One of the loveliest districts of İstanbul, Şile is just Northeast of the Marmara Region and lies on the 60 km coast of the Black Sea shore which makes it a very desirable location for Summer holidays. It’s not only an escape from the city, for Şile offers its lovely natural spots, sightseeing and other wonders but it has become a permanent destination for those looking for an extended holiday season.
It is known that Şile and the regions around have been occupied since the Neolithic ages. Various areas that were also occupied from the Paleolithic ages have been discovered during an excavation in the Black Sea region between the border of Bulgaria and Kefken Island. The facts show that after the Ice Age, about 12000 and 6000 BC the shore of the Black Sea was conveniently populated.
Şile had been under attack twice at old ages. The first time by the Xenophon of the Ancient Greeks after their Persian expedition, and the second time by Lucullus of the Roman Empire who would follow the coast. It is possible to notice the impressions the Roman Empire has left in this lovely region. During the ruling of Diokletianus of the Eastern Roman Empire; caves like Inkese and Sofular were the natural protective homes of the first Christians. Şile and its region has hosted home for many cultures throughout the centuries as the Seljuk Turks acquired the state in 1090 until the Crusades which eventually led to the ownership of the land by the Ottoman Empire acquired during the ruling of Yıldırım Bayezid.
Serving the Bosphorus as well as the Black Sea, the lighthouse is the biggest in Turkey and second active and biggest lighthouse in the world. Finished by 1859, the lighthouse is built like a tower and resides on top of the rocks 60 m above the water.
4 castles are within the area of Şile. Şile Castle, Sarıkavak Castle, Kalealtı Castle and Kalem castle, all built during the Byzantine period. Especially the Şile Castle which resides on the Ocaklı Island is worth a sight with its well protected tower and water warehouse.
There are 30 natural caves in Şile’s district. Some of them are admissible for visiting. Sofular Cave is 100 meters long, 17 meters wide and is dry, horizontal cave dating from the Roman period. Meşrutiyet Cave, Yarığı and Şile Sea Caves are also touristic attractions.
Kumbaba Hill, located in central Şile, is a sandy hill that offers natural release and cure to Rheumatic disorders. With an attitude of 60, the red, orange iron/copper alloyed sand is also the home of the tomb of Kumbaba.
During the Byzantine, people would sail with the palace ships to sunbathe on this hill. An ancient chemist known as “Kumbaba” discovered the sand’s natural healing powers and since then, the sands have been used for this purpose.
The crying rock is a water resource about 600 meters behind the Şile Lighthouse. It has been named the crying stone as the rocks resemble a person’s tears and the sound of the water is said to be heard like sobs. The rocks are a wild and intoxicating sight.
The most famous villages in Şile are Ağva, Kabakoz, Kerpe and Kumcağız, which are spread out on the coast. The Saklı (Hidden) Lake and the Gelin (Bride Rock) are just around the Ağva village and are featured in many myths and tales.
Villages around the woods with many little rivers, a must-see location for those who like to discover nature and study photography.
The first of the many can be reached at the end of Değirmendere Valley, which is around Hacıllı Village. The rest of the lakes are waiting for you to discover them just towards the end of the valley.