“Evil Eye Village”       Population: 350

Old names: Savanda, Kurudere

Not far from İzmir the small village of Nazarköy is where many of the nazar boncuks (evil-eye beads) made in Turkey start their lives. These days the village lives for little else and the bus from Kemalpaşa will drop you off right amid the cluster of stalls that sell the end product. Here, too, is the Nazar Cafe with, right next door, an atelier where you can watch half a dozen men sitting a round a kiln fired to 1,200 degrees and using pokers of different thicknesses to manipulate the glass melting inside the flames. Sadly, most of what is on sale at the stalls is pretty tacky although possibly in high season and at weekends you may find more shops open that sell more enticing items.

Nazarköy sits in very pretty countryside with mountains soaring up around it. In spring the surrounding valley is full of cherry blossom. Down in the Kanyon Dere (Canyon Valley) you can eat trout beside a rushing stream, then walk along a path that passes some very contented free-range chickens and many, many beehives.

Transport info

Frequent minibuses to Kemalpaşa leave from Bornova (under one of the overpasses beyond the Metro station – ask to be pointed the right way). There you can pick up hourly dolmuşes on the hour to Nazarköy from in front of the school on the high street.

If there’s a long wait for a bus consider taking a taxi there and a bus back. There are no taxis in Nazarköy itself.

If you do take a taxi or drive to Nazarköy from Kemalpaşa you might want to take a look at the Hittite carving called the Sesostris that sits on the lefthand side of the main highway just after the turnoff to Nazarköy on the right.


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