AEGEAN AND EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
The Crossroads of History
March Through November 2017
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Ancient history's Gulf of Telmessos, now the Gulf of Fethiye, is surrounded by pine-clad slopes of the Taurus Mountains, and its crystal-clear water invites swimmers and snorkelers. An area of flat-water sailing easy on those not accustomed to open sea, rimmed with innumerable coves, anchorages, and archaeological sites, it is ideal for a crewed charter yacht holiday or honeymoon.
Gocek. The Club Marina in Gocek is the scenic ultimate in yacht marinas and the place our yacht calls home. It is situated up against pined slopes of a national forest in the NW corner of the Gulf of Fethiye and may be the site of ancient Hyparna, a village which fell to Alexander after he crossed the Dalaman River during the winter of 334/333 BC. Both the marina and Gocek Town are twenty-five minutes by road from Dalaman International Airport. Gocek Town itself is a ten-minute ferry shuttle from the marina. On the town's eastern outskirts there is a unique temple tomb in the Doric order, and, in the hills above, the ancient acropolis of Daedala surrounded by Cyclopean wall. Today Gocek has a singular charm as an emerging second-home resort with more than a fair share of yachts and those who cater to them. From Gocek we often accompany guests by car to ancient Cadyanda and Tlos or to upper reaches of the Xanthos River at Araxa or Saklikent Gorge, and from there up into foothills of the Taurus Mountains to lunch on fresh trout. Gocek itself has several fine dining establishments, among them Can Restaurant on the waterfront featuring a broad selection of well-prepared starters and seafood entrees.
Tomb Bay. Six miles from Gocek, Tomb Bay is the idyllic site of ancient Crya, a Carian and Lycian city state the citizens of which are believed to have been bi-lingual and the ruins of which date from the 5th century BC. Among numerous tombs are the remains of a Roman-Byzantine baths once fed by a nearby spring, while the Carian acropolis immediately above is distinguished by both outer and inner walls of mixed ashlar and polygonal masonry. Positioned around the bay's startling and inviting blue sea are two 4th century BC Ionic temple tombs, three house tombs, numerous pigeon-hole tombs, and a free-standing vaulted tomb. Lycians are believed to have been Cretans driven from Crete by Minos of Knossos. Carians are thought to have been native to Asia Minor.*
Cleopatra's Bay (Manastir). Three miles from Tomb Bay. Another exquisite setting with thick pine right to the water's edge. Half submerged ruins dating from about AD 1100 may be what remains of an Orthodox monastery (thus, Manastir) bath or boat-house. Also called Ruin Bay, a 55-minute hike takes the inquisitive to ancient Lydae (see Red Tail Bay below). Cleopatra, it should be noted, came here in 32 BC with Marc Antony. He, Antony, was en route to Actium with a galley flotilla eventually numbering half a thousand. She, Cleopatra, was transporting with four barges the entire Egyptian treasury to fund his misadventures. Together they were honeymooning.
Wall Bay (Manastir). A quarter-mile from Cleopatra's Bay. Pine trees sloping down from an isthmus saddle to crystal-clear swimming water and seaside restaurant. The wall giving the bay its name crosses the isthmus and likely formed Lydae's defense against advancing Turks nine hundred years ago. From its upper bastion there is a fine view of the open Mediterranean; Rhodes may be seen on a clear day. Managed by local restaurateurs Mehmet and Yuksel, the seaside restaurant provides a unique ambiance and hosts an after-dinner fireside camaraderie rarely duplicated.
Red Tail Bay (Kizilkuyruk). Six miles from Wall Bay, Red Tail Bay provides the easiest access to ancient Lydae thirty minutes up hill, or somewhat longer should local transport be employed. Off the beaten path and rarely visited, Lydae features mausolea, basilica, building walls, cisterns, Corinthian column parts, and inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periods as well as a vaulted Carian rock tomb in two levels dating from the 5th or 4th century BC. Cleopatra was here, as well, pausing in 46 BC to beach her galleys and rest her oarsmen while en route to Rome at age 23 to plead Egypt's case before the Senate. And to re-acquaint Julius Caesar with his son Caesarion. There are two beaches in Red Tail Bay, that on the north shaded and flowered and that on the west footing the ancient steps to Lydae.
St. Nicholas Island (Lebissos). Twelve miles from Red Tail Bay. For more than a thousand years home to Lycian and Byzantine pirates and never, as once postulated, a waypoint for pilgrims en route to Jerusalem, the remains of an entire village are there to be explored, from pirate-ship parking to covered passage to basilica to perhaps the largest ancient cistern outside of Constantinople. A wonderful place to swim and snorkel, and an equally wonderful place to take in a hilltop sunset with a bottle of wine. Ali Tuna, the seafood restaurateur at nearby Cold Water Bay, is a genial host who entertains with cooking fire and conversation.
Olu Deniz. Two miles from St. Nicholas Island, Olu Deniz is the most photographed and picture-postcarded of any beach in the eastern Mediterranean. Photos are best taken during a 30-minute paraglide down from Baba Dag (Father Mountain). The lagoon at Olu Deniz in 67 BC harbored the Roman galleys of Pompey the Great, there to eject Lycian pirates from Lebissos. Descendants of those same pirates were ejected from nearby Kaya during the 1918 purge of Orthodox Christians.
Butterfly Valley. Two miles from Olu Deniz and inaccessible except by sea, this striking spot is backed by almost sheer mountain from which water falls. Even the beach is bounded left and right by vertical rock promoting a unique privacy for more than one hundred varieties of butterfly.
Kucuk Sarsala Bay. Sixteen miles from Butterfly Valley, Sarsala is yet another striking pine-surrounded bay in which to swim and kayak. It is also a convenient starting point for a 90-minute hike to ancient Lissa, notable both for inscribed walls dating from the 3rd century BC rule of two of Cleopatra's Ptolemy forebears and for a dramatic lake view from Lissa's acropolis. Ramazan's restaurant at Sarsala is above average.
Kappi Creek (Goben Iskelesi). Two miles from Sarsala, Kappi Creek is an idylic all-weather anchorage surrounded by pine and olive trees. It features ruins of uncertain vintage, swimming alternatives, and, serving a superior fare, the oldest of the bay restaurants. A pleasant stroll through olive groves followed by a short climb takes the venturesome to ancient Arymaxa, a deme of Lydae. Arymaxa features Roman mausolea one of which is inscribed in Greek on the land side, a Byzantine cistern, and numerous unidentified ruins likely to generate a healthy dose of speculation.
Macri Vecchia (Sovaliye). Eleven miles from Kappi Creek, Macri Vecchia is an island reported by English explorer Charles Fellows in the mid-19th century to have ruins "probably of a late Roman age," and by Freya Stark in 1952 to have a "fortress with walls that are like old teeth." Interspersed with the occasional ancient block and more substantial remains of Byzantine walls, Macri Vecchia is today a charming mix of summer villas and breathtaking views with a delightful afternoon breeze cooling pockets of isolated beach. The restaurant here, Metin Duru's Sunset Cafe, serves a truly superior cuisine under a chocolate tree.
Fethiye. One mile from Macri Vecchia, Fethiye is ancient Telmessos and site of several of the more interesting rock tombs in Lycia, some featuring Ionic porticoes. There is in addition a sculptured sarcophagus (The Tomb In The Sea) as well as a Roman theater still entertaining those with an ear for classical music. Above the theater surmounting a Telmessian and Roman acropolis is a hilltop fortress constructed by Byzantines in AD 715 when renaming the port Anastasiopolis in honor of the Emperor Anastasius II. Covered markets and lots of other shopping. An excellent restaurant, Megri's, offering a splendid hors d'oeuvre of artichoke heart and tuna, as well as others featuring fine Turkish cuisine. Bougainvillea abounds.
*The historian Will Durant in his The Life Of Greece wrote that Minoan (the first great civilization of Europe) Cretans did not speak Greek but rather spoke an Indo-European language akin to Hittite and related Anatolian dialects (such as Lycian). He also wrote that Mycenaeans (the second great civilization of Europe) of the Peloponnese were akin in ethnicity to Carians.
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Dear Homo Sapiens, There is no need to continue reading this page. What follows is intended for search engine robots and spiders and not necessarily for human beings. Further information concerning crewed charter yacht holidays in Turkey may be obtained by clicking on the teal links immediately above. Thank You. Are you searching for a crewed charter yacht holiday in Turkey? For a crewed charter yacht honeymoon in Turkey? For flat-water sailing in Turkey? Are you thinking of a cruise through history? Kemal Ataturk's 1923 resettlement of Greeks remaining in Anatolia was not the first such forced resettlement. It also happened in AD 805 when the Emperor Nicephorus I resettled Greeks from Anatolia to mainland Greece. At that time Greece had been overrun by Slavs more than two hundred years earlier and had descended into a Slavic anarchy much like that of the Balkans during the 20th century. Fearful of a Slavic rebellion, the emperor repopulated Greece with Greeks from Anatolia. Had he not, the faces of eastern Europe and Asia Minor might be different today. So, would you welcome a cruise through history? On your honeymoon? Would you like a crewed charter yacht holiday or honeymoon sailing the flat waters of Telmessos? Interestingly, Telmessos is the Greek name for the gulf and its principal city. Lycians (also a Greek appellation) called both Telebehi, and so too did the Hittites. Are you wondering about the Hittites? During the mid-14th century BC the Hittites penetrated through Lycia to the sea but found Lycians inhospitable and soon withdrew. There is no such inhospitality today. Holiday here at the crossroads between Lycia and Caria. Honeymoon aboard a crewed charter yacht. Honeymoon or holiday aboard a crewed sailing yacht cruising flat water. Honeymoon or holiday aboard a sailing yacht proceeding leisurely to nearby destinations. The Hittites wrote of the Lycians, wrote of them on their cuneiform tablets. That's one of several ways we know Lycians to have been fierce warriors. Homer and Herodotus are other sources. Those warriors and others peopling Lycia and Caria are long gone but archaeological evidence of their presence remains. The warrior tomb on Gocek's eastern outskirts is a pertinent example. It is in style a temple tomb, but with Doric rather than Ionic capitals. Why? Perhaps because neighboring Daedala, modern Inlice, was part of a Rhodian deme otherwise only including modern Kastellorizon; in short it was part of the incorporated Rhodian state. It was then not a part of either Caria or Lycia. The people of Rhodes and Daedala were Dorians, ergo (?) a tomb in the Dorian order. Would you not like to charter a sailing yacht to cruise this crossroads of history? Would you not like to climb to Daedala's acropolis? To ponder the problems confronting Antiochus III in his unsuccessful 190 BC siege of that hill top? Or would you prefer to charter a crewed sailing yacht to cruise further along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, along Brutus's path through Greek-speaking Lycia. Starting here. In Gocek, Turkey. Or starting in Fethiye, Turkey, Macry or Megri during late-Byzantine and Ottoman centuries. Where you will find the theater depicted above and depicted, two hundred years ago, at the left. Sail with us to nearby St. Nicholas Island, known by the ancients as Lebissos. Interestingly, in the 16th century Ottoman portolan prepared by Piri Reis, St. Nicholas is depicted as populated. That's interesting because all of the ruins there so far dated are no later than seven hundred years earlier. What gives? Join us and investigate. Similarly, come with us to ancient Tlos where there is a theater built in the second century AD some blocks of which are inscribed in Lycian, a language which disappeared during the third century BC. What gives? Come with us and speculate. Get aboard a crewed sailing yacht for the holiday or honeymoon of a lifetime. Get aboard for a charter yacht cruising holiday or honeymoon with an experienced crew able to show you the flat sailing waters of the Gulfs of Gocek and Fethiye. A superb crewed yacht available for charter in Turkey. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org