The Balıkesir National Photography Museum is the only photography museum in entire Turkey. It exhibits historical memories of the city. The city is especially known for its historic windmills. Many health spas surround the city; Pamukcu and Ilica being the most popular ones. The central city also contains the historical Turkish “Pasha Hamami” bath, which is still open for public.

Balıkesir city has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Where the winters are cool and wet with frequent frosts and occasional snowfall, and the summers are hot and dry.


Sports & Adventure

Pamukkale Thermal Pools also known as the cotton castle is a World Heritage Site with stunning terraces and hot springs that have retained their beauty over millenia. People have been bathing in these pools and embracing their health benefits for thousands of years. 

Goreme National Park is a place with natural rock formations. Also a World Heritage Site, most of the park's ancient structures have been protected from development. Many have been left untouched, though some were carved out and used as churches during the Roman era. Recently, some have been transformed into housing and restaurants. The best way to see the park is from above to get a bird’s eye view. A hot air balloon ride can be taken over the entire park.

Hierapolis is a place with ancient thermal spas. A world heritage site, originally the site situated a thermal spa from 2nd century BCE, the Greek ruins of baths, temples, and monuments which are still visible today at Hierapolis. On site is also Hierapolis Archaeology Museum where this site’s artifacts have been displayed. One notable area on site is famously referred to as Cleopatra's swimming pool.

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. 

Clock tower

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.

Culture and History

Close to today’s Balıkesir used to be the Roman town of Hadrianutherae, founded by the emperor Hadrian. Hadrian had come to the region (A.D. 124) as a result of a successful bear hunting session. It is said that the city had consisted of a castle, a homestead, a stud and a few homes in the area. The members of the Roman and Pre-Byzantine dynasty once used this castle and the area around it as a vacation spot and for hunting.

During the Byzantine period, the small town had become increasingly neglected and was known as Palaeokastron; meaning Old Castle. But when the Turkmens came from the Middle Asia to Mysia; they called it ‘Balak Hisar’ because of the remains of castle, Hisar meaning castle in Turkish. In 1345, the city was annexed by the Ottomans and named Karasi; as it was founded by Karasi Beg by using the remains of the old town. 

The city houses the mid-14th century Yıldırım Mosque (built by Beyazıt I), which is the city's oldest mosque; while the Zağnos Paşa Mosque (built by the Grand Vizier of Mehmet the Conqueror Zağnos Paşa in 1461) used to be a part of a great complex, today only the mosque and baths remain of this great complex. The Saat Kulesi also known as the Clock Tower (built by Mehmet Paşa in 1827) is a smaller version of the Galata Tower. The Karesi Bey Mausoleum of 1336 contains the cenotaphs (monuments) of Karesi Bey (founder of Balıkesir in the Ottoman era) and his five sons. The artifacts from the ‘Karesi Bey Mausoleum site’ have been taken from the area and put on display in the newly-completed ‘Balıkesir Museum’.

Obam Thermal Resort & Spa

Obam Thermal Resort & Spa

, Balikesir
Our Rating: Thermal Hotel Board Basis: Half-board Open: All around the year Location: Sindirgi, Bali More info

Unfortunately there are no tour offers at this location at the moment.