"Not so sleepy Foca" Foca by Tdiver

Foca Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 93 photos

The history of Foca.

Situated 70 km N.W. of Izmir,Phocaea as it was then known as,was the most northerly of the Ionian cities.Settle by Aeolian immigrants from the Hermaean gulf.According to ancient scholars the "Phocaeans" were directed there from Athens and settled on land given them by the people of Kyme.Pottery has been found dating back to the 9th century B.C.
Its position between 2 harbours,Naustathmus and Lampter led them to take up maritime pursuits and accordind to Herodotus the Phocaeans were the first of all the Greeks to take up long voyages.Ranging as far as Spain.The then king Arganthonius of Tartessus invited them enmasse to join his state,this they refused but with the money he gave them ,they built a wall around the city.Greatly helping their defence when Cyrus attacked the Ionian state in 546 B.C.
Using there famous 50 oared vessels they traded with Naukratis in Egypt and in association with Miletos founded Lampsakos at the N. entrance to the Dardanelles and Amisos (Samsun ) on the Black sea.But its major colonies were Elea ( Velia ) on the west coast of S.Italy.Aetalia on Corsica,Emporion ( Ampurias ) Spain and Massalia ( Marseilles ) France.
From the 7th century B.C. it was also famous for its Electrum coinage and purple dye.Gold and silver coins were weighed in scales and the general rule was that gold was 13 and a third times more valuable than silver but because of the impure nature of this ( white ) gold or electrum it was valued at 10 times.
In 546 B.C. Cyrus and the Persians captured Sardis and soon devastated most of the cities of W .Asia Minor,including Phocaea.After a siege by Harpalus they decided to seek safety in their colonies,mainly Aetalia and Massilia,although some got only as far as Kos and were to return later and under Persian rule prosper again.
Xerxes I massed a large fleet here in preparation for the 3rd expedition against Greece.
In 500 B.C. Phocaea joined the Ionian revolt against Persain rule but could only send 3 ships to the battle at Lade.Due to their naval skills the overall command was given to Dionysios of Phocaea.

During the 5th century B.C. it was a member of the Delian League and paid a tribute of 2 Talents but in 412 it rebelled and left the League.It then allied itself to the Athenians and was blockaded by the Spartan general Thrasybulos in 407 B.C.
Telephanes of Phocaea was a sculptor for Darius and Xerxes also at this time.
They gained their independence with the arrival of Alexander the Great in 334 B.C.
During the Hellenistic period it was first ruled by the Seleucids and then the Attalids.In 197 B.C. Antiochus defeats Rhodes,Samos,Colophon and Phocaea in a naval battle.It then seems to have prospered again because in October 190 B.C. when the Roman Praetor Aemilius Regillus looted the city they gained a lot of treasure.In 132 B.C. although it participated in Aristonikos' uprising against the Romans it was spared with the help of Marsilia.
During the Roman period it gained its independence from Pompey and suffered a large earthquake in 17 B.C.
One of the oldest temples in the Ionian world was the temple of Athena at Phocaea.It stood on a rock platform overlooking the city on the site of the now secondary school.Constructed of fine white porous stone and erected in the latter half of the 6th century B.C.Various artifacts are in the museum in Izmir.Iit was struct by lightning and set on fire in 408 B.C. The statue of Athena was made of wood and in a sitting position.In addition to Athena,Cybele was also venerated at the same spot and an open air theatre was built to honour her and was only discovered in 1993.
There have been 3 archaeological excavations in Foca since 1913.
1913-1920 under Frenchman, Felis Sartiaux.
1952-1955 under Turk, Ekrem Akurgal and intermittently until 1974,this was when the temple of Athena was found.
1989-continuing under Turk, Omer Ozyigit.
During 1989 the discovery of a 15km city wall suggests that Phocaea was one of the largest cities in the world at the start of the 6th century B.C.In 1991 the exact location of the theatre was determined,that it is the oldest known theatre in Anatolia and that by Roman times it had fallen out of use.
On the small islands nearby facing the old city excavations are ongoing and several sancturies have been found especially on Incir and Orak,also known as the sirens' rocks by the noise of the wind blowing over them.
Todays town gets it name from the Turk word for seal,Fok,as they are often seen around the area.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice little town for a days visit.
  • Cons:Getting there through the traffic in Izmir.
  • In a nutshell:Enjoyed it but not the cold wind.
  • Last visit to Foca: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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