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This entry is about the town in southwestern Turkey. For the neighbourhood of Istanbul please see Yeşilyurt.
Yeşilyurt is a small town in southwestern Turkey at a distance of 14 kilometers from the city of Muğla, center of the Muğla Province. Its former name was Pisi, and Pisye (or Psya) in antiquity, possibly associable to the common root for the word fish in many languages (pisces, psara). Its official name in Turkey was Pisiköy (Pisi village) till 1961. This name is still used among the locals and in the region. It is situated at a slight distance from the Muğla-İzmir highway shortly before entering Muğla, commanding a small plain with the same name. In 2005 the town had a population of 2500.
Yeşilyurt plain is situated in one of the pot-shaped small plains surrounded by mountains as formed by depressions in the Neogene (the other similar formations in the immediate neighborhood are the Muğla, Gülağzı, Yerkesik, Akkaya, Yenice, Çamköy and Ula plains). Among these, Yeşilyurt plain, as well as Çamköy and Ula plains, ceased to be fully hermetical in time, and with a smaller depression opening a passage in its north, Yeşilyurt plain acquired the characteristics of fluvio-karst formations, becoming the starting point of the Çineçay (Marsyas) that joins the Menderes river a hundred kilometers further north near Aydın. Since, according to Greek mythology, Marsyas river stems from the blood of the satyre of the same name, punished by Apollo by being flayed and nailed to a tree for having a lost the music contest between the two, the satyre's final place of rest should be around Yeşilyurt.
Is it to be added that, until the recent building of highways, contacts between the several plains of the inner Muğla region with either the coastal regions, or the with inland centers (through one of the three difficult passes; to the northwest to Milas, to the north to the Menderes plain through Gökbel valley following Çineçay, or to the northeast to Tavas) were quite arduous, and the region as a whole always tended to develop its peculiarities.
The town is renowned for its hand-made textile products, and some traces of the Pisye settlement of antiquity remain. The name Pisye itself could be most probably associated with a Luvian settlement named Pissuwa. The first mention of Pisye dates from 196 B.C., in which the Rhodian commander Niagoras has been recorded as having re-taken Pisye (together with the cities of Idyma ve Kyllandis) from king Philip V of Macedon.
The small acropolis of Pisye is at a distance of 1,5 kilometers from the town center, in its south. Some remnants of foundations and walls are still visible. Also, a distance of 2 kilometers from the town center, in its north, at the spot called Aslanlı, the statue of a lion (Aslanlı itself meaning, the place with the lion) as well as abundant pottery has been found. Further traces of stone craftmanship is evident here. In this regard, it is possible that Pisye was constituted of two separate settlements. A number of additional findings garnish the municipal park, and further ancient material can sometimes be detected in the structure of a few old houses and the old mosque
The Turkish settlement in the region as a whole during the Menteşe period is known to have taken place through migrations following the Kütahya-Tavas axis. Many families in the town can trace their roots to Bozkır district of Konya. Also, with the decline of the Ottoman Empire, many Turkish migrants from the Balkans or Crete have settled here. Yeşilyurt has a beautiful cemetery in the typical Turkish style, situated at the top of a hill, with a view of the plain below. The tomb of a sage named Pisili Hoca is among the graves, and it is purported that Süleyman the Magnificent had paid Pisili Hoca a visit to receive his prayers on the way to the conquest of Rhodes. Today, the tomb is a much visited shrine of local importance, with prayers and sacrifices accompanying the visits.
Yeşilyurt is famed for its hand-made textile products in silk or cotton. These traditional activities have been re-organized in the framework of a cooperative project in the 1990's by Lale Aytaman, Turkey's first female governor (for Muğla Province). As such, Yeşilyurt has become a regular furnisher of upmarket textile products to niche Turkish brands as Beymen and Vakko. The fabrics woven in Yeşilyurt have been used in the movies The Warrior, Harry Potter and Troy (film), through connections set up by the famed film costume coordinator Jeeda Barford and her Turkish husband.
The locals produce the silk, the wool and the cotton fabric themselves. Natural dyes are still extensively used. Two particularities of most of Yeşilyurt fabrics have to do with a raw material and a color. Wild cotton, providing a more yellowish taint, is widely employed. And also, a tone of reddish brown, or a brownish red, obtained naturally from erica vulgaris and called şaşkırmızı in the region, is like a trade-mark of locally woven textiles. It is interesting to note that the color in question has always been popular in the region, and is also reflected in many artefacts from the Carian era.
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