The little town of Bademli about one hundred kilometers southeast of Izmir in western Turkey lies in a green valley in the northern foothills of the Aydin Mountains. The history of the region can be traced back to the Lydians, who were succeeded by the Persians and Hellenic Greeks. In the second century BC, it became part of the Roman Empire. In the middle ages, It frequently changed hands between the Byzantines and the Turkish principalities, finally coming under the rule of the Aydinogullari Principality in 1308. The earliest mention of the name of the town in historical documents dates from 1327 when the Aydinogullari ruler Ibrahim Bahadir was referred to as the Lord of Bodamya, a name thought to originate from the Greek Potamia, meaning land of the river, mentioned on a clay tablet found in a field here. In the 17th century, the Turkish writer and traveler Evliya Celebi used the form Bademye, which in 1965 was formally changed to Bademli. The attractions of the town itself are many charming old houses and the Mosque of Kilci Mehmet Aga, distinguished by beautiful painted decoration inside and out. Situated in the neighborhood of Asiklaroba, the mosque took its present form when it was repaired and enlarged in 1810 by voivode of Odemis Kilcizade Seyyit Mehmed Aga (born 1747), after whom it was then named.
This unusual mosque attracts your attention immediately with its colorful decoration on the facade. The inscription above the door is surrounded by vine and grape motifs, highly appropriate for a region that was once an important vine-growing area, although grapes are now superseded by cotton as the main crop. The baroque style of the decoration is typical of the 18th and 19th centuries when western influences can be seen in the decoration of many Turkish mosques. The wooden ceiling of the portico is colorfully painted and the colonnade has arches of stucco over wood.
But most eye-catching of all is the miniature style paintings on either side of the entrance, the one on the right depicting the Kaaba in Mecca and that on the left the tomb of Muhammed (Ravza-i Mutahhara) in Medina. The interior of this small mosque is even more surprising. Almost every part of the walls are painted with tall green trees, red birds and colorful flowers, scenes evidently meant to represent paradise. The mosque is not domed but has a flat ceiling with wooden beams. Other historic structures in the town are a single arch stone bridge over the Selli River and a ruined castle at Aktas.
Wandering through the picturesque streets of the town, you see many 18th and 19th century houses, mostly timber-framed, with wooden lattices, gables, and ceilings. They are built so that none overshadows their neighbor and in perfect harmony with their green surroundings.
Although the nearby town of Birgi attracts many visitors who come here to see the old houses and lovely countryside, Bademli is known to only a few, perhaps because it is hidden away in its green valley. But this unspoiled little town is well worth a visit when you are in the area, particularly for those interested in vernacular architecture, to see the traditional houses and the delightful Kilci Mehmet Aga Mosque.
The road between Dikili and Bademli is a pleasant drive while there are no luxury hotels like at the other destination of Turkey at its Maldives-like beach except for the Oliviera Resort at Kalem Adasi.