The picturesque Alatsata (now Alaçati) is on the west side of the Erythrae peninsula and in a distance of 50 kilometres west of Smyrna. Its name derives from the word “ἅλας” (alas meaning salt) and it is related to the salt pans, which are formed in the Agrilia Gulf, south of the village.
The history of Alatsata began in the middle of the 17th century, when Greeks from Chios came to the area, in order to work as servants to Turkish landowners. Initially, there were two settlements, the “Upper Village” and the “Lower Village”.
Throughout time, the Greeks came to be treated in an improved way. The above fact and the fertility of the soil led to the settling of populations in Alatsata from mountainous Erythrae, Epirus, Peloponnese, Cyclades, Euboea and mostly from Chios. This brought, as a result, the union of the two settlements. The number of arriving inhabitants from the Greek mainland increased after the Orlov Revolt (1770).
The town knew great economic development due to the rich agricultural production and mostly to the famous raisin, which was exported from the ports of Agrilia (seaport of Alatsata) and Çeşme. Furthermore, it was the homeland of many priests and monks that served in the patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem.
The most important monument, which survives till today, is the church of the Presentation of Theotokos, built in 1832 above an older church of 1804. Its construction permit was obtained by kapudan pasha, after the intervention of a captain from Çeşme, Nikolaos Eliades. Its architect was Emmanuel Kolonaris from Smyrna and the constructor of the impressive templon was Ioannis Chalepas, father of Yannoulis, who died in 1901 and was buried in Alatsata.
The city, which was inhabited mostly by Greeks, apart from some Turkish civil servants, had almost 15.000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 20th century and 6.000 at the time of the populations’ exchange. Upon their arrival in Greece, they formed the settlements of “New Alatsata” in the municipality of Vyronas in Attica and in Heraklion of Crete.