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The playground of Turkey's gilded youth, Çeşme, and neighbouring Alaçatı, have managed to retain their azure beauty. They lie at the end of an isthmus due west of Izmir and have long been a popular holiday spot, particularly with windsurfers and kitesurfers. With a liking for slow food, Alaçatı hosted the Vanishing Tastes Festival in 2014 and 2015. Local specialities include a fish sauce made with mastic resin. Mastic is grown on the Greek island of Chios, opposite, and Berrin Torolsan writes about recent attempts to grow it on the mainland in Man, Myth and Mastic (Cornucopia 55).
The area has been settled since antiquity, when Çeşme was known as Lysos. The town took its place in Turkish history books in 1770 when the Ottoman navy, trapped in the harbour, was sunk by the Russians, though not before the Russian flagship went down, too. Çeşme's strategic position guarding Izmir Bay at the western edge of Anatolia has resulted in a fine castle fortified by the Genoese and Ottomans. Ilıca, to the west of Çeşme, has a good beach and is known for its thermal spas. To the north, the Karaburun Peninsula, which protects the Bay of Izmir, has a backbone of mountains that ensure it is a quieter place.
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