Balıkesir (Turkish pronunciation: [baˈlɯkesiɾ]) is a city in Turkey and is the capital city of Balıkesir Province. Balıkesir is located in the Marmara region of Turkey and has a population of 338,936.[3] Between 1341–1922, it was the capital of Karasi.

A collage of Balıkesir City
A collage of Balıkesir City
Balıkesir is located in Marmara
Location of Balıkesir
Balıkesir is located in Turkey
Balıkesir (Turkey)
Coordinates: 39°38′N 27°53′E / 39.633°N 27.883°E / 39.633; 27.883Coordinates: 39°38′N 27°53′E / 39.633°N 27.883°E / 39.633; 27.883
Country Turkey
ProvinceBalıkesir Province
 • MayorYücel Yılmaz
 • GovernorErsin Yazıcı
 • District1,453.97 km2 (561.38 sq mi)
70 m (230 ft)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (FET)
Postal code
Area code(s)(+90) 266
Licence plate10


The historical clock tower

Close to modern Balıkesir was the Roman town of Hadrianutherae, founded, as its name commemorates, by the emperor Hadrian.[4] Hadrian came to the region in A.D. 124, as a result of a successful bear hunting he had established a city called his name here. It is estimated that the city consisted of the castle, the homestead, the stud and a few homes. It is thought that the small town was where the current stadium is present.[5]

The historical train station

Members of the Roman and Pre-Byzantine dynasty had used this castle as a vacation area and for hunting. During the Byzantine period, the small town which had become increasingly neglected was known as Palaeokastron (Greek: Παλαιόκαστρο) meaning Old Castle.[6]

Also, when the Turkmens came from Middle Asia to Mysia, they called it Balukiser because of the remains of the castle, as Hisar is the Turkish word for castle.

In 1345, Balıkesir city was annexed by the Ottomans. In 1897 an earthquake destroyed much of the city. In 1914, Turkish students marched through the streets of the city singing a song of hatred against the Greeks.[7] In April 1916, the Christian refugees of the villages in the vicinity of Balikesser underwent persecution from the Turks. They were refused bread on payment. The women were told that they should become Muslim so as not to die of hunger.

At the beginning of June, many young Greek girls were forced by the authorities to convert to Islam at Government headquarters.[7] On 30 June 1920 Balıkesir city was conquered by the invading Greeks but on 6 September 1922, the Turkish army took back the city. During the Turkish War of Independence, Balıkesir was the main centre of the militias in Western Anatolia against Greeks.

Balıkesir's former name was Karasi because Balıkesir city was founded by Karasi Beg in the 13th century as using the remains of the small town. 1297 is considered as the date of establishment of the city which was one of the few to be founded by the Turks in Anatolia. The Karasids was a Turkic principality in Mysia. Until the 13th century, Balıkesir city had been the administrative centre of the Mysia region.


Oz Center in the downtown of Balıkesir

The economic base of the city is both agricultural and industrial. The biggest industrial enterprises are Arı-Turyağ, Limak-Set Çimento, BEST, Mar-Tük, İşbir, Kula, Tellioğlu, Bu Piliç and Yarış Kabin which are among the first thousand factories in Turkey as of 2008. Balıkesir city is also important for stock breeding. Surrounding the city, are numerous dairies. The city is also an agricultural centre. Wheat, sunflowers, sugar beets, and other vegetables in a front tomato and bean plantations have dense products. Traditional crops are melon and grapes. Balıkesir with its districts is the 12th largest economy in the Turkish economy. Also, it is called the Anatolian Tigers.


Other main exports are olive-based products. It is also a popular destination for both domestic and foreign tourists, who use it as a base to explore the near countryside which is renowned for its beauty, especially nearby Mount Ida (Kaz Dağı).


The city is well known with borax deposit. The largest global borax deposits known, many still untapped, are in Central and Western Turkey, including the provinces of Eskişehir, Kütahya and Balıkesir.[8][9][10] Besides, Turkey and the United States are the largest producers of boron products. Turkey produces about half of the global yearly demand with the known deposits which possesses 72% of the world.


The central of Balıkesir province with 300,000 population is the fourth crowded city in the Marmara Region. Balıkesir has an aggregate settlement network. Until the 1950s, the city has grown by depending on the core being first settlements that it resembles break-up of the oil stains. The city has been carrying more Aegean character than Marmara.

Balıkesir 10 Burda Shopping Center

Aygören, Karaoğlan, Dumlupınar, Kasaplar, Hisariçi, Karesi, Kızpınar, Hacıilbey are the first settlements of the city. The eldest settlements are acclivity, lane and also have adjoint buildings. Many historical places are in these quarters. A summary of new settlements are Bahcelievler, Atatürk, Paşaalanı and Adnan Menderes quarters.

The squares of the city: Ali Hikmet Pasha, Republica, Wrestler Kurtdereli Mehmet and Karesi.

Trade and economic life are concentrated on three streets. Anafartalar Street, Milli Kuvvetler Street, Vasıf Çınar Street, Kızılay Street, Atalar Street are important streets in the city. Commercial life focuses on these streets and the small streets which are intersecting these streets and avenues.

As a part of the city skyline, New Bazaar Area is the oldest shopping place for the city. Vasıf Çınar Street and Gazi Boulevard are other busy areas. The face of the government, there is Balıkesir Park, the rest area, is one of Turkey's most beautiful parks. By the establishment of Balıkesir University in the city, social life is gradually developing. Commercial life in Balıkesir is growing with modern shopping centres such as Yay/ada, 10 Burda, Avlu Balıkesir

Salih Tozan Cultural Center is important for cultural activities in the city. Public transport area where is the point of transport networks is near the Salih Tozan.

Also, Turkey's first jet base, 9th Main Air Base is also located in Balıkesir.

Main sightsEdit

The capital of Balıkesir province contains many historical buildings;

The historical clock tower
  • The Clock Tower: (built-in 1892) is the symbol of the city.
  • The Historical Fountain: (built-in 1908) is another popular building
  • Zaganos Pasha Mosque: Zaganos Pasha, named after one of the viziers and commanders during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet was built in 1461. The Zaganos Pasha Mosque Complex and Yildirim Mosque are popular spiritual areas.
  • Yildirim Mosque: It's the oldest remaining work from the Ottoman period in Balikesir city. Yildirim Beyazid had it built-in 1388 in the second half of the 14th century.
  • Umurbey Mosque: It has an epitaph of three lines engraved on marble using a special script called Sülüs. The date is 1412.
  • Karesi Principality Tomb: It was built in 1336. It contains Karasi Beg's and his five children's graves. Karasi Beg's sarcophagus is decorated with Sufic script.
  • Balıkesir's Historical Windmills: In Karakol village which is 25 km (15.53 mi) from Balıkesir, there are seven historical windmills. But only three windmills remain. Hunting and tracking are the best sports, accompanied by windmill views.
  • Değirmenboğazı: (Means strait of a mill) City forest. It is a forest area situated between two hills. A pleasant picnic place – it contains tea gardens and restaurants.
  • Balikesir City Park: It is a beautiful park which has been in service since the 1960s. The ground is covered with grass. There is a poolside café and rest facility. Celtis (Hackberry) and pine trees are all over the park.
  • Balikesir Local-Civil Houses: The city's oldest districts (Aygoren and Karaoglan district) have historical and traditional houses which show the economy and lifestyle of the city until the 1500s.
  • Thermal Resorts: Balıkesir is very famous for its thermal springs. The major thermal spas are Pamukçu, Ilıca, Kepekler and Hisaralanı.
  • Balıkesir National Photography Museum is the only photography museum in Turkey.
  • The Museum of National Moment exhibits historical memories of the city.

Natural Park in Balikesir


Many theatre players, actor, actress, singer and painter were born in Balıkesir. Most known are;

Avlu Balikesir Public Garden and Shopping Center
Salih Tozan Culture and Art Center

Memorial daysEdit

The major memorial days of Balıkesir are Hıdrellez, The Liberation Day and also The Remembrance Day of Local Combat.

Hıdrellez is by tradition celebrated in the first week of May for those who live in Balıkesir. Today, it is the fulfillment of a religious ritual that is celebrated as a day of goodness. The night on the streets there is a fire, and one of the traditions is to jump over the fire seven times. That night going to such green and restful areas as Değirmenboğazı and Balıkesir Park or near the religious area like tombs is also a ritual of Hıdrellez. People wish midnight and meet there. Accordingly, Hıdrellez day people have offerings. Drawing a picture of something that is desired to land or stone is determined. Individuals seeking goods put money into a red purse and hang it on a tree. On the other hand, those wishing for a baby type the name or draws baby figure on the ground. These rituals are traditions of Hıdrellez. One of the superstitions is that if someone takes a shower that night, he or she is protected from all diseases. Hıdrellez is a kind of Newroz or Spring New Years.

The Liberation Day from the enemy occupation of Balıkesir is 6 September in 1922. Every year, 6 September is celebrating the day as a local holiday. There are a celebration parade and a celebratory ceremony. The ceremony takes place on Stadium Street. In the past, the previous night of 6 September, the main streets of Balıkesir were washed with cologne with lilies, because lilies are a symbol of Balıkesir. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. For two or three days, the people would come from the nearby villages and districts to celebrating. On 6 September morning, people in Balıkesir would picnic in advance of the festival, at Balıkesir Park. The festival evening, a great torchlight procession is organized. Tülü Tabaklar which had designed similarly the cannibals in order to frighten the enemies is a special event of the festival.

The Remembrance Day of Local Combat is called Kuvayi Milliye Haftası in Turkish which is organized between 16–23 May. The great success with 41 Balıkesirer people met at Alaca Mescit and they have managed the region such as a state and gained a military victory in 1922. 15 May 1919, after the capture of İzmir by the Greeks, Balıkesir is the first place in Turkey that the reaction of Balıkesir had shown by declared Redd-i Ilhak (Disclamation of Annexation). In 1919, the city of Balikesir Congress was met five times. Greek soldiers on 30 June 1920 was occupied Balıkesir. By had opened Ayvalik-İvrindi-Soma-Balikesir-front, Balıkesir had its liberation.

Traditional folk dancers in Balikesir


Balıkesir's local cheese, called Kelle Peyniri, is known in European countries and exported France, Germany and Britain. It is a granular type of cheese. Hoşmerim which is made from cheese and egg is the popular dessert of this city. Many old Turkmen dishes (like keşkek, güveç, tirit, mantı, kaymaklı) are composed of Balıkesir cuisine.


Balıkesir's Turkmen carpets (called Yağcıbedir) are another popular local good. The main souvenir of the city is lily cologne.

Traditional folk dancesEdit

Balıkesir is a historical folkloric dance source. Balıkesir's historical folkloric dance is most popular in Turkey and academical searching. Bengi, Guvende and Balikesir Zeybeği are a typical dance of this city. These dances' figures spread throughout Balıkesir plainness. Also, Balikesir's ballads are popular in Turkey. Akpınar, Mendili Oyaladım, Karyolamın Demiri are some ballads sing by women surround Balikesir city. Like these woman ballads, on the other hand, have dance figures in terms of traditional dancing. Although Balıkesir is an industrial region, traditional village culture is superb and deeply. So, for folk culture, Balıkesir is an important area in Turkey. Balıkesir's local dance came to first in Nice folk festival joined 21 countries at 1958 be of value by European academical folklore authorities. Also, Balıkesir's local zeibek dance was the first zeibek participation from Turkey which had seen European folk authorities. Nowadays, Balıkesir folklore is chosen "intangible cultural heritage" of Turkey by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Balıkesir School of Fine Arts

The foundation of Balıkesir University trace back to Karesi Teacher School established in 1910. This school has been carried to the building which is used as Necatibey Faculty of Education with particular interests of the Minister of Education, Mustafa Necati. Till 1982, the number of higher education institutes reached 4: Necati Institution of Education, Architecture and Engineering State Academy, Balıkesir School of Industry and Tourism, Balıkesir Vocational School. These foundations changed status with Delegated Legislation No 41 and were connected to Uludağ University. Necatibey Teacher’s Training School continued to train teachers between the years 1932 and 1982 under the name of Necati Institution of Education, left its 3-year status, received 4-year-Higher Teacher Training School status. In 1982, having been connected to Uludağ University, this foundation has been called Necatibey Faculty of Education.

In the same way, the name of Balıkesir School of Industry and Tourism has been changed as Balıkesir School of Tourism and Hotel Management, but the name of 2-year-Balıkesir Vocational School has remained the same. Having stayed under the roof of Uludağ University for 10 years, these foundations have formed a powerful background for Balıkesir University with healthy and consistent development.[11]

Balıkesir University has more than 37.000 students.

Also, some of the scientists were born in Balıkesir. One of the most known is Selman Akbulut the Turkish mathematician, specializing in research in topology, and geometry and which is a student of Robion Kirby.


Stadium of Balıkesir

Many sportspeople were born in Balıkesir. Some of them are;

Most known sports club in Balıkesir is Balıkesirspor which is established in 1966. Balıkesirspor is the football team played in the Süper Lig after achieving promotion having finished as runners-up of the TFF First League in 2013–14. The team's previous promotion was 40 years before that. Their stadium, the all-seater Balıkesir Atatürk Stadium, has a capacity of 13,732.


Balıkesir and its districts, besides the wealth of thermal resources, have healing waters with high quality of physical and chemical compositions.

Many spas with health-promoting features surround the city, including Pamukçu and Ilıca. The center of the city also contains the historical Turkish "Pasha Hamami" bath, which is still in use. Some of these thermal resources located in;

Pamukçu, Kiraz, Edremit-Güre, Edremit-Bostancı, Edremit-Derman, Gönen, Gönen-Ekşidere, Manyas-Kızık Köy, Susurluk-Kepekler, Balya-Dağ, Bigadiç-Hisarköy, Sındırgı-Hisaralan, Sındırgı-Emendere and Dursunbey-Aşağımusalar Village.[12]

Transportation and accommodationEdit

Balikesir Terminal
A bus in Balıkesir

Balıkesir is a city that has shores on the Aegean and Marmara Seas. It is easy to reach from Ankara, İstanbul, Bursa and İzmir by motorway or railway. There are regular coaches from İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

Balıkesir has many small coastal towns. To make transportation comfortable, railway transport is done between Ankara-Balıkesir and İzmir-Balikesir at specific hours.

Balıkesir is joined to Bursa and İzmir by a quality motorway. Also, there is the Körfez Airport. On account of the Körfez Airport, Balıkesir Coach Terminal is out of the city so that there is servicing by the municipality to the city centre.

On the other hand, the Railway Station is at Republica Square. Directly, from Ankara to Balıkesir, there are three flights per week.

In Balıkesir city, there are ten hotels with one five-star hotel.

A campus bus in Balıkesir. University students use these buses.


Balıkesir has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) under both the Köppen and Trewartha classification. Winters are cool and wet with frequent frosts and occasional snowfall, and summers are hot and dry.

The continental climate is effective as it moves from west to east and north to south. Therefore, winters are cold and snowy in the inner parts. On the Marmara coast, the effect of the Black Sea climate is seen. Therefore, the summers are warm here.[13]

Because of Turkey's geographical conditions, one can not speak about a general overall climate. In Istanbul and around the sea of Marmara (Marmara region) the climate is moderate (winter 4 deg.C and summer 27 deg.C); in winter the temperature can drop below zero. In Western Anatolia (Aegean region) there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9 deg.C in winter and 29 deg.C in summer.

Climate data for Balıkesir (1950–2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.5
Average high °C (°F) 9.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.8
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Record low °C (°F) −13.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 80.1
Average precipitation days 14.2 11.7 11.5 9.5 7.8 4.4 1.6 1.5 3.5 6.7 9.7 13.9 96
Mean daily sunshine hours 2.6 3.3 4.4 6.1 8.4 10.5 11.4 11.0 8.5 6.2 4.1 2.3 6.6
Source: Turkish State Meteorological Service[14]


Governorship building of Balikesir

See also: List of municipalities in Balıkesir Province

According to official documents, the first head of Balıkesir Municipality is Deratam Efendi. However, in the book entitled "Balıkesir City and Municipal History" written by Kerim Kâni Akpınarlı, it is stated that there were four other municipal heads before Deratam Efendi.

Balıkesir Municipality, in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Turkey, with the law numbered 6360, published on 6 December 2012, Balıkesir Municipality has qualified as a"Metropolitan".[15]

International relationsEdit

Twin townsEdit

Balıkesir is twinned with;[11]

Notable nativesEdit

Historical figuresEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Population of Balikesir City". Nufusu Website.
  4. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balikisri". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 256.
  5. ^ Prof. Dr Bilge Umar, Mysia, İnkılap Yayınevi, 2006, sf.153
  6. ^ "Hadrianutherae, Balukiser". Hasluck, F. (2010). In Cyzicus: Being Some Account of the History and Antiquities of that City, and of the District Adjacent to it, with the Towns of Apollonia Ad Rhyndacum, Miletupolis, Hadrianutherae, Priapus, Zeleia, etc. Cambridge Library Collection - Archaeology,: 88–94. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511696978.009 – via Cambridge University Press.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  7. ^ a b Persecution of the Greeks in Turkey, 1914–1918. Constantinople [London, Printed by the Hesperia Press]. 1919.
  8. ^ Kistler,, R. B. (1994). ""Boron and Borates"" (PDF). Industrial Minerals and Rocks. (6th ed.): 171–186.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  9. ^ Zbayolu, G., Poslu, K. (1992). ""Mining and Processing of Borates in Turkey"". Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review. 9 (1–4): 245–254.
  10. ^ Kar, Y.; Şen,, Nejdet; Demirbaş, Ayhan (2006). ""Boron Minerals in Turkey, Their Application Areas and Importance for the Country's Economy"". Minerals & Energy – Raw Materials Report. 20 (3–4): 2–10.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ a b "Balıkesir University History".
  12. ^ "Termalism in Balikesir". Governorship of Balıkesir.
  13. ^ Sertel, Elif (January 2011). "Modelling land cover change impact on the summer climate of the Marmara Region, Turkey". International Journal of Global Warming. 3(2): 194–202 – via ResearchGate.
  14. ^ "Meteoroloji" (in Turkish). Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Balıkesir City and Municipal History". Balıkesir Municipality.
  16. ^ "Schwäbisch Hall and its twin towns". Stadt Schwäbisch Hall. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  17. ^ Sister/Twin Cities of Balıkesir

External linksEdit