Situated at the foot of Mt. Tahtali (Olympos), 15 km south of Kemer, the three harbours of Phaselis were the reason for its historical role as a commercial centre. The view of Mt. Tahtali from the south harbour is particularly spectacular. The sheltered, pebbled and sandy beaches around the bays are delightful and the waters here are calm and safe for children and young swimmers. The ruins of aqueducts, agoras, baths, a theater, Hadrian's Gate, and an acropolis underline the city's historical importance.
This ancient city is situated on the southern side of Mt. Tahtali. Whether coming by sea or land do not miss the Olympos Valley shaded with oleander and laurel shrubs and the refreshing quiet pools of flowing water. The design of the mosaics in the Olympos bath is enhanced by the play of light while a temple gate and a theatre are of interest along with the other walls and towers around the bay which date from the Middle Ages. North of Olympos, up from Cirah Beach, is Yanartas (at a height of 300 m) where, according to mythology the rire breathing monster, Chimaera, was slain by the Lycian hero Bellerophon who was mounted on his winged horse, Pegasus. Nearby you can see remains from the Byzantines who attached religious importance to the area. Tranquil waters and sandy beaches line the Bay of Cavus, situated south of Olympos. This enchanting bay is yours for an unforgettable experience of water-skiing on glassy water, for discovering the colorful marine life in waters clear enough to see to the bottom, or exploring the incredible sea caves on the northern shore.
This town surrounded by citrus trees and gardens is a port of entry into Turkey lying to the west of Olympos. A sandy beach stretches to the east, and to the west are rocky bays and coves. Limyra, an ancient city of Lycia, is 10 km from Finike via Turuncova. On the south side of the acropolis is the Pericles Mausoleum Monument. Decorated with caryatids of the 4th century B.C., it is not to be missed. City walls and a theatre are also of interest.
Along a mountain road of unsurpassed beauty, about 32 km from Finike, is the rum off for the Lycian city of Arikanda. Set high on the mountain side with plenty of fresh air and cool water, it is no wonder such a place was chosen. In the extensive ruins, the agora, theater, stadium, bouleuterion and water system are of interest. Memorial graves are set in the hillside while an ancient bath and gymnasium over- look one of the most beautiful valleys.
This site is the ancient Myra (25 km to the west of Finike) and it is best known for St, Nicholas, the bishop of this Mediterranean city during the 4th century, who died here in 342 A.D. Every year in December the St. Nicholas Commemoration Ceremony is held, attracting many tourists who spend their Christmas holiday on the sunny coast of ancient Lycia. In ancient Myra, many rock tombs overlook the splendid theater. Dalyanagzi, the ancient harbor of Andriace, 6 km west of Demre, is perfect for swimming as well as relaxing on the sandy beaches.
An hour from Dalyanagzi by sea, especially enjoyable for yachtsmen, is the island of Kekova, "home of the sun." Kekova is also the name for this entire area of picturesque islands, numerous bays and ancient cities. These bays provide natural harbours in all seasons and here, too, nature is joined by history to cre- ate a harmony rarely seen, Geological shifting along the northern shore of Kekova Island (Apollonia) over the years has caused some of the ancient structures to sink under the clear water, creating a sunken city. A bird's eye view of the whole scene of bays, inlets, islands, and yachts sailing peacefully on the smooth water can be seen from the Kalekoy Castle (Simena). The colors of a Van Gogh painting and orange sunsets, together with starry, starry nights, peace and tranquility, playful dolphins, mythological mysteries, and the sparkling sea - Kekova provides all this and more.
West out of Kekova is a lovely spot surrounded by mountains. When you feel like exploring further, the choice of coves, bays and beaches is almost endless. The local fishermen are very friendly and are happy to run a water-taxi service to take you to a favourite bay along the coast. The area around Kas has remained completely unspoiled, and for people who enjoy swimming it is ideal. Kas is perfect for the diver who wants to explore the underwater world.Visiting the theatre and the Lycian tombs, the largest of which is in the centre of town, will help you relive the days when it was called Antiphellos. And wandering through the streets, you can stop to examine the souvenir shops specializing in Turkish handicrafts, various leather goods, copper and silver items, cotton clothing, and the inevitable handmade carpets. After your shopping is done, stroll along the flower-lined Ak^pniz Promenade, relaxing under the shade of palm trees and enjoying the scenery. Kas also offers just the kind of night life you might want - bars and restaurants are plentiful, and whatever pleases you most, you will find it there. Kas is the perfect spot from which to take a refreshing trek into the mountains. Walk through forested hills, visit remote villages and ancient remains while climbing to the high ridges for a superb view. For the energetic, there is the option of climbing the highest peak in the area, Mt- Kizlarsivrisi (3086 m) and the second highest, Mt. Akdag (3030 m). Kaputas, 18 km from Kas along the scenic Kalkan Road, has a beautiful beach with the Turquoise Grotto ate one end.
Kalkan is 7 km west of Kaputas. It is a lovely, small town with an abundance of charm, perched on a hillop overlooking a tiny bay. It has quaint, traditional, white-washed houses with shuttered windows, and balconies with garlands of flowers hanging to the streets below. Kalkan is the ultimate for a peaceful holiday. Narrow, winding streets lined with souvenir shops lead down to the charming marina. Every morning boats are busy taking tourists to one of the nearby beaches or small bays. As the sun sets, Kalkan style is to go up to the rooftop terraces for a relaxing drink before dinner taking in the comings and going of the yachts in the bay, the business of the marina and the panoramic view.
A principal harbour of ancient Lycia, Patara can be reached by travelling west out of Kalkan along a winding mountain road, entering the Esen Valley and then, after 8 km, you come to the ancient harbour. According to mythology, Apollo was born here. Historically, it is known to be the birthplace of St. Nicholas. The ruins are numerous and interesting. This is also the place for beach lovers, for it has 22 km of pure white sand which stretches as far as the eye can see, making it a natural choice for sports like sand-surfing. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean, it is ideal for a holiday away from the crowds.
The ancient Lyrian capital of Xanthos is 18 km north of Patara near the Esen River. The theatre. Harpy Tomb, Nereid Monument, agora, and an inscribed monument are of interest, as are a mixture of ruins from Lycian, Roman and Byzantine times. At the Lycian cultic center of Letoon, 6 km farther, there are three temples dedicated to Leto, Apollo and Artemis, familiar gods of Anatolian mythology.
THE COAST EAST OF ANTALYA
Wide fertile plains stretch parallel to the endless sandy beaches rimmed by the shining sea. Modem tourist facilities dot this coast and the historical sites are well preserved, giving you the option of several activities in a day.
The Hittites had settlements in this area around 1500 B.C., and St. Paul stopped here on one of his jour- neys during the time when Perge (18 km from Antalya) was an important city of ancient Pamphylia. The stage of the theatre has very nice marble relief work. On the outer wall is a three-sectioned memorial fountain. Some of the reliefs from the city are displayed in the stadium for easy viewing. Other ruins worth mentioning are the handsome city gate flanked by two lofty towers, a long colonnaded street that was once lined with shops and mosaic pavements, a large agora, and buildings that used to house the baths and gymnasium.
Golfers, swimmers, and sun-worshippers will not want to miss this modem holiday center and golf paradise, 40 km from Antalya - the perfect blend of aesthetics and nature on the sea with sandy beaches and shady pine forests.
A photogenic Seljuk bridge crosses the Kopru River from the road to Aspendos, 49 km east of Antalya. The road continues past the Aspendos Jewellery Centre to the ancient city of Aspendos a site which is dominated by the best preserved theater of antiquity with seating for 15.000. The galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all reflect the ability of the architect Zenon. Close to the theatre, basilica and agora lie the remains of an aqueduct, one of the largest in Anatolia. Be sure to visit the Aspendos Jewellery Centre, where jewellery making can be observed at every stage in the large workshop.
KOPRULU CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Northeast of Antalya on the Side road take the turn off for Tasagil and Beskonak, for the beautiful circular, scenic route that leads to the Koprulu Canyon National Park. The road crisscrosses over the clear, flowing water of the mountain river and passes through virgin forests and over rippling waterfalls. You will want to stop often and give your camera a workout in this picturesque valley. Reaching the park, 92 km from Antalya, you will encounter a valley of wild beauty rich in flora and fauna. The canyon stretches for 14 km along the Kopru River and is 400 metres deep in some places. At the rest area there are fish restaurants offering delicious selections. The Roman Oluk Bridge over the canyon and the Bugrum Bridge over the Kocadere stream were engineering feats in their time. From this park there are two other possible excursions: the ancient city of Selge and the Dedegol Mountains. The highest peak in this mountain range is Dedegol at 2,992 metres. Mountaineers will be unable to resist climbing, exploring and camping in this rugged, scenic spot. Return to Antalya via the other half of the scenic route.
An important city of ancient Pisidia, Altinkaya is reached from the Koprulu Canyon National Park then, at Oluk Bridge go 12 km to the northwest on a winding mountain road. This ancient route coming from Antalya shows that Selge had direct trade connections. The fairy chimneys seen on the way are typical of this area. This city, at 950 metres, has ruins of city walls, towers, cisterns, a temple to Zeus, an agora, stadium, theater, gymnasium and necropolis. All around the canyon are other historical remains of this once-famous city.
The Manavgat Waterfalls (80 km to the east of Antalya) are not high but the current is very powerful and the water rushes milky-white over the rocks. Near the waterfalls are shady tea gardens, restaurants and souvenir shops, making it a pleasant, cool, rest stop, especially welcome after a day of sightseeing. It is possible to take a delightful boat trip on the Manavgat River and explore this lovely area.
Side is one of the best-known classical sites in Turkey. This was an ancient harbour whose name meant "pomegranate" Today, it is a pretty resort town, very popular because of its ancient ruins, two sandy beaches, a variety of shops and plentiful tourist accommo- dation. There are numerous cafes and restaurants with a view uf the sea, and the narrow streets are lined with shops selling typical Turkish handicrafts including handmade leather and magnificent gold jewellery. Discos are just a part of the active night life. The magnificent theatre of the ancient city, built on colonnaded arches, is the largest in the whole area. Next to the theatre is an agora. The creamy-white columns of the Apollo Temple make a striking contrast against the blue sea. The extensive Roman bath, now a museum, houses one of Turkey's finest archaeological collections.
The west side of Side also has holiday resorts, including the inviting spots of Kumkoy and Colakli (Kamelya). Here, too, you can enjoy the sun and sea while being close to antiquity. East of Side, tucked in pine forests, are the three holiday resort areas of Sorgun, Titreyen G61 (Blue Flag) and Kizilagac, all popular for their sandy beaches and shimmering sea. The atmosphere is relaxed, accommodation plenti- ful and the activities endless, promising an unforgettable holiday.
BUCAKSIHLAR (PAMPHYLIAN SELEUCIA)
In Bucaksihlar, 15 km northeast of Side, are the remains (in good condition) of an agora, Roman baths, temples, churches, and a mausoleum. Nestled in the forests, it makes for a lovely and peaceful excursion.
ALTINBESIK CAVE NATIONAL PARK
One of the most interesting and well-known caves is located in Altmbesik Cave Park 12 km southeast of Aydinkent (Ibradi) and 55 km north of Manavgat. Interesting rock formations within the cave area, as well as travertines and streams make this area especially fascinating. AItinbesik Cave is in the western slopes of the Manavgat River Valley and can be reached via the village of Urunlu, which is an authentic village and a must-see in itself when travelling through this area.
The 13th-century caravanserai, Alarahan was built by the Seljuk sultan Aleaddin Keykubat on the banks of the Alara River, 38 km east of Manavgat. At the top of a nearby hill is the Alara Fortress, from which there is a commanding view of the whole area.