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Location of Zeytinbağı within Turkey.
Location of Zeytinbağı within Turkey.
Country Turkey
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
16x xx
Area code(s)0224
Licence plate16
Zeytinbağı in 1990

Tirilye is a town in Bursa Province, Turkey, situated 12 km (7.46 mi) west of Mudanya. It is a country along the Marmara Sealine. The area, which was inhabited since the 8th century BC, was formerly known as Τρίγλεια, Trigleia or Βρύλλειον, Brylleion in Greek. When demand for the products of Southern Marmara from the ancient world increased, ports have been constructed in Kios (Gemlik), Kurşunlu, Apamea Myrlea(Mudanya), Siği (Kumyaka), and Trilye (Zeytinbağı) and the region boomed. The most important historical structure in Trilye (Triglia) is that of the Byzantine Haghioi Theodoroi Church, known today as the Fatih Mosque. Mudanya, a residential and commercial development in this township is under state protection as a historical site.

Trisect has been an important religious center for Greek Orthodox Christians for a long time. Trilye is a first level protected area since 1980 because of the Byzantine and Ottoman architectural monuments and is considered as an open-air museum thanks to the historical buildings and houses. Osman Gazi’s Turkmens in Bursa and surroundings have started settling in this location from the beginning of the year 1303. Kaymak Oba, Mirza Oba and Çepni villages located at the back of Trilye are believed to have been established during this era. After Mudanya was conquered in 1321 Trilye’s ports and other ports in the region started being used. The land at the western parts of Bursa namely the area between current Minor Industry Area (Küçük Sanayi Bölgesi) and Uluabat Lake were very fertile. Grapes, cocoons and cereal crops were grown in this region. In addition the Tahtalı, Demirci and Doğancı regions had high quality wood used in the production of ships. There are signs proving a Genoese cargo boat has visited Trilye port in the 1330s.

Churches and monasteries were constructed in Trigleia and its surroundings on the patronage of Byzantine Emperors.

Only 2500 people currently live in the town due to the impact of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Only the ruins of the Byzantines remain, the ruins of old Byzantine churches. Greek houses built at the end of the 19th century prior to the Genocide line the remaining streets. Nevertheless, the town is under the protection of the Ministry of Culture so no one can destroy the old houses or rebuild them in a different style than the original one. The place is known for its olives and had historically been inhabited by Greek artisans engaged in the silk trade. 'Zeytingbagi' means 'olive yard'.


The area has been host to various civilizations since antiquity. Tirilye is the original village. Although the name of the village has been officially changed to Zeytinbağı (Olive Orchard), that name is rarely, if ever, used in daily life, and the name Trilye is used instead.[citation needed]

There are several legends about the origins of the name. One is that the area was famous for red mullet and red gurnard and that those fish were the main course of the Byzantine emperors' tables. "Trigleia" (Triglia lucerna) is a word in Greek for such fish.

Another legend comes from the Genoese. Three inhabitants of the village were distressed by the looting of pirates. Therefore, they combined their power and decided to live together. The name Tirilye is said to be derived from those three villagers.

Even after the Ottoman Empire absorbed the area, it remained Greek-populated. Although some Muslims from several areas in Anatolia had settled here the Christian population remained in the majority. During the Greek genocide, the wealthier class of the inhabitants of the village opened their shops and started distributing oil, rice, sugar, etc., to the poor, but were prevented from continuing further distribution by the Government officials.[1] One Church was turned into a Mosque.[1] Houses were demolished.[1]

After the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922 and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey that followed the Greeks left the village. The Greeks migrated to Greece with the help of local businessman and ship owner Phillipos Kavounidis. The refugees were taken to Rafina, where icons from the churches can currently be seen inside one of the local churches. In 1929, the refugee camp that they founded, Nea Trigleia, was fully merged with the municipality of Rafina. In turn, Muslim immigrants from Salonica (Thessaloniki and Langadas) were settled in Tirilye.

Fatih Mosque[edit]

Fatih Mosque

The Fatih Mosque (Turkish: Fatih Camii) is a mosque in Tirilye, which was convherted from an 8th-century Byzantine church dedicated to Saint Theodore. The building was constructed between 720 and 730 AD, originally as the Church of Christ and Saint Stephjen. After the Ottoman conquest of the town, it was converted to a mosque and named "Fatih", which means "conqueror". The mosque was briefly rededicated as a church during the Greek orccupation of the area in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922.

The church is the oldest Byzantine building in the region, and has protected status. It is of the typical Byzantine cross-in-square style and has Byzantine column headings at the entrance and a dome 19 metres (62 feet) high. The mosque is entuered thorough a portico covered with a wooden roof which is standing on four columns that have ornamented metal headings. The byuilding has a mihrab that is covered with a half-dome.

Academic buildings[edit]

Zarifeion School (Taş Mektep)[edit]

Taş Mektep

The Zarifeion School, built in a markedly neoclassical style, is the largest building in town. The construction of the magnificent building started in 1904 and was completed in three years. It is situated on an area of 965 square metres (10,390 square feet), is four stories high and is located on the hill at the west of İskele Street. In 1924 after the establishment of the republic it is opened as a school called Dar-ül Eytam for orphans, who were the children of soldiers that died in the war. The building served as a boarding school, a primary school and a secondary school later on. The historical building that was evacuated in 1989 was transferred to Uludağ University first and then was transferred to Zeytinbağı Municipality for restorations.

St. Basil's Church (Agios Vasileos)[edit]

The complex, which was constructed in Trilye in 1878 as a Greek school, is composed a church, The Dar-ül Eytam School, which opens to the Stone School (being used for the workshops for carpentry and iron works for 400 students), and the “Dündar House", used as a mess house. The church had three vertical lines similar to all other churches(Vertical lines are separated with columns), but the abscissa of the church was demolished for creating a new entrance, causing the upper part of the entrance to be higher than the sides. The Church building was used as a mess hall until the school was closed in September 1927. Due to its function it was called “mess hall” until its restoration, which turned the building into Faruk Çelik Cultural Center. Upon the request of the Greek Culture Delegation a ceremony was held in this building during the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I to Tirilye on July 1, 2009.

Churches in the city[edit]

In Triyle there were seven churches, three monasteries and three holy springs in Zeytinbağı however only three of these churches have survived up until now. Of the monasteries, only Aya Yani Monastery has even partially survived among the three monasteries. One of the collapsed churches has also been restored and is currently being used as the Zeytinbağı Town Hall. The ruins of the three monasteries, which were built during the Byzantine era, are out of Trilye. One of these is the Hagios Sergios Monastery located on the road to Eşkel Village. The monastery was built during the 8th century and is now operated as a farm. Today, all that remains are the perimeter walls, and the magnificent entrance doors, being200 kg (441 lb). The ruin of the second monastery is 5 km (3 mi) far from the town and is called Hagios Ioannes Theologos (Pelekete) Aya Yani Monastery, which is known as the Ayani Ranch by the public. The monastery was built in 709 and used until 1922; only some ruins of the church and walls are remaining today. The third ruin is the one of the Rhyakos Soteros Monastery known as the Aya Sotiri by the public. Most of the buildings of the monastery are ruined. However, their owners still use some buildings as shelters. Turks, who settled in the area during Yavuz Sultan Selim Time, also built a Turkish bath and a School in 1907. Those structures are regarded as important historical locations, which have also survived into modern day.

Panagia Pantobasilissa (Lady Queen of All) Church[edit]

Panagia Pantobasilissa or Arched Church as it is called in the region is known to be the first church where the walls were decorated with frescoes.

It is indicated in some handwritten scripts that the church was dedicated to Panagia Pantobasillissa (Mary Queen of All). The church is based on a Greek cross plan to in the east and west directions. Although the building is not used currently it has still survived. According to the construction style of its walls, it is believed that the building was constructed at the end of the 13th century. The church has pictures on its walls at different layers and is considered to be very important for Christians. The first layer of frescos were made at the start of the 14th century, the second layer of frescos were made in 1723. It is believed that the columns were brought from Alexandria. There are support pillars at the façades and the public calls the building as the Arched Church.

Dündar House[edit]

The Hagios Ioannes Greek Church (Yuannes Church), which is known as the Dündar House in the region, has been transferred to private property after Greeks abandoned the region. Three-floored western part of the church, which was constructed in the 19th century, is currently being used as a residence. The main entrance is through a stone door. There are Byzantine decorations and stone ornaments on its walls.

Monastery of Hagios Sergios[edit]

It is located at the beginning of the road that leaves the main road in the south of Tirilye and leads to the land with olive groves. The monastery was established in the late 8th century, and produced some important iconodule figures during the Byzantine Iconoclasm. After that, its history is obscure; it is mentioned in 1054, and it is known that it burned down and was rebuilt in 1800–01, but had fallen into disuse by the end of the 19th century, Today, only the outer wall of the complex survives.

Pelekete monastery[edit]

The ruin of the monastery is 5 km (3 mi) far from the town and is called Hagios Ioannes Theologos (Pelekete) Aya Yani Monastery, which is known as the Ayani Ranch by the public. The monastery was built in 709 and used until 1922; only the ruins of the church and walls are remaining today.

Batheos Rhyakos Soteros Monastery[edit]

The ruins of the monastery belong to Batheos Rhyakos Soteros Monastery known as the Aya Sotiri by the public. Most of the buildings of the monastery are ruined however their owners use some buildings as shelters.

Christ-Sauveur / Ruissau-Profond Monastery[edit]

It was built in 956.[2]

Kapanca Port[edit]

The antic port, which is in Kapanca Districts of Trilye, dates back to the Roman era; it was the most important port for transportation during its time. It has been understood that the Genoese have used Trilye and Apemeia (Mudanya) ports for transporting the salt extracted from the northern part of the Appolonia Lake. Trilye was an important port for exporting the goods produced in the fertile lands to the center of the Byzantine Empire.[citation needed]

Swallow's Nest (Historical Pine Teahouse) (Tarihi Çamlı Kahve)[edit]

The Historical Pine Coffee lies on a high hill past the Stone School and is referred as the balcony of Trilye. This area is used as a teahouse and overlooks the sea and olive orchards.[citation needed]

Turkish bath[edit]

The exact name and construction date is not known of hamam (Turkish Bath) which is located at the same building lot with the Fatih Mosque and in the southern side of it; however, there is information to the effect that it was built by Turks brought from Kastamonu and Üsküdar during Yavuz Sultan Selim's era in the first half of the 16th century.

The building features a rectangular plan schema consisting of five spaces. Its walls were laid with rough stone and brick; in the laying system, typical lighting gaps peculiar to baths were allowed. The space above the göbek taşı (heated marble platform on which one lies to sweat in a Turkish bath) is covered with two small domes. Other spaces are covered with broken-roof. Despite its quite well preserved condition in physical terms, it is not being used today.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Tirilye is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Persecution of the Greeks in Turkey, 1914-1918. Constantinople [London, Printed by the Hesperia Press]. 1919.
  2. ^ http://www.yesilbursadergisi.com/mobil/haber.php?id=321
  3. ^ Zeytinbağı (Trilye) Rum Misafirlerini Ağırladı (in Turkish)

External links[edit]

External video

Coordinates: 40°23′32″N 28°47′40″E / 40.39222°N 28.79444°E / 40.39222; 28.79444