Alaçatı History





In ancient times, when "Agrilia" was the name for Alacati’, the town was situated right at the center of a region called “Ionia” in the Western Anatolian history. The region extended from south of Izmir to Menderes River area. That's why our town is surrounded by numerous ancient cities that host spirits from ancient times and those spirits bring the traces of history to the present... The closest "Ionic" city to town was used to be called "Erythrai"’ is a village of Alacati as well. The ancient city that is known as “Ildiri” now is the first of ‘must-see’ places of the town. While, our other values "Chios" and "Klazomenai" are the next…


Actually, the history of Alacati is quite dramatic. The name of Alacati came across in the sources such as "The Travelogue of Evliya Çelebi" for the very first time during the Ottoman era. Back then, the town had taken it’s name “Alacaat” from a tribe that had settled in the village. The fate of this restful town completely changes in 1830’s for better. One of the region's most prominent families Memiş Haji Agha - whose name still lives in one of our neighborhood today - is the biggest cause of this change. Haji Memiş invites the impoverished population of Chios that shaken by earthquakes in those years to town to work in various jobs. While indigenous population was fighting in warfare, the Greek youngsters start working in the vineyards and olive farms. Meanwhile, the people of Alacaat were fighting malaria because the southern part of the village was completely covered with swamp. To drain the swamp, they decide to open a channel to the port of Alacati. For this reason, Turkish large landowners provided shelters in their lands for the Greek workers who were going to work in canal construction in order to enrich their fields as well. Thus, the workers have set up a village a few miles inland from the sea and they name that village "Alatzata". So, most of the restored Greek houses today that were built by those workers remain from those years. They are now also the symbol of Alacati today.

REPUBLIC PERIOD AND EXISTING POPULATION At the end of the 19th century, "Alatzata" village had become an important manufacturing and trading center, particularly for its fertile vineyards and wine. For of this reason, the population that mostly composed of Greeks in the region had reached up to 12.000 people. But when the immigrants fleeing from the Balkans because of the 1912 Balkan war began to arrive in Alacati, Greeks also began to leave the village. In 1923, "exchange agreement" is signed between Greece and Turkey and because of this practice two million people were displaced from their homelands. According to this agreement, except for the Orthodox Greeks in Istanbul and the Muslim Turks in Western Thrace, all the settled Muslims in Greece were sent back to Turkey and all the settled Orthodox Greeks in Turkey were also sent back to Greece. There were already Albanian and Bosnian migrants settled in Alacati during the war years from Kosovo and Bosnia, and when those who came from Thessaloniki, Kavala, Crete and Kos added to this mix, Alacati population took its current form in a short time such as ten years.