Europeans are invading Turkey. According to the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), there are now more than 120,000 foreigners, mostly Europeans, living in this ancient country of contrasts and mystery. Most are settling around the seven thousand kilometers’ long coastline, or in Istanbul, but there are those who prefer a quieter, more authentic feel of the real countryside, and who prefer to own a property in Turkey where there are no other foreigners in site.
So many people spend their whole lives working, in order to have the kind of life they always desired when they retire. Different strokes for different folks, buy a house in turkey and get citizenship as they say, so people have different ideas how this desired life should look like. After a lifetime in big cities, surprising number of people are opting for a peace and quiet. It is the lack of stress that so many of us are dreaming about. The kind of life in which our biggest worry is what kind of salad to buy for lunch. One of such places is a little mountain village called Uzumlu, a home for those foreigners who decided that their property in Turkey should be, well, Turkish.
Uzumlu looks like the time has forgotten it. The old houses lining up the main road look the same way they looked hundreds of years ago when they were built, with the overhanging upper floor and old people sitting on its threshold, watching the world pass by. Colorful produce market brings smells and colors of cornucopia to the eager cameras of passing tourists. The hills around the plateau on which the village is located are covered with grape vines, which gave the town its name, and with olive trees, figs and tobacco. Villagers make their own vine and olive oil, and their women weave their famous Dastar cloth. It is common to see donkeys and large turtles passing each other on the road.
The narrow, steep path leading up the hill will take a visitor to the ruins of the 3000 years old Lycian city Cadianda or Kadawanti. The ruins contain the remains of a stadium, theatre and numerous baths, from Byzantine and Roman times.
The town is just a short distance from the tourist buzz of Fethye, but it is the world apart. Foreigners that bought property in Uzumlu live very simple lives and spend more time with their Turkish neighbors than with each other. Many are trying their hands in wine making, or tending garden. They do not live in a 200 years old houses like their neighbors, but in beautiful villas designed with every comfort in mind. But, the villas are tucked between the pine trees or ancient gnarled olives, and look like they have been there for ever.