Top 10 ancient sites on the Turkish coast
Cleopatra’s Island (Sedir Island)
Situated in the Gulf of Gokova, Sedir Island is more commonly known as Cleopatra’s Island. According to legend, the island gets its name from its history as the meeting place of Anthony and Cleopatra. The legend also states that Anthony had the seashell sand shipped from North Africa.
The ancient city of Bybassus or Bybassos was a town in ancient Caria which resides in the Gulf of Hisaronu. Another place of interest for tourists, Bybassos is one of many ancient ruins in the region of Hisaronu.
Now known as Finike, this region of Turkey was originally named Phoenix and was a trading port of the capital city of ancient Lycia. There are many ancient ruins in the area, including Limyra, Arycanda and the ruins of Trysa. Visitors to these sites will encounter theatres, sarcophagi and friezes from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Another part of ancient Lycia, Lydae was a town during the Roman and Byzantine periods. The ruins at Lydae are close to the modern city of Gocek and are only accessible by boat.
Telmessos was the largest city of ancient Lycia and is situated in modern-day Fethiye. Visitors to Telmessos will find ancient tombs and sarcophagi as well as a Roman theatre and Rhodes fortress. The most notable ruin is the tomb of Amyntas which sits on a mountain above the modern town of Fethiye.
Kayakoy is a deserted village also close to Fethiye. The village was home to Greek Orthodox Christians who were massacred by the Turkish following WWI and was left deserted after Greek Muslims re-homed to Turkey refused to live there. The town still exists almost entirely intact and guided tours are operated for visitors here.
The beach at Patara is 11 miles long, making it a highly attractive place for tourists. Many ancient Lycian ruins remain, including the oldest lighthouse in the world, the acropolis and the amphitheatre.
Kekova is home to an ancient sunken trading post which can be seen from above through the clear water. The ruins can be sailed over on a dinghy and reveal walls and staircases from long ago.
One of the most iconic ancient cities around the world, the site of Troy sits along the Turkish coast. The archaeological site shows how the city was developed over with each successive empire, making for a interesting look into the depth of Turkish history.
The village of Kalekoy is surrounded by a partially sunken necropolis and features a Byzantine castle in the centre which looks out into the sea. The castle was built to fight the pirates on the island of Kekova and also contains a small theatre which can be visited by tourists.
In a country filled with long lost history, this list features only a few of the best ancient sites along the Turkish coast. Viewed against the backdrop of the stunning blue Mediterranean coast, these sites showcase the true beauty of Turkish culture.
This article was written by Damon Culbert from Salamander Voyages, luxury gulet cruise operators in Turkey.