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Imbros / Ίμβρος
—  Town  —
Mountains of Gökçeada
Gökçeada is located in Turkey
Location of Imbros within Turkey.
Coordinates: 40°09′N 25°50′E / 40.15°N 25.833°E / 40.15; 25.833
Country  Turkey
Province Çanakkale
Population (2000)
 - Total 8,875
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Imbros, officially referred to as Gökçeada in Turkey (older name in Turkish: İmroz; Greek: Ίμβρος – Imvros), is the largest island of Turkey, part of Çanakkale Province. It is located at the entrance of Saros Bay in the northern Aegean Sea, also the westernmost point of Turkey (Avlaka peninsula). With an area of 279 km² (108 square miles), Imbros contains some wooded areas.[1]

According to the 2000 Census, the island of Imbros had a total population of 8,875.[2] The same census also reported 7,254 people in Gökçeada town, and 1,621 in the remaining villages.[2] The main industries of Imbros are fishing and tourism. The population is predominantly Turkish but there are still about 300 Greeks on Imbros; large numbers of Greeks have emigrated.

The island is noted for its vineyards and wine production.




In mythology

View of Samothrace from Gökçeada

According to the Greek mythology, the palace of Thetis, mother of Achilles, king of Phthia, was situated between Imbros and Samothrace. The stables of the winged horses of Poseidon were said to lie between Imbros and Tenedos.

Homer wrote:

In the depths of the sea on the cliff
Between Tenedos and craggy Imbros
There is a cave, wide gaping
Poseidon who made the earth tremble,
stopped the horses there.

In antiquity

In classical antiquity, Imbros, like Lemnos, was an Athenian cleruchy, a colony whose settlers retained Athenian citizenship; although since the Imbrians appear on the Athenian tribute lists, there may have been a division with the native population. The original inhabitants of Imbros were Pelasgians. Miltiades conquered the island from Persia after the battle of Salamis; the colony was established about 450 BC, during the first Athenian empire, and was retained by Athens (with brief exceptions) for the next six centuries. It may have become independent under Septimius Severus.[3]

Ottoman era

Between Turkey and Greece

Before and shortly after the First World War the population of Imbros was ethnically Greek, with Greeks making up approximately 97.5 percent of the islands population in 1927.

Because of their strategic position near the Dardanelles, the western powers, particularly Britain, insisted at the end of the Balkan Wars in 1913 that the island should be retained by the Ottoman Empire when the other Aegean islands were ceded to Greece.

In 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres with the defeated Ottoman Empire granted the island to Greece. The Ottoman government, which signed but did not ratify the treaty, was overthrown by the new Turkish nationalist Government of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, based in Ankara. After the Greco-Turkish War ended in Greek defeat in Anatolia, and the fall of Lloyd George and his Middle Eastern policies, the western powers agreed to the Treaty of Lausanne with the new Turkish Republic, in 1923. This treaty made the island part of Turkey; but it guaranteed a special autonomous administrative status on Imbros and Tenedos to accommodate the Greeks, and excluded them from the population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey, due to their presence there as a majority.[4]

However shortly after the legislation of "Civil Law" on 17 February 1926 (Medeni Kanun), the rights accorded to minorities in Turkey were revoked, in violation of the Lausanne Treaty.


View of the Gökçeada's artificial lake from the village Tepeköy village.
Olive groves in Zeytinli
Barba Yorgo's taverna in Tepeköy
Village of Dereköy
View from the port
Çınarlı is the main town on Imbros, known as Panaghia Balomeni (Παναγία Μπαλωμένη) in Greek. Most of the settlements on Imbros were given Turkish names in 1926. Çınarlı is in the middle of the island; there is a small airport under construction nearby.
Bademli köyü 
Older Greek name is Gliky (Γλυκύ). It is located to the northeast of the island, between Çınarlı town and Kaleköy/Kastro.
Older Greek name is Schoinoudi (Σχοινούδι). It is located at the center of the west side of island. Due to the emigration of the Greek population (largely to New Zealand and the USA; some to Greece and Istanbul before the 1970s), Dereköy is empty today. However, many people return on every 15 August for the festival of the Virgin Mary.
Eşelek / Karaca köyü 

It is located at the southeast of the island. It is an agricultural area that produces fruit and vegetables.

Older name is Kastro (Κάστρο) (Latin and Greek for castle). Located on the north-eastern coast of island, there is an antique castle near the village. Kaleköy also has a small port which was constructed by the French Navy during the occupation in the First World War, and is now used for fishing-boats and yachts.
Şahinkaya köyü 
It is located near Dereköy.
It is located in the southwest of island.
Older Greek name is Agridia (Αγριδιά). It is located in the north of the island, and is home to the largest Greek population on the island. Barba Yorgo' is a well-known inhabitant of the island. An extinct volcano is located south of village which is the highest point of island.
Uğurlu köyü 
It is located in the west of the island.
Yeni Bademli köyü 
It is located at the center-northeast of island, near Bademli. It has many motels and pensions.
Older Greek name is Evlampio (Ευλάμπιο). It is located near Çınarlı Town on the road to Kuzulimanı port.
Zeytinli köyü 
Older Greek name is Aghios Theodoros (Άγιος Θεόδωρος). Demetrios Archontonis, known as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, was born there on 29 February 1940. It has a famous café where Madam Dibek (elderly Greek lady) used to serve her special Turkish/Greek style coffee which is prepared in a hand mortar. After she died, her husband is now continuing her legacy.
Yeni Bademli köyü, Eşelek / Karaca köyü, Şahinkaya köyü, Şirinköy and Uğurlu köyü were established after 1970.

Places to see

  • Aydıncık/Kefaloz (Kefalos) beach: Best location for windsurfing
  • Kapıkaya (Stenos) beach:
  • Kaşkaval peninsula / (Kaskaval): Scuba diving
  • Kuzulimanı (Haghios Kyrikas): Ferryport with 24-hour ferries to GeliboluKabatepe port and Çanakkale port.
  • Mavikoy/Bluebay: The first national underwater park in Turkey. Scuba diving allowed for recreational purposes.
  • Marmaros beach: Also has a small waterfall.
  • Pınarbaşı (Spilya) beach: Longest (and most sandy) beach on the island.


The Greek population

The island was primarily inhabited by ethnic Greeks from ancient times through to approximately the middle of the twentieth century. Data dating from 1922 taken under Greek rule and 1927 data taken under Turkish rule showed a strong majority of Greek inhabitants on Imbros, and the Greek Orthodox Church had a strong presence on the island.

Article 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) exempted Imbros and Tenedos from the large-scale population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey, and required Turkey to accommodate the local Greek majority and their rights:

The islands of Imbros and Tenedos, remaining under Turkish sovereignty, shall enjoy a special administrative organisation composed of local elements and furnishing every guarantee for the native non-Moslem population insofar as concerns local administration and the protection of persons and property. The maintenance of order will be assured therein by a police force recruited from amongst the local population by the local administration above provided for and placed under its orders.

Thus, under the Turkish Republic, the islands were to be largely autonomous and self-governing, with their own police force. This provision was not guaranteed by anything more than the faith of the Treaty.

Intercommunal relations

A local islander in a coffee house

The Greek émigrés from Turkey assert numerous violations of the religious, linguistic, and economic rights guaranteed as matters of international concern by the Treaty, including freedom of the Orthodox religion and the right to practice the professions. Leaders of the Greek community in Turkey "voluntarily waived" these rights in 1926; but the Treaty provides (Article 44) that these rights can only be modified by the consent of the majority of the Council of League of Nations. The émigrés assert that the signatures to the waivers were obtained by orders of the police, and that Avrilios Spatharis and Savvas Apostologlou, who refused to sign, were imprisoned. The Greek government appealed this action to the Council and was upheld, but Turkey has not complied.

In addition, the following grievances apply particularly to Imbros:

  • In 1923, Turkey dismissed the elected government of the island, and installed mainlanders. 1500 Imbriots who had taken refuge from the Turkish War of Independence on Lemnos and in Thessalonica were denied the right to return, as undesirables.
  • In 1927, the system of local administration on Imbros was abolished, and the Greek schools closed. In 1952-3, the Greek Imbriots were permitted to build new ones, closed again in 1964.
  • In 1943, Turkey arrested the Metropolitan of Imbros and Tenedos with other Orthodox clerics. They also confiscated the lands on Imbros belonging to the monasteries of Great Lavra and Koutloumousiou on Mount Athos, expelled the tenants, and installed settlers; when the Mayor of Imbros and four village elders protested, they were arrested and sent to the mainland.
  • Between 1964 and 1984, almost all the usable land on Imbros had been expropriated, for inadequate compensation, for an army camp, a minimum-security prison, reforestation projects, a dam project, and a national park.
  • Nicholas Palaiopoulos, a town councilor, was arrested and imprisoned in 1966 for complaining to the Greek Ambassador on the latter's visit to Imbros; he, together with the Mayor of Imbros and 20 others, was imprisoned again in 1974.
  • A crime wave hit Imbros since 1964; the old Cathedral at Kastro (Kaleköy) was desecrated on the night of the Turkish landing on Cyprus in 1974; the present Cathedral was looted in March 1993; there have been a number of rapes and murders, officially blamed on convicts and soldiers, but none of them has been solved.
  • In July 1993, the Turkish National Security began a program to settle mainland Turks on Imbros (and Tenedos).

All of these events have led to the Greeks emigrating from both islands. Before 1964, the population of Imbros was 7000 Greeks, and 200 mainland Turkish officials; by 1970 the Greeks were a minority at 40% of the population, and there remains only a very small Greek community on Imbros today, comprising several hundred mostly elderly people. Most of the former Greeks of Imbros and Tenedos are in diaspora in Greece, the United States, and Australia.[5]

Population change in Imbros

     Turkish people      Greek people

Town & Villages 1927 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1997 2000
Çınarlı (Panaghia Balomeni) - - 3578 615 3806 342 4251 216 767 70 721 40 553 26 503 29
Bademli (Gliky) - - 66 144 1 57 40 1 13 34 29 22 15 15 15 13
Dereköy (Shinudy) - - 73 672 391 378 319 214 380 106 99 68 82 40 68 42
Eşelek - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 152 -
Fatih - - - - - - - - 3962 45 4284 32 4135 21 4180 25
Kaleköy (Kastro) - - 38 36 24 - - 128 94 - 105 - 90 - 89 -
Şahinkaya - - - - - - - - - - 168 - 107 - 86 -
Şirinköy - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 189 -
Tepeköy (Agridia) - - 3 504 4 273 2 193 1 110 75 2 2 39 2 42
Uğurlu - - - - - - - - 460 - 490 - 466 - 401 -
Yenibademli - - - - - - - - 416 - 660 - 628 - 581 -
Yenimahalle (Evlampio) - - 182 143 162 121 231 81 359 59 970 27 2240 25 2362 27
Zeytinli (Aghios Theodoros) - - 30 507 15 369 36 235 72 162 25 130 12 82 12 76
TOTAL 157 6555 3970 2621 4403 1540 4879 1068 6524 586 7626 321 8330 248 8640 254

Ref: Gökçeada Municipality official page

Ref: Changes in the demographic characteristics of Gökçeada

Notable people from Imbros

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was born in the village of Zeytinli.
  • Sheikh Mustafa Ruhi Efendi (1800-1893), religious (Naqshbandi) and political leader in the Balkans during the Ottoman period.
  • Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
  • Erol Saygı; Turkish academician. (Saygı, E., (1985). Gökçeada: Imbros. Motif Basım Ltd. Şti., Istanbul.)
  • Ali Dağlı; the only shipowner who gave service to transport people and goods from mainland Turkey to Imbros, before the construction of the Kuzulimanı Port.
  • Namık ?; cinematographer, who ran for many years, between the 1960s and the 1980s, a small cinema saloon, with the help of his Greek wife.
  • Stavros Stavropoulos; Mayor, 1965-1970.

See also


  1. ^ Gökçeada", from Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
  2. ^ a b Turkish Istatistic Institute — Population 2000 by provinces & districts (*.xls table)
  3. ^ Oxford Classical Dictionary: "Imbros"
  4. ^ See link to the text of the Treaty of Lausanne, below
  5. ^ Struggle for Justice, pp.33-73; they ascribe the resettlement program to an article in the Turkish magazine "Nokta".


  • Oxford Classical Dictionary s. "Imbros"
  • Loeb Classical Library Athenaeus.
  • The struggle for justice : 1923-1993 : 70 years of Turkish provocation and violations of the Treaty of Lausanne : a chronicle of human rights violations; Citizen's Association of Constantinople-Imvros-Tenedos-Eastern Thrace of Thrace. Komotini (1993)
  • Website on the misfortunes of the Greeks. While tendentious, the section (in the middle of the page) about the islands is not strident, and asserts several matters of fact.
  • Text of the Treaty of Lausanne.
  • Les îles d'Imbros et de Tenedos (French) Source for population.
  • Homer - The Iliad - Book XIII - Reference is made to a cavern located between the rocky isles of Imbros and Tenedos supposedly the home of the God Poseidon

External links

Coordinates: 40°09′39″N 25°50′40″E / 40.16083°N 25.84444°E / 40.16083; 25.84444

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Gokceada article)

From Wikitravel

Gökçeada is an island in Turkey. It is located north of the entrance of Dardanelles Strait, in the Aegean Sea.


Gökçeada is the largest island of Turkey with a surface of 279 square kilometers. The island is very mountainous. Cape Avlaka, near Uğurlu, is the westernmost point of the island, and of Turkey as well.

In ancient times, it was believed that Greek sea god Poseidon rested his horses in the deep sea between Gökçeada and the Greek island of Samothrace, which is to the north of Gökçeada.

The island was given its current name in 1970s. Before that time it was known as İmroz in Turkish, which derives from its Greek name (Imvros). In ancient times it was known as Imbros.

The island has a small Greek community, about 250 mostly old people, scattered in a number of villages. Though, in summers, number of Greeks on the island rises because many families essentially from Gökçeada, but living in Greece now, return to their houses for vacation (or to visit their grandparents). The rest of the population is mainly comprised of recent immigrants from far away places in Turkey and military personnel.

The island is a part of Canakkale province.

Get in

By boat

There are ferries from two points in the mainland: Kabatepe, which is on the western coasts of Gallipoli peninsula, or from the harbour of Canakkale city. From Çanakkale, there is a ferry only once a day (or once every two days in winter). Kabatepe has more voyages. The island is 11 nautical miles away from Kabatepe, while 32 nautical miles from Çanakkale (Çanakkale-Gökçeada voyage takes about three and a half hours). There are car ferries at both lines.

Keep in mind that some scheduled voyages may be cancelled, especially during winter and during the seasonal storms which generally occur at about the same date every year.

By car

It’s easier to get to Kabatepe port from Istanbul or Europe. It’s nearer, and you don’t need to get into (and wait in the queue for) the Dardanelles ferry (Eceabat-Çanakkale). You can reach Kabatepe by following “Kabatepe-Gökçeada” signs you will see on the highway (D550/E87/E90) after you have left Gelibolu/Gallipoli town about 40 km behind, before arriving in Eceabat.

By bus

When going by bus, the situation is the opposite of going by car. It is best to reach Canakkale first, and to board the ship there, since it may be a bit hard for travellers without a vehicle to reach remote Kabatepe port. There are however direct busses to Gökceada from Istanbul Bus station that board the ferry and drive through to Gökceada town center.

Get around

Public transport is severely limited on the island, even in summertime. There are minibuses several times a day between the central town (Turkish: Merkez, officially known as Gökçeada town, the only settlement of the island with a significant population) and the harbour (Kuzulimanı, 4 km east of Merkez). There are also minibuses once every two hours between central town and Kaleköy via Yenibademli. The minibus service between central town and Uğurlu (via Dereköy, also passes through the junctions of the roads leading to Zeytinli and Tepeköy) is once a day, as well as the minibus service between central town and Aydıncık (also known as Kefalos) beach.

Drivers, most of who themselves are visitors, are generally friendly towards hitchhikers. They tend to stop even without a sign when passing by some unlucky visitor who doesn’t have the privilege of having a car or bike and thus walking under the baking sun in some weird location. However, this may not be true for wintertime when already empty island roads are more deserted.

Taxis are limited in number and at least twice or three times more expensive than other places in Turkey (for example, Istanbul).

Be sure to obtain (or take a look at) a good map of the island before going there. By doing so, you will let directions and locations fit much more easily into your mind. There are plenty of island maps available on the web.


Atmospheric Greek villages of the island, namely

  • Bademli (Gliki in Greek, also known as Eskibademli, i.e. Old Bademli) – about 3 km north of Merkez, 1 km south of Kaleköy. Situated on the top of a hill. Balcony of the deserted village school offers a magnicifent view of mountains and the plain of the island, the Aegean Sea, and the Greek island of Samothrace.
  • Kaleköy (Kastron in Greek) – 4 km north of Merkez, this village is consisted of two parts (10 minutes away from each other by walking): the newer coastal hood and the upper part on the top of a hill (Yukarı Kaleköy). There is a citadel (or what is left of a citadel) in the upper part. There is no admission fee, and it is virtually open 24 hrs a day since there is no gate nor a guard.
  • Zeytinli (Agia Theodori in Greek) – 3 km NW of Merkez. Situated on a gentle slope surrouded by oliveyards.
  • Tepeköy (Agridia in Greek) – about 10 km NW of Merkez. Situated on a hill overlooking the turquoise dam lake and surrounding hills around.
  • Dereköy (Shinoudi in Greek) – about 15 km west of Merkez. Situated on two slopes of a valley, parted by a road inbetween (Merkez-Uğurlu road). This village is said to be Turkey’s biggest village once, with a population of 10,000. Now almost totally deserted. Be sure to visit the dark laundry building –which is not used anymore- of this village.

All these villages (except Kaleköy’s coastal part) are situated on the top of the hills and/or considerably away from the sea to escape pirate raids of the past.

Most parts of these villages are more or less deserted, and some parts are ruined. The three most liveliest villages are Kaleköy, Zeytinli, and Tepeköy.

If you do not have a car or a taxi waiting for you, do not forget to take at least three liters of bottled water (that means two large bottles) with you when visiting the villages since you may have to walk back to where you are staying and there is no guarantee that you will find a source of drinkable water (or somewhere selling it) in these mostly deserted villages or on the way.

Aydıncık beach (also known as Kefalos) and the salt lake – in the southeast part of the island, about 10 km from Merkez. A low dune separates the sea and the lake, which is very shallow, about 1 metre depth in its deepest parts. In the olden times, before commercial packaged salt was available, islanders were producing their own salt here. The lake smells funny because of some natural chemical it contains, which is said to cure some skin problems. It is a good idea to first have a mudbath in the lake and then rinse in the sea (Be careful, there are lots of sea urchins –which can spoil your trip if prick on your skin, especially feet- around this area).

Yıldızkoy beach – Can be reached by following the trail starting behind Yenibademli (10 minutes). All around the cove is covered by mountains of black volcanic rocks.

  • Swim - You can virtually swim in anywhere of this island’s coastline exceeding 100 km in length. The sea is totally free of any kind of pollution. Some areas near the northeastern portion of the island’s coasts has been declared Turkey’s first –and so far the only- underwater national park.


There is only one ATM on the island. It is located in the Türkiye İş Bankası‘s local branch (in Merkez). Always have an extra amount of cash with you while on the island, since ferry can be cancelled because of bad weather any time (very rarely happens in summer, though) and the ATM may not work (or might not accept your card).


There are quite cheap restaurants in Merkez and Kaleköy. Some of them offer breakfast too. Or alternatively, you can pick some blackberry and figs from one of island’s many unowned trees, buy a bread and some feta cheese from the village stall, and ask the landlord/landlady of your guesthouse for some fresh tomatoes, green peppers, and grapes from the garden (they’ll be happy to give you away some for free) and here you have a Mediterranean breakfast!

Despite being an island, fish is neither abundant nor very cheap. Islanders seem to have a preference on mutton.

  • Barba Yorgo in Tepeköy is a famous Greek tavern.
  • Don’t miss to drink a cup of special Turkish coffee at Madam’s (Madam’ın Yeri) in Zeytinli. The lady who was preparing and serving the coffee deceased a few years ago, but her husband is keeping the tradition.


You can stay either in a few hotels located in some of the villages (especially in Kaleköy), or rent one of the many guesthouses (pansiyon) in Yenibademli (3 km to Merkez, situated in the lowland between Bademli and Kaleköy). Yenibademli’s guesthouses are terrible in terms of architecture (same-looking concrete boxes rowed in a number of parallel streets), but you can find a room (or rent a whole house) at any time of the year without prior booking. Another advantage of Yenibademli is that it is just a few steps away (yes, literally, there is a sign on the road which proclaims you are out of Yenibademli and at the same time you have entered Kaleköy) from Kalelöy. Yenibademli is also only 3 km away from Merkez via a relatively flat road which you can easily walk in a case that you couldn’t find any public transport. The guesthouses here are cheap as well (did cost 14 YTL after some bargaining (the initial price was 30 YTL) per night to rent a house of two rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen with cookware in summer 2002. The price should definitely rise since that time, this was written just to give an idea). In these guesthouses (Yenibademli), payments are generally made daily and only in cash.

  • Zeus Bungalow Hotel, Kuzulimanı (very close to the harbour where ferries from the mainland anchors), +90 286 887 33 32-35, [1]. € 21/29 with breakfast/with breakfast and dinner per person.  edit

It is possible to camp in almost anywhere on the island. Common sense requires camping considerably away from any house or public spaces in the villages, from olive- and vineyards which look well-tended around the villages, and more than considerably away from military property (See Respect section). If you want to be on the totally secure side, there is also a campground in Aydıncık beach, which also has a little stall which offers basic necessities such as snacks and soft drinks.


Many parts of the island is military property. To avoid trouble, do not enter or photograph the areas enclosed by obvious barbed wires and those signed with the red boards with a soldier illustration on you’ll see pretty much around.


Tourism information office – in Kaleköy, tel +90 286 887 28 00


The area code for the island (as well as other parts of Canakkale province) is 286.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

IMBROS, a Turkish island in the Aegean, at the southern end of the Thracian Chersonese peninsula. It forms with Samothrace, about 17 m. distant, a caza (or canton) in the sanjak of Lemnos and province of the Archipelago Isles. Herodotus (v. 26) mentions it as an abode of the historic Pelasgians. It was, like Samothrace, a seat of the worship of the Cabeiri. The island is now the seat of a Greek bishopric. There is communication with the mainland by occasional vessels. The island is of great fertility - wheat, oats, barley, olives, sesame and valonia being the principal products, in addition to a variety of fruits. Pop. about 92,000, nearly all Turks.

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