FOÇA ( OLD FOÇA )
Foça (FOH-chah), called Phocaea in ancient times, is a popular Turkish Aegean seaside resort town north of İzmir (map).
There are actually two towns here: Eski Foça (Old Foça) and Yeni Foça (New Foça). Eski Foça, usually just called Foça, is the larger of the two, seated beside two small bays and a fine small harbor that has been in use by skillful mariners since 600 BC.
Phocaea's mariners explored the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas in their 50-oar ships, founding colonies at Samsun, in Corsica, Italy, France and Spain.
Monk Seal Statue, Foça, Turkey
Monk seal statue
Today the mariners are mostly yachters, pleasure-boaters and windsurfers, both Turkish and foreign, as well as visitors who come in hopes of spotting one of the rare Mediterranean monk seals (fok) that gather on the small islands offshore.
Foça has surprisingly little to show for so much history: two small fortresses, Beşkapılar and Dışkale, dating from Byzantine, Genoese and Ottoman times; a few Hellenic ruins here and there; a monumental tomb 7 km east of the town center; a bit of aqueduct.
The ruins are a sideshow to the main reason for a visit: to enjoy the seaside atmosphere, the old Ottoman-Greek houses fronted by open-air restaurants lining the shore of the Küçük Deniz ("Small Sea," the northern part of the bay); and the fishing boats anchored in the Büyük Deniz ("Big Sea," to the south).