The Ultimate Culture Crawl: Visiting The Cities of Lycian Turkey

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Likya Antik Kaya Mezarlari, Antalya, Türkiye (Ancient Lycian Roc

While you have looked forward to your trip to the Turquoise Coast of Turkey for a long time, it isn’t for exactly the same reasons as most people coming here.  While you will more your fair share of soaking up the eastern Mediterranean sun this summer, you will be busy on most days exploring the cultural treasures of Lycian Turkey.

A people that were exiled here several millennia ago from Crete by Minos, they reorganized their society here, with the remnants of their ancient lives still visible in the area to this day.  In order to arrive in this culture rich region without having to deal with the hassle of overland travel from Istanbul, be sure to book flights to Dalaman (http://book.flythomascook.com/cheap-flights/to-Dalaman-Turkey/) instead of heading to Turkey’s biggest city.

Doing so will free up more time to explore the sights that await you throughout the Lycian portion of Turkey. In the following paragraphs, we will be discussing the top destinations that you should hit on this action-packed trip to a country often referred to as a crossroads of ancient civilizations.

Start by heading to Marmaris, where the primary attraction is a 17th century castle that shares its name with the nearby city.  Though the present incarnation was built 300 years ago by Sultan Suleyman to serve as a defensive hedge to protect his lands while on a long expedition to Rhodes in Greece, it is posited that forts and castles have existed on this spot as far back as 5,000 years.

When you’re done pretending to be royalty, head back into the city centre, browse through the expensive boutiques and maybe pick something cute if the price is right, then look smashing as you hit the beach or the club, where foreign tourists often mingle with the nouveau riche of this country.

Once you’ve had your fill of Marmaris, hop a ferry for the town of Dalyan, where the ancient ruins of the city of Caunos awaits you. Last active in the 3rd century AD, the standout attraction here are the Rock Tombs that are carved into the side of the towering cliffs in the area, containing the remains of people that have long since passed from the earth.  A short river connects a local lake to the sea, creating an ecosystem that makes for excellent birding, and warm mud baths also make for a relaxing end to the day in Dalyan.

Next up on the agenda is the city of Fethiye, which also contain rock tombs of its own if you’re game to scope out this type of ruin again.  If you’re seeking out some exercise at this point in the trip, the start of the Lycian Way, a multi-week trekking trail that works its way 510 kilometres up the coast towards Antalya.

Though you don’t nearly have that much time to explore this well-regarded path, you can still make an afternoon or a full day walk out of the initial portions of this hike, as it boasts incredible views of the coast from its elevated perch, as well as scattered pockets of architectural remains of the ancient Lycian civilization.

Those who are sweating at the thought of all this walking can still check out some artifacts from the past by checking out a Roman ruin called the  Fethiye Amphitheatre, one of many stadiums the Romans built to entertain the masses long ago.

Finally, make time for the city of Kaş before departing for home, as it has plentiful remnants from days gone by, and a beach scene to salt your time away in if you’re all cultured out.  If you are still good to go, make an effort to see the acropolis in the hills above the city, and a trip to the sunken Lycian city in Kekova Sound will be cause for contemplation as you view places where people once lived on dry land, now covered by the watery depths of the Mediterranean.

Turkey has much in store for the culture hunter, even in its more touristy regions.  By taking some days away from the beach and leaving the traveler ghettoes to explore the area, you’ll find a world that once bustled and lived for the moment, with only physical traces and spotty written records left to tell their story.

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