Olympos & Çıralı
After passing Phaselis on the Kemer to Kumluca road you will see a sign for Çirali and Olympos. Çirali is the name of the small village near the ancient ruins of the port city of Olympos, which was founded in the 2nd century BC and was abandoned in the 6th century A.D. The myth of Bellerophontes slaying the Chimera is said to have taken place here. An hours walk up a steep path will bring you to the natural phenomenon of the Chimera. Dubbed the “burning mountain” by locals the flames you see escaping the ground are the result of natural gas emissions from beneath the earth’s crust.
The ancient port of Phaselis is thought to have been founded in the 7th century BC by settlers from Rhodes. Probably one of the most important parts of east Lycia. It had three harbours: one to the north, one to the south and one used for sea warfare. A magnificent thoroughfare down the centre of the city flanked by the remains of shops, bathhouses and a theatre takes you to the site of Hadrian’s Gate.
Perched high up at over a 1000m on a plateau in the Beydag National Park the city of Termessos, which resisted all attempts at capture by Alexander the Great commands breath-taking views over the plains of Antalya.
The ancient city of Perge can be found along the Antalya to Alanya main road after turning north at Aksu. Founded in around 1200 BC its saving grace was its distance from the sea which allowed it to grow without interruption from sea pirates. The cities of Perge and Side signed an agreement with Alexander the Great in 332 BC who thus spared them the usual ravages of battle.
Perge, which enjoyed prosperity throughout the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras, boasts an impressive Amphitheatre and large stadium each with a seating capacity of 15 000 and 2 000 respectively, both well preserved and thus of great significance to archaeologists today.
One point of interest are the 30 or so open chambers situated beneath the stadium seating area which are thought to have been used as shops.
Situated a little way off the Antalya-Alanya main road just after Serik the city of Aspendos dates back to the 5th century BC. This extremely well preserved Roman amphitheatre, which was built around the 2nd century AD, was later used by the Seljuks as a caravanserai. With a seating capacity of over 17 000 it is still used today to host spectacular concerts, ballets and other significant events. The 10 mile long pressurised aqueduct you can see running along side Adpendos is a feat of Roman engineering.
After leaving Kas one sails past Uluburun and sets a course for Kekova, a spot that is like heaven on earth. One first encounters the Sicak peninsula with two islands at the end of it: Toprakada and Karaada. Kekova island stretches out from here and it is because of this island that the whole area is called Kekova. Passing among the islands and arriving at Kekova, the safest anchorage is Üçagiz, which is a good, all-round harbour.
Situated between Finike and Kaş, Myra used to be a one of the most important of six Lycian cities. Originally a coastal city the gradual build up of silt from the Demre stream has left it stranded several miles away from the sea. Myra was abandoned after the Arab invasions in the 9th century A.D. The rock tombs and amphitheatre are worth a visit as is St. Nicholas’ church nearby where the legend of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is said to have originated.