ÖLÜDENIZ & KEKOVA ROUTE
GEMILER ISLAND (St. NICHOLAS ISLAND)
After 2 - 2,5 hrs cruising from Fethiye harbour, turning at the capes of
Çamli Burun, Sahin Burnu, Bozburun and Iblis Burnu, you catch sight of the
Karacaören Islands. From here you reach Gemiler Island (The Island of
Ships): the channel between the island and the pine and olive tree lined
shore is a naturel shelter for yachts - hence the name. The island itself is
covered with historical remains dating back to the Byzantine period. The
Fethiye Archeological Museum and a Japanese team carried out archaeological
surveys here between 1991 and 1995, confirmed the island' importance during
early Christianity in Anatolia. There are four churches, numerous houses,
graves, cisterns, wells and a tunnel on the island, which have been damaged
by earthquakes. Beautiful mosaics and inscriptions uncovered in one of the
churches confirmed that church was dedicated to St. Nicholas. This church is
connected to the one on the east of the island by a 400 mt long tunnel,
which was probably used by priests on ceremonial walks to protect themselves
from the sun and rain..
More houses and a quay can be seen on the northern end of the island, again
ruined during earthquakes in the 3rd and subsequent centuries.
ÖLÜDENIZ (DEAD SEA)
From Gemiler cruising towards the east, you reach a couple of bays suitable
for anchorage and overnight stay. Bestas Harbour and Soguksu Bay give an
opportunity to take a walk for an hour and visit the "ghost town"; Kaya
Köyü, whose Greek population was exchanged with Turks living in Thrace in
1922. Mersinli Bay is another good anchorage and swimming spot. Rounding
Yogan Cape from here, you enter the breathtaking Belcekiz Gulf. Here you'll
find Ölüdeniz, the world famous inland bay that is protected from the open
sea by the cape, a lagoon of shallow, perfectly still, turquoise water
completely hidden from view from the sea. This paradise is closed to yachts
to prevent its pollution.
Ölüdeniz is a popular tourist centre - backdrop of the magnificent pine
covered mountains, the long white beach of Belcekiz, and the literally
breathtaking blue of the sea make it a sight well worth seeing by land or by
sea. Hotels, restaurants and campsites are located along the front of
Belcekiz Beach. Looking up, the azure skies are punctuated by coloured
parachutes gliding and spinning over the lagoon area from their flight point
at the top of 1975 metre high Babadag (Mount Baba). This gives a new image
of the resort - it offers the best wheather and landing conditions for the
sport of paragliding anywhere in the world. Adrenalin and freedom… These two
words pretty much sum up the paragliding experience.
The passge east in the Kekova direction from Gemiler Island or Ölüdeniz is
usually made in the very early morning - passing the high capes of Yedi
Burunlar (Seven Capes) and Patara - for the reason that, during the day,
this part of coastline receives a strong contrary wind and has rough sea,
which makes daytime cruising quite uncomfortable. 18 km long Patara Beach is
located after the 7th cape - here the ancient city of Patara, birthplace of
St. Nicholas , is still mostly covered by sand. The journey takes around 4
hrs before arriving at beautiful Yesilköy Bay, near Kalkan , in time for
breakfast at an ideal anchorage spot. This spot is also very popular for
The small town of Kalkan was an old Greek village called Kalamaki untill
1922. This perfect Mediterranean village boasts a pretty yacht harbour,
seafront restaurantsand charming hotels and pensions, making it a popular
place preferred by thgose in search of a more laid-back stay in Turkey. From
Kalkan there is an opportunity to visit important Lycian cities such as
Patara, Xanthos, Letoon and Tlos by bus and return to the boat the same day.
The harbour is a good place for overnight stays. According to ancient
sources, the mosque in the harbour was build after the 14th century on the
site of a destroyed Roman Temple, and had also been a Byzantian Church
during bygone ages. Now, the mosque, the winding cobbled streets lined with
well preserved Greek houses and an abundance of red and pink bougaivillea
makes Kalkan a storehouse of beautiful photographs as well as living
evidence of the continuity of life and the colourful fusion of different
KAS - ANTIPHELLOS
15 miles from Kalkan, Kas is another sheltered harbour where you can stay
overnight. Kas has also became a popular tourist centre with its historical
and natural ambiance. The modern town of Kas has many remains from the
Lycian period when the town was named Antiphellos. The rock-cut tombs on the
slopes of the surrounding hills date to the 4th century BC. On a rise
between the sea and the hill which was probably the acropolis of
Antiphellos, you can see a rock tomb decorated with a Doric style façade and
dancing female figures inside. To the west of the modern town following the
road to Çukurbag Peninsula, the ancient theatre of Antiphellos appears. The
Cavea of the theatre was made with 26 seating rows for a 4.000 people
capacity. This faces Meis (Kastellerizon) Greek Island 5 miles away.
Among thousands of sarcophagi in the whole Lycia, one is used as the modern
symbol of Kas town. It stands at the upper end of Uzun Çarsi Caddesi 5 min.
walking distance from your boat in the harbour, and its excellent
preservation and elegant form is impressive.
The Hyposorium of the sarcophagus has Lycian inscriptions, which explains
the importance of the person who was buried there and the rules on how to
protect this monumental tomb.
Aperlae is located on the Sicak Peninsula, near the Sicak Quay. Before
reaching Kekova here you will find an interesting Lycian city worth seeing.
The city walls begin at the shoreline and are fortified with towers at
regular intervals. These walls date to Roman times. At the west end of the
wall there are three gates with vaulted arches. As in other Lycian cities,
outside walls the necropolis is full of sarcophagi. You can also see the
ancient quay and some of the houses sunk in the water as a result of
earthquakes in the 3rd and the following centuries.
Besides a church in the northwest corner and a chapel in the southeast
corner, no other clearly defined structures can be found. Outside the early
wall, especially on its east side, are numerous tombs, nearly all sarcophagi
with rounded crest and lid. Some of them stand between the early wall and
the shore confirming that this area belongs only to the later fortified
city. Today, one will find that the quay and associated structures of
Aperlae are all underwater. Towards the west end a pier projected outwards.
Kekova, with its incredible beauties is one of the best-loved anchorages of
blue voyagers, where history and nature come together. After departing Kas,
first you pass Uluburun opposite Meis (Kastellerizon) Island and Sicak
Peninsula where the ancient city of Aperlae was found. Name of Kekova is
taken from the Island, which is covered with ancient ruins. The lake like
sheltered sea between the Island and the main land is also called Dead Sea.
Tersane Bay is located at the southwest of the Island where you find the
remains of an ancient dockyard. At the southeast of the Island there is
another beautiful anchorage, is called Karaloz. Following shore, you can see
many houses submerged in the water as the result of various earthquakes,
which gives another name to the area - "sunken city".
In Kekova region the safest place for anchor is the village of Üçagiz, which
was called Theimussa in the Lycian period. From the inscriptions on the tomb
it is understood that itshistory goes back to the 4th century BC in
Theimussa town. Ruins of necropol give a very interesting picture resembling
a field of sarcophagi.
The ancient city of Simena can be seen on the island and where the village
Kale is located. Kale is full of medieval and ancient structures, which are
historical emblems of the village's natural beauty. At top of the village a
well-preserved castle stands which was reconstructed by crusaders upon a
Lycian. Inside the castle, there is a very small theatre or Odeon, worth
The most interesting sarcophagus of Kekova is one which, near the Kale
Village stand alone in the water. On the mainland, many of other good
samples of Lycian sarcophagi can be seen among the olive and carob trees.
Kekova is probably one of the most enjoyable regions of the Mediterranean
because of its impressive historical background, unspoilt nature and
gorgeous turquoise waters. Just to preserve this beauty, people are not
allowed to do scuba diving and snorkelling with masks, around the sunken
Cruising south from Kekova, Gökkaya is another beautiful place for
anchorage. The bay is protected from all winds and is a good overnight spot.
The crystal clean waters, and beautiful surroundings, are a joy to swim. If
you take a walk on the land to the east, you'll find a small ancient
settlement called Istlada where there are the remains of sarcophagi, a
church, a monumental gate, cisterns and wells similar to those other nearby
After leaving Gökkaya, you can either return to Kekova or take the
opportunity to see Myra and St. Nicholas's Church anchoring in Kokar Bay.
This is not a good choice to stay overnight but is the closest connection
for busues to Myra.
The ruins of Myra are situated 5 km from the shore. On reaching the city,
the first thing you see is the acropolis on top of the hill, which is
literally covered with Lycian rock tombs. The city walls dating to
Hellenistic and Roman periods can still be seen. Most of pigeon hole type
tombs (called simple niches) and house type tombs are damaged, but some
inscriptions and reliefs are still visible.
The theatre - The cavea of which is half Greek and half Roman in style - is
situated near the necropolis, and is in better condition than the other
theatres in Lycia. Vaulted passage entrances and the stage building are also
in good condition.
St. Nicolas was born in Patara and lived in Myra. In the 4th century he was
the Bishop of Myra until the end of his life, and was buried in his church.
The church of St. Nicholas in Kale (Myra) was collapsed in an earthquake in
529; a larger church, perhaps a larger basilica-type structure was built in
its place. The Church of St Nicholas was razed to the ground during a naval
assault conducted by the Arabs in 1034. An inscription reads that it was
restored under Constantine IX in 1043. Some additions were made during
renovations in the 12th century, and the church was finally renovated in its
present position during the 19th century and again after Atatürk leaving an
excellent example of Anatolian - Byzantine architecture. In the 11th century
Italian pirates broke open the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas and took his
bones to Bari, in Italy. St. Nicholas's Roman style decorated sarcophagus
still stands in the church.