The Genoese lords of Metelino (Mytilini) had a foothold on the Asian continent where they controlled the islet of Cunda which is located very near the mainland.
View of Cunda
At ten o'clock we had crossed the passage to the island of Musconisi with a strong but fair breeze, and were at this time in the narrow passage formed by a monastery on the left, a square embattled low building and the town of Musconisi on the right. The latter, of which the ancient name was Poroselene, is beautifully built along the base and ascent of a hill, having some hundreds of houses, most of which, like Aivali, were a mass of ruins, and surmounted by a lofty tower-like building.
Francis Vyvyan Jago Arundell - Journal - From Smyrna to Pergamus and Aivali by land; and thence hy sea to Mitylene and Smyrna - 1830
Cunda had an almost entirely Greek population until 1923 when its inhabitants had to leave and were replaced with Turks who in turn had left their homes in Crete. The appearance of the town is without doubt very Greek.
A short stroll through the streets of Cunda shows that its many churches are in ruins after many years of abandonment.
At the top of the town there are some round towers which at least in more recent times were used as windmills: it is possible that they had a military purpose in an earlier period.
View towards the mainland
The islet of Cunda protects a very calm bay: on the mainland there is a relatively large town (Aivali/Ayvalik) which greatly developed in the second half of the XIXth century. Today a bridge allows cars to reach Cunda. You may wish to visit Arwad, another interesting islet off the Syrian coast.
Old equipment for squeezing olives and a modern advertisement
Cunda is still known for its olive groves and olive oil, although its main resource nowadays comes from tourism and from its many summer residents.
An old Greek villa in Cunda and a church turned into a mosque in Ayvalik (the statue portraying a whirling dervish is a modern addition meant to give a Turkish flavour to Cunda; see a similar one at Kutahya)
At Ayvalik they sell a T-shirt showing in the background a minaret and a bell tower and in the foreground the sentence: Ayvalik, crossroad of civilizations. It is a welcome sign that while in some other parts of the world enmity and hate seem to prevail, here (and also in Mytilini), the view of so many abandoned buildings where ordinary people lived ordinary lives has eventually brought a change in the minds and hearts of the new generations.
The image used as a background for this page shows a detail of an Ottoman building.