On the southeast side of Dardanelles, right across of the small islands called Prigiponisa, are found coastal villages, known for their natural beauty and the achievements of their residents. Among them are the villages of Kouri, Saint Kiriaki, Tsinari and Katirli. Part of the Nikomidia region since 1912, these four villages along with other four, non-coastal, villages were composing the Gialova Kaza. Katirli was considered the most important village, cause of its population and its wealth and beauty.
The village was build on to a privileged spot cause it was only 18 miles away from Constantinople the capitol of Byzantine empire. Being on the same neighborhood with the capital and the easy access through out the sea contributed the development of trade as well as the cultural and spiritual development. Most residents of Katirli had a second house in Constantinople, mainly in Arnaoukioi witch was used for trade, between other, activities.
On the north border of the village, there was a hill with a panoramic view of Prigiponisa Island. On the south side was stretched out the mountain chain of Arganthonio, witch was rich with beech and chestnut trees. On the eastside there were vineyard and olive-trees hills. Finally, on the west side was stretched out the sea of Propontida.
Its unknown the exact date of the establishment of Katirli and why that name was given to the village. Possibly in ancient times this place was called Vithinia or Vithinion, cause of the frequent slidings. The name Katirli (Katir = mule) was given, probably cause of the mountain ground of the village witch demanded a mule to make any transfer. That explains the existence of many residents last name, such as Katirtzis, Katirtzidakis, Katirtzidis, Katirtzoglou. Already at the year of 1857, the German traveler Reinhold Lubenau mentioned the name «caterli, kartali, katirli» on his book named «Beschribung der Reisen des Reinhold Lubenau».
The village had about 500 houses and 4.000 residents. It was a pure Greek village like all the other coastal villages of Propontida. A few Turkish lived with their families among the Greeks. All of them were public employees of the Turkish Empire.
The village builds amphitheatrically on a hill at a length of 2 klm facing the sea. That’s why each house of the village had the privilege of the sea breeze and the sound of the waves. Many times during the winter, the sea reached out till the yards and the windows of the first houses. In front of the sea were the houses of the seamen, the market and the cafés of the village while on the hill were found the houses of woodcutters.
On the top of mountain Arganthonio, there are still remains of Byzantine castles and monasteries. The wood hills of the mountain were made use by the woodcutters, the coal and icemakers. Beside chestnut trees on the hills of the mountain there were also olive trees. That’s an unusual fact for these two kinds of trees to be found on the same level.
Katirli had a healthy mild climate. During the summer north revival winds were blowing, while the autumn south winds along with rain. These winds are justifying today’s Turkish name of the village: Esenkioi. A torrent was crossing the village, through the yard of Saint Paraskevi church. Many brooks were crossing the village proving the residents with cold crystal clear water.
There were 2 churches on the village: the Saint John the Predursor church, characterized by an imperial dome, was found on the seamen neighborhood, and the Saint Paraskevi church on the woodcutters neighborhood. Last priests officiated there before the 1922 uproot, were priest Mixalis Karakasis or Karagiorgis in Saint Paraskevi and priest Sotiris Pagalos in Saint John.
Protector of the city was Saint Afxentios. During 1755 in Katirli lived a monk named Afxentios. In fact during that time the village known a great glory cause of the believers that flowed into to pay their respect to the Saint. His monastery dependency was in a half-basement room of the elementary school, where his grave was found. The silver icon of the Saint was brought with the refugees along with the icon of Saint John on their new home.
Many holy waters were outside of the village, where the believers used to pay their respect. Saint Athanasios, Saint Eleni, Saint Ioannis, Saint Georgios of Makri are few of them.