Ayvalik 125 km (77 mile) far to Balikesir. Today, Ayvalık and the numerous islets encircling the bay area are popular holiday resorts. The most important and the biggest of these islets is Cunda Island (Alibey Island) that is connected to Lale Adasi, and thence to the mainland, by a bridge built in the late 1960s. This is the first and currently the oldest surviving bridge in Turkey that connects lands separated by a strait.

In September 1998, an international music academy was established in Ayvalık where students receive master-instructed classes for violin, viola and cello. It brings together students from all over the world and gives them a precious opportunity to work with distinguished masters of their branch.

USA-based Harvard University and Turkey’s Koç University have established a joint project in Cunda Island of Ayvalık and run a Harvard-Koç University Intensive Ottoman & Turkish Summer School every summer.

Ayvalık also has two of the longest sandy beaches of Turkey which extend as far as the Dikili district of İzmir nearly 30 km (19 mi) in the south. These are the Sarımsaklı and Altınova beaches.

In recent years Ayvalık has also become an important point of attraction for scuba divers with its underwater fauna.

Ayvalık and its environs are famous for the highly appreciated quality of olive oil production.

Today, the population of Ayvalık is close to 30,000, which significantly increases during the summer due to tourism. Ayvalık is also close to Bergama (ancient Pergamon) which is another important attraction for tourists with its ruins, dating back to antiquity.

With its rich architectural heritage, Ayvalık is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR)

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