AEGEAN AND EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
The Crossroads of History
March Through November 2017
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A crewed sailboat rental holiday cruising the Turquoise Coast of Turkey from the Gulf of Fethiye to Antalya, from the western border of ancient Lycia to the eastern border, cruising a coast along which mountains drop precipitously to the sea only to be interrupted by stretches of magnificently isolated white-sand beach, and behind which may be found ample evidence of history's passage.
Kalkan. Twenty-seven miles from St. Nicholas Island (see Flat-Water Sailing Holiday), Kalkan is a cascade of flowered villas climbing slopes behind a luminous blue sea. It is also a gateway to the Xanthos Valley which in antiquity was the heart of Lycia and the last Near Eastern enclave to succumb to the Roman Empire. Proximate to ancient Letoon, Patara, and Xanthos (photo at right), to ancient Pinara (first photo in disclaimer below), Sidyma, and Pydnae, Kalkan is in short a springboard to the home of a race of warriors and masons which for more than a millennium successfully turned away all comers while exporting cyclopean architecture east and west. Craft art shopping and a range of excellent dining establishments. A superb dinner may be had at the Olive Garden roof-top restaurant. There the view of Kalkan Bay is hypnotic. A lazy afternoon on Patara beach under the walls of ancient Pydnae can also be memorable, not because Pydnae's twenty-three hundred year old walls are remarkably intact, but because the sea at Patara reflects its sand bottom in azure rays.
Rho (Yiorgos), Greece. Made newsworthy by its sole resident Despina Achadioti, the Lady of Rho, who until her death in 1982 ran up the Greek flag every morning to taunt Turks on the opposite shore, this former corsair waypoint and water source nine miles from Kalkan is now occupied only by goats and a detachment of the Greek Army (some say, of Greek Army malcontents). Its remote back bay, however, features seawater so clear underwater vision is limited only by the shore.
Kas. Ancient Antiphellos seven miles from Rho, Kas is now a diving center, market town, and shopping mecca with plenty of night life nevertheless retaining a unique charm. A fine Turkish cuisine may be had at Ugur Hacivelioglu's Oba Restaurant situated not far below a Gothic-arch hillside tomb inscribed in both Lycian and Latin. Lion-headed sarcophagus in the middle of the principal shopping street inscribed in poetic Lycian B. Greek-style theater of slightly more than a semi-circle probably dating from the Hellenistic rule of Cleopatra's forebears. Free-standing Doric tomb with frieze of dancing figures holding hands, its origin perhaps coincident with the Doric acropolis walls on neighboring Kastellorizon. A short drive inland and a climb of somewhat longer duration take the venturesome to Phellos, the mother of Antiphellos. Here among other items mindful of history there is a second free-standing Doric tomb cut entirely from neighboring rock.
Kastellorizon, Greece. Four miles from Kas. Greece's most remote island no longer on the maritime silk road but rather well off the beaten tourist path. Current population 300. Population one hundred years ago 9,000. A castle at the harbor's mouth originally constructed under Byzantine rule, strengthened by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, and rebuilt circa 1450 by Alfonso I, King of Naples. An acropolis atop Mount Vigla behind the port dating from the ninth century BC. Within the village a Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Eleni (1835) with nave and aisles separated by single-piece columns said to be lifted from the Temple of Apollo at Patara. Photographs from on high. Blue grotto larger and more splendid than that at Capri. Taverna dining on fresh seafood.
Aperlae. Twelve miles from Kastellorizon, this 2500-year-old walled city is presently the retreat of two or three solar-powered households. In season. The walls looking down on the few red-tile roofs consist of a mixture of regular ashlar and polygonal masonry, the former in excellent repair. Beneath the walls are numerous Lycian tombs, some in the sea, as well as submerged port facilities. Normally a swimming and luncheon stop. A spectacular swimming and luncheon stop.
Polemus (Aperlae East). Six miles from Aperlae at the western end of Kekova Roads there are two jetties one of which extends from Yoruk Ramazan's restaurant. This latter jetty is an alternative and safer mooring from which to visit Aperlae twenty minutes distant. Ramazan and family, meanwhile, offer an excellent repast in a waterside establishment similarly powered by solar panels. When not dining the swimming is excellent. Not far away are several small islets one of which is said to have underwater ruins.
Kale. Two miles from Polemus by way of medieval ruins on Kekova Island, Kale (Lycian Simena) surrounds a Byzantine fortress crowning an ancient acropolis. Spectacular photographs of Kekova Roads from the fortress. Roman baths at the water's edge dedicated to Emperor Titus. Memorable dining and hospitality at Hassan Deniz Restaurant adjacent to the baths. Ancient Teimiussa with explorable ruins of its own in the neighboring village of Ucagiz. There a fine bouillabaisse may be had at Onur's harbor-side restaurant.
Myra. Actually, the yacht moors at Ucagiz or anchors at Gokkaya (three miles from Kale) from where we drive to Myra, which once was the bishopric of Saint Nicholas. Of the several Saints Nicholas, this one is the patron of sailors and thieves, sometimes called Santa Claus. Also the patron saint of Russia, his basilica in nearby Demre is the destination of numerous Russian visitors. Myra's most striking feature, however, is not his basilica but rather vertical scarps of Lycian tombs and a magnificent Roman theater. Here the tombs feature elaborate friezes wishing souls once within Godspeed in their trip by winged angel, while the 12,000-seat theater and environs are repositories for sculpted reliefs.
Finike. Seventeen miles ENE of Kale and self-styled Orange Capital of Turkey, Finike (ancient Phoinike) is a safe harbor and beach city from which to visit ancient Limyra ten kilometers distant and Arycanda (following entry) thirty-five kilometers distant. Limyra, dating from the fifth century, was a hundred years later the seat of power of the dynast Pericles. Taking his name from the famous Athenian statesman, Pericles of Limyra made little pretense of being other than an autocrat, like George W. Bush even disdaining use of the royal "we" as he extended his realm. The waters off Finike in 655 AD were the scene of a trouncing of the Byzantine Navy by Arabs of the Caliph Othman. The 25 year old emperor, Constans II, escaped only by changing clothes with one of his men. The fate of that individual is not known. George W. Bush, meanwhile, has a severe case of the Pinochet Syndrome. His escape is problematic should he venture outside of the United States.
Arycanda. A Lycian town inland from Finike with four thousand years of history, Arycanda now consists of Roman ruins in an exquisite setting perhaps a thousand feet up a pine-clad mountain (2500 feet above sea level). The climb must have been enough to deter ancient marauders because Arycanda is unwalled in spite of sophisticated trappings such as baths, theater, odeon, stadium, temple, and two agoras. Cascades of spring water, too. The lone security person, by name Ramazan Demir, has patrolled Arycanda almost every day for twenty-five years during which he has become self-taught in English and a number of other languages. He has as well become an amateur archaeologist thoroughly familiar with his surroundings. He claims to have "the best job in Turkey," and he certainly does the best job among guides in our experience.
Ceneviz. Thirty-two miles from Finike, Ceneviz or Port Genovese is an anchorage for seaside Olympos. It is said by some (Francis Beaufort described the scenery here as "very grand") to be the most beautiful cove on the Gulf of Antalya, bounded on one side by sheer mountain and on the other by pine-encased beach. Behind its own beautiful beach one-half mile distant and not to be confused with Mount Olympos, the ancient settlement at Olympos is well worth exploring.
Phaselis. Ten miles north of Ceneviz, Phaselis was a welcoming host to Alexander as he completed the subjugation of Lycia. Sometimes Lycian but mostly not, Phaselis was founded by Dorian traders from Lindos, Rhodes, in 690 BC and for much of its history was a Greek-speaking outpost not always at peace with its Lycian neighbors. Phaselis today is dominated by aqueduct which in Roman times brought spring water from a hill to the north. There are also hypocaust baths and gymnasium, theater, agora, and gate dedicated to Emperor Hadrian, all in a magnificent setting on a pined shore.
Antalya. Twenty miles north of Phaselis and a modest metropolis, Antalya is the jumping off point for the Pamphylian Plain, including ancient Aspendos, Perge, Side, and Termessos, each with magnificent theaters. It was also the jumping off point for the Second Crusade, the occasion on which King Louis VII of France and wife Eleanor of Aquitaine along with their knights and nobles in 1148 embarked for the Holy Land, abandoning other wives, children, and pilgrims to the Seljuk bloodline. The area surrounding Antalya's harbor has been nicely restored, including hundreds of nineteenth century Ottoman dwellings. During late summer Antalya annually hosts an Opera and Ballet Festival in the Roman theater at Aspendos. An experience of a lifetime!
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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 sailboat rental holidays cruising Turkey and Greece may be obtained by clicking on the teal links immediately above. Thank You. Are you searching for a crewed sailboat or motor yacht rental holiday in Turkey? For a yacht charter holiday cruising the Turquoise Coast of Turkey? A yacht charter to Xanthos, Turkey, perhaps? Where Lycians, according to Herodotus, fought to the last man, woman, and child against invading Persians? Circa 545 BC? And where they did the same when besieged by the Romans of Brutus in 42 BC? Are you thinking of a Blue Cruise from Gocek to Antalya? On your honeymoon? With a stop in Greece? At Kastellorizon? Sailboat cruising in Greece? Would you like to take your rental sailboat to cruise further along the south coast of Turkey? Pausing at Kalkan? Ancient Phoenicus? Where the Roman Gaius Livius Salinator with eleven galleys and embarked infantry in 190 BC took on the resident civilian population of that Lycian town. And was driven away! And continuing your cruise, pausing at Kale? Ancient Simena? The Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus mentioned above under Kale is reported by his contemporary Suetonius to have been a decent man much loved by Romans. He is also reported to have himself much loved Queen Berenice of Cilicia with whom he carried on a decade-long affair interrupted when he ascended the throne. The interruption proved permanent as Titus succumbed to disease during his third year as emperor. And continuing your cruise to Finike. Ancient Phoinike. Do Phoenicus and Phoinike sound like waypoints en route to and from Phoenicia? Of course they do. And were. Do you know that of 29 characters in the Lycian alphabet 19 are Greek? And that the same 19 are Phoenician? Do you realize the Phoenicians (modern Lebanese) had an alphabet before the Greeks had an alphabet? And that both Greeks and Lycians borrowed it? As early as the 14th century BC? At about the same time Greeks were borrowing Lycian masons to erect walls up to 50' in height around bronze-age Tiryns five miles east of Argos in the Peloponnese. Walls containing vaulted and arched galleries. Who invented the arch, anyway! Romans? Greeks? Or.... Lycians? A thousand years later the overly-ambitious Pericles of Limyra cited above is believed to have come to a sudden end (c360 BC) at the hands of Payava of Xanthos. Payava's elaborate sarcophagus replete with battle scene was removed to the British Museum by Charles Fellows in 1844, but may be seen there in the Lycian Room today. Do you plan to honeymoon or holiday in Lycia? Would you like to honeymoon or holiday aboard a sailing yacht chartered in Turkey, sailing from Antalya? Antalya or ancient Attaleia? Would you like to rent a sailing yacht to cruise the Mediterranean from there? To retrace the 1472 route of the papal fleet of Pope Sixtus? As it brought the Cross to the attention of infidel cities along the coast of Turkey? Finike? Myra? Kas? Resting at Christian Megiste? Now Kastellorizon? Before ravaging Macry (Fethiye) where the population was mostly Christian? But not entirely! Well, we can put you aboard a rented sailing yacht for a holiday or honeymoon trek through history. We can put you aboard a crewed rental yacht to sail the other way, along Alexander's path down the coast of Turkey from Telmessos to Phaselis. A superb crewed rental yacht available for charter in Turkey. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org