Return to nature: City dwellers moving to rural villages

Published 26.09.2017 19:58
Updated 27.09.2017 09:10
Return to nature: City dwellers moving to rural villages

The speed of life in big cities can sometimes overwhelm urbanites, who run from one place to another to complete chores that leave them feeling broken down, but now people living in big cities are returning to nature, moving to small villages such as Adatepe, Çanakkale

It is a fact that most people are not intrigued by multiple-story residence skyscrapers anymore. Nowadays, city dwellers want to reconnect with nature, seeking scenic parks and green spaces. City dwellers are often faced with increased levels of noise, pollution and crime, leaving them yearning to simplify their lives.

This yearning for the simple and natural has resulted in a kind of a "migration" of city dwellers to smaller residential areas that are close to the city but remote.

Çanakkale's Adatepe village, which is located in the foothills of Mount Ida, is one of the most-visited spots for city dwellers, with some choosing to invest in homes there.

Surrounded by cobblestone pavements like spider webs, Adatepe is home to the best examples of stone masonry, reflected in the architecture of its historic houses. With an authentic aura, it is no surprise that the village attracts city dwellers from all over Turkey.

The stone houses which were once occupied by the Anatolian Greeks in ancient times are now selling for TL 2-3 million ($563,000 to $845,000). Moreover, some of the old houses and barns are being restored and turned into modern living spaces. Some of the houses are also used as boutique hotels and cafes.

Adatepe was one of the places that fortunately managed to preserve its authenticity as it was announced as a protected site by the Turkish government in 1989. With its historic atmosphere, clean air, serenity and mesmerizing nature, Adatepe is surely a place to escape from chaotic city life.

Up until 1940, the village was a lively place with a total of 550 houses, a public bath, bread bakery, tea house, show maker, hairdresser and a couple of olive oil factories. Around the 1950s, the locals of the village started to migrate to large cities and the population of Adatepe began to decrease, leaving the homes abandoned.

However, once the village became a protected area, those seeking a more tranquil life rediscovered it and the restored homes began to be sold primarily to families from İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

Burak Yiğitoğlu is one of those city dwellers that made Adatepe his home. He came to the village from Istanbul and became the manager of a tourism agency. Now he runs a boutique hotel and a café.

"The village of Adatepe is a Level 1 protected area by the state. It is forbidden to do anything that will disturb the authenticity of the village. Hence, Adatepe is one of the most well-preserved sites of Turkey," Yiğitoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA).

There are four hotels in Adatepe which welcome thousands of people every year; unfortunately though, there are not so many locals left in the village. People coming to Adatepe from the big cities have restored the old homes according to their original form.

"It is said that the locals of Adatepe do not live here anymore," said Yiğitoğlu, "However, the good thing is that city dwellers managed to restore the old residential areas to their original states and aim to preserve the authenticity of the village. Businessmen and prominent figures from Turkey are now residing in our village. These people use their homes in the village usually as summer homes but are also working to make Adatepe beautiful. Adatepe has turned into an attraction center of Turkey."

Nurullah Donkar, one of the people who decided to take a detour to see this famed spot, declares while walking along the cobblestone pavements: "It is surprising to see how residents have managed to protect the historical atmosphere of the village."

"This village is the perfect example of history meeting nature. As far as I can see, there are still some locals here, but I came across great deal of people travelling from Istanbul as well. It seems like they have adapted to here beautifully," Doncar said.

"There are not many locals left here," Sezer Tülek, one of the locals, said. "I call the residents of the village, 'urban villagers'."

The head of the village is an ambitious woman named Dilek Çakıroğlu. She says the village's history is older than people think and that farming and animal breeding is still the main income of the locals. "Producing olive oil is also common in Adatepe. People from the cities who want to take a breath of fresh air, come to the village. Some have even turned an old barn into a café. There are only 20 houses inhabited by native Adatepe locals. The rest of the population is composed of city dwellers looking for an escape."

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