Sea" gets its romantic
name from ancient marble quarries
on Marble Island (Marmara Adası).
Marmara is one of Turkey's many maritime
catamaran ferryboats zoom
cars and passengers across it connecting Istanbul's Yenikapı
Feribot Terminalı and Kabataş docks with
the cities of Yalova (for İznik and Bursa), Bursa's docks at Güzelyalı and Mudanya,
and Bandırma (for Çanakkale,
Balıkesir and İzmir) (map).
Here's where to go and what to see in
railhead and ferry dock
town midway along the south
shore, it's important to the people
who live there, but you'll probably
just be passing through on the car/passenger
capital of the Ottoman
Empire, Bursa is a historic
city perched on the slopes of Uludağ (2543
meters, 8343 feet). Bursa is noted
for its beautiful early
Ottoman mosques, roast
lamb kebap, silk weaving,
delicious fruits, camel-skin shadow
puppets, and automobile factories.
Adjoining Bursa to the west is Çekirge,
noted for its hot
mineral-water baths since Roman times. More...
for the cannons in its fortress,
which once kept enemy warships from
passing through the Dardanelles, Çanakkale
is now famous for the car
ferries that cross from
the Gallipoli peninsula, making it
a prime travel nexus. It's also the
best base for visits to the Gallipoli
battlefields and to the ruins
of ancient Troy. More...
historic city seldom visited by tourists
even though it's an easy day-trip
west of Istanbul,
Edirne has a good bazaar and
many historic mosques, including
the Selimiye, the masterwork
of the Ottomans'
finest architect, Mimar Sinan. More...
of strategic importance, the Gallipoli
peninsula is famous for the terrible World
War I battles between Allied
and Ottoman troops.
Today the battlefields are a national
park, and a poignant memorial
to the half-million casualties and
fatalities of the campaign. More...
Every Christian knows Nicaea (İznik)
because of the Nicene Creed and
the two important ecumenical
councils held here in the years 325
and 787, but you should come
to see its impressive Roman walls, historic mosques, good
little museum, beautiful Byzantine tomb, and
pretty lakeside setting. More...
Now a ferry port for Bursa, this historic port town is where, on October 11, 1922, an armistice was signed between Turkey and France, Italy and Great Britain, Turkey's adversaries in World War I and the Turkish War of Independence. More...
eastern part of the Thracian peninsula
is the European portion of
Turkey, holding historic Edirne (Adrianople),
the Gallipoli peninsula
and Dardanelles (Hellespont)
strait, and lots of sunflower fields. More...
town on the southeastern shore serves
as the port for ferries to and from Istanbul,
serving Bursa and İznik (Nicaea).
A few kilometers south of Yalova
are the hot mineral water baths of Termal,
famous since Roman times. More...
The Sea of Marmara is bordered
to the north by the peninsula of Thrace,
to the south by the peninsula of Anatolia (Asia
Minor), and to the west by the peninsula
The sea was once rich in fish (and
still yields some), and the lands surrounding
it are rich agricultural areas which
produce sunflowers, wine and
table grapes, grains,
and fruits in abundance.
The Marmara has always had strategic
importance because it is the major
waterway linking the Black
Sea and the Aegean and Mediterranean via
the Bosphorus and
Odysseus (Ulysses) and his mates, Jason
and the Argonauts, British World War
I submarines and countless other adventurers
have sailed across the Marmara on their
—by Tom Brosnahan