Orhanlı Village

Orhanlı is the the largest and most populated village in Seferihisar county. At 18km from the town center, its most recent population count is 1150 people sparsely settled in its wide territory. Orhanlı lies along the valley Karakoç Creek carves out among olive groves and redwood forests. Although dry throughout the summer, the creek is life flowing through the village of Orhanlı.

The initial settlement of the village is named Old Orhanlı. Its former names are Manasır and Kocaköy. Back when the villagers lived there, livelihoods were mainly earned on olives and livestock. Kocaköy was founded on a high, rocky slope that greets the first beams of sunlight in the morning. It owes not having water pooling under goat pens and manure washing with water without getting muddy to this sloped and rocky position. The first beams of sunlight were handy in drying the goat pens that got wet through the night early.

Later villagers started to cultivate land in the flat territory below and the trip back and forth to the village up on the hill got harder. People who started staying at the plains when tobacco and grains were the main crops gradually settled at the lower parts of the valley. In the early 1980’s a decision by the village folk founded the settlement now named New Orhanlı and villagers moved there afterwards.

Today Seferihisar Nature School inhabits the former primary school building of Old Orhanlı that went out of use. Most villagers of Orhanlı still live in New Orhanlı. The village also has four other neighborhoods named Orta Mahalle, Karakise, Temese and Temesealtı.

Today the main source of income in Orhanlı is agriculture, livestock has declined in time. Specifically olive, vegetables and vineyards are major products. The village has three olive oil production facilities, all still active, one being lithographic. Organic farming is also prevalent. Vegetables and fruits are served directly to the consumers in producer markets around İzmir, especially Seferihisar market. Grapes are provided for private companies producing wine.

Goat herding has declined, yet still persists at some degree. The goats are not held and fed at yards but are herded freely. Grazing is kept within redwood forests and shrubs throughout olive harvesting season and in olive groves through the hot summer. The youth in the village are either farmers or employed in the nearby towns. Many of the young among villagers hold associate or bachelors degrees. Orhanlı Village Society is a meeting point for volunteers in several fields, especially folk dances.

Orhanlı has one of the least emigration rates among villages in Anatolia. It has largely maintained and kept alive its own nature culture and traditional knowledge to the day. It is still a place where you can join a group of elderly and young villagers exchanging ideas around a table. The bread bakeries in the neighborhood are open to communal use by neighbors. Wedding meals are prepared collectively. Villagers of all ages join the folk dances performed at these weddings. Generations are still strongly connected in Orhanlı. Here, life is still based on the good will and tradition despite the difficulties of our times. As it is in nature, simple hearted and unflashy.

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