Sakarya’s surface are: 4.824 km²
Sakarya’s population: 1.010.700
Sakarya’s districts: Adapazarı, Akyazı, Arifiye, Erenler, Ferizli, Geyve, Karapürçek, Hendek, Karasu, Kaynarca, Kocaali, Pamukova, Sapanca, Serdivan, Söğütlü, Taraklı
With over 1 million of citizens, Sakarya is a great city with its natural beauties and history located in Marmara Region of Turkey. The history of Sakarya goes back until centuries ago. Having a lot of different different historical artifacts and culture, Sakarya is considered as a cultural tourism point. Additionally, Sakarya is also very popular with its natural beauties. Especially Sapanca district is very famous in the recent years and visited by many local and foreign tourists every year.
Etymology of the name Sakarya
The city of Sakarya takes its name from Sakarya River, which crosses the city in north-south direction and pours into the Black Sea. Even though where did Sakarya River get its name is not certainly known, the story of the name Sakarya goes back until Phrgyians.
Phrgyians, who took the lands of Sakarya River until BC 7th century, named the river as Sangari, which is their god of river.
Another interesting legend about the river is that a sacred man called Sakar Dede tries to pass a bridge over Sakarya River, but guards doesn’t let him pass since he doesn’t have money. Then Sakar Dede prays and he draws a line with his walking stick. Then the direction of river changes and bridge becomes useless. After that incident the name of the river becomes Sakar Dede’s name.
The history of Sakarya
Sakarya’s history begins with Hittites who founded the Anatolia unity for the first time. Later in time, after many reigns of different civilizations like Phrgyians, Lydians and Persians, Byzantines ruled the Sakarya district.
First archeological discoveries show that there was district of Romans called Bitinia, and its capital was called Nikomedia, today’s İzmit.
Malazgirt Meydan Muharebesi’nden sonra Kutalmışoğlu Süleyman Şah Sakarya dahil tüm Anadolu’yu kontrol altına aldı. İznik’in başkent olduğu Türkiye Selçuklu Devleti kuruldu. Birinci Haçlı Seferinde İznik’i terk ederek başkenti Konya’ya taşıdı. Sakarya ahalisi yeniden Bizans’ın kontrolüne girdi. Byzantines left many different historical artifacts including famous Justinianus Bridge that was made in AC 562 by the order of Byzantine Emperor I. Justinianus.
In the 13th century, an Ottoman commander Konur Alp conquered the Adapazarı region. Since these conquers were made under Orhan Ghazi’s reign, many mosques were built in the name of Orhan Ghazi Mosque in the region. First thing first, Azerbaijani and Middle Asian Turkish tribes settled in founded villages in Adapazarı.
Since Adapazarı region was near the capital, Adapazarı became an important place for raw material needs, most importantly wood. The famous Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi calls Adapazarı as the sea of woods. In 1862, French count A. De. Moustier visited the region and commented about Adapazarı by saying: “Adapazarı is a river-side city with 10.000 population. There are plenty of walnuts but soon there won’t be any since they don’t plant any trees for the ones thet cut.”
Adapazarı district contributed the Turkish Independence War with some heroes such as Ali Fuat Cebesoy, Hasan Cavit Bey, Sırrı Bey, Çerkez Sait Bey and Koçzade Mahmut Bey.
First platoon in the city was founded by these commanders and soldiers and at the same time, an organization of Kuva-yı Milliye was founded as well. Later they announced their loyalty to Mustafa Kemal Pasha.
In 25 March 1921, Greeks invaded Adapazarı. In 3 months, an army corps was founded and they defeated Greeks in 21 June 1921. Since then, 21 June is celebrated as the Independence Day in Sakarya.
During the republic age, Adapazarı became a city named Sakarya in 1954.
Places to visit in Sakarya
Sapanca Lake is located in Marmara Region’s east and Samanlı Mountains’ piedmonts, in the east side of a pit which connects İzmit Port and Adapazarı plain. A big part of the lake is in the borders of Sakarya. Being a part of the Marmara Sea once, it is now a fresh water lake on its own.
In the very first sources founded which describes Sapanca Lake, it is tolds as Ayan Lake. It is feeded from Samanlı Mountains and it pours its extra water to Sakarya River over Çark Stream.
In the latest researchs, it is found out that Sapanca Lake hosts 80 different bird species and ten thousands of birds visit the lake every year. Some of the rare species that you can observe at Sapanca Lake are coot and Hungarian duck.
Sapanca Lake is a place where international and national surfing, sailing and rowing are organized regularly. Also you can make a tour with canoe in the lake.
Acarlar Floodplain Forest
The floodplain forest is located in Karasu and Kaynarca districts of Sakarya. It is the biggest floodplain forest in Turkey, being in 7.5 kilometers in length. It is a typical coastal lake in the original form. It is an unexpectedly nice place to visit and camp.
The forest is ultra rare in Turkey. It is chosen as 1st degree protection area since it has a unique ecosystem in itself. It has endemic plant and animal species. It is very rich in terms of animal and plant variaties because the forest and lake are interwined. Acarlar Floodplain Forest is a house for immigrant birds as well. Diver, cormorant, wild duck and erne are among these immigrant birds. Also, animals which form the wildlife in the forest are rabbit, fox, wild boar, poppy, falcon and squirrel. It is very fertile in terms of flora and fauna, since it houses all the features of forest and wetland ecosystems.
Since it is very rare and important for Turkey, only a small part of Acarlar Floodplain Forest is open for visitors.
It is the second longest beach in Turkey, located in the Karasu district. Since it is near to İstanbul, it becomes very popular during summer times. There is also chance to try activities such as jet ski.
It is one of the most important natural places to visit in the borders of Sakarya. There is a forest lake and a small forest in the plateau. Thanks to its natural beauty, local people settled in time and it is now a small village. Enişte Stream, which crosses the plateau in the middle, provides water source for the plateau.
Mine Stream is a natural wonder located in Karasu district of Sakarya. Being about 30 kilometers in length, is becoming very popular day by day especially by foreign visitors. Because of untouched nature, you can stay with nature on your own and make picnic, trekking and take great nature photos.
Even though it is now a protected area, it was being used by French company to extract minerals such as lead, zinc, golden and borax. Then the company left the area because of the war in 1914. While leaving, they blasted all the tunnels but you can observe some of the tunnels and railways still today.
There is also a waterfall in the area. You need to follow and pass the stream by walking in it to reach the waterfall.
It is located in Adapazarı district of historical Bitinia region. According to the Roman historian Prokopis, it was built instead of bridge made of boats attached to each other. To make transportation easier on the river, Emperor Jusitinianus ordered a stone bridge to be made. This order had also some strategic importance, since the Justinianus Bridge was on the route of a king road, reaching up to Sassanid Empire which Byzantines made war for years. The workers started to build the bridge in 592 and finished in 562. Even though Sakarya River streams in 3 kilometers of the bridge, it was once an important point for transportation of Byzantines.
Some experts suggest the idea that it was a part of unfinished canal project during Emperor Justinianus time. According to this, the idea was to connect Marmara Sea to Black Sea without using Bosphorus by passing the canals over Anatolia Region. The most significant prove was found in the Bitinia governor Plinius’s notes. He suggests to build a connection from Sapanca Lake to Propontis. Since Plinius died in a young age, it is thought the idea was never taken into consideration.
Economy of Sakarya
Sakarya’s economy is based on agriculture and industry. 65% of population is working on agriculture, 15% is on industry and 20% is on other areas. It is a fast developing city of Turkey. Main agricultural products are wheat, barley, corn, beans, sugar beet, sunflower, potato, onion and tobacco. There is also a special pumpkin called Arıcan growed in Sakarya. It is very famous in Turkey as well.
During Ottoman Empire ages, Adapazarı was known as “sea of forests”. Since centuries, wood of Sakarya’s forests was used for ship production and other industrial needs. Today, still Sakarya has many big and fresh forests and 45% of the lands are covered with forests.
There are many developments happened in Sakarya in terms of industry in the recent years. Especially in automotive industry, Sakarya proven itself as a reliable place. Starting with Toyota Motor Manifacturing Turkey, there is Otoyol, Otokar and Tırsan plants which produce different types of vehicles and export them both national and international.
There are also many different investments made by the state in Sakarya. TÜVASAŞ, Tank-Palet Military Vehicles Plant are also based in Sakarya. TÜVASAŞ produces trains and wagons for TCDD, Marmaray, Iraq Railways and Bulgaria Railways.