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Turkey: Oriental Temptation

Published: 1.12.2012
Orient – distant, attractive, and spicy land. Just close eyes and you can see it again… Stop thinking about workdays and become absorbed in an atmosphere of One Thousand and One Nights stories in land of bent sabers, reverse half-moon and belligerent sultans. It is a matter of far past when Turks were a menace to Europe and yet people are still fascinated by beauty of Turkey.

It is not only the land of Turks, but other multicolored nations and cultures that moved from one part of the land to other. Like waves in the ocean. Lets make a mosaic of particular things we know about this land. The land of Homer of Smyrna; Herodot of Halikarnasus – the father of historiography; and the scene of the most known battle of history – the battle of Troy.


Our journey starts on south close to Antalya, at the place of legendary eternal fires. These fires symbolize the freedom of the proud and fearless Lykia nation. It is the land where the Olympian god of the sun Apollo . The legend tells us about bloody beast known as Chimera defeated by pretty Bellarofones on his flying horse Pegasus. They say he dealt with the beast bravely. He shot  fire arrows on it from the sky and these fires on a steep hill that we are going to visit, are last breaths of the dying beast.

Our course along the coastline will be approximately 70 kilometers long and it will start in Antalya and end in Olympos.

Those longing for some adventure will most certainly visit the Göynük canyon (ca. on the 30th kilometer of our journey) and there they will scramble through small lakes and boulders in a wild river up to a beautiful falls. Brave ones equipped with neoprene and ropes can continue on. Above you can see boulders wedged between two cliffs under which you must slide. Experiencing that you can’t stay unexcited. Splashing under the falls is simply amazing. Next is an expedition to the cilization – we stop in near Kemer a fast growing summer resort (ca. 36th kilometer of our journey).


The center of Kemer located in the Moonlight Park bay appeals to bring you there for a walk during moonlight. We reach Nomad tents with dummies, which represent their nomadic way of life. Behind tents there is also a small museum where enjoy a splendid Turkey tea while sitting within pillows on carpet. Close to a shop we stare at glimmering night lights of Kemer. They attract travellers and dancers to enjoy wild parties and unbridled dances until dawn. Above Kemer as above entire Turkey waves a Turkish flag on a nearby hill. Our next stop is thus clear. We climb up to it and make photos of a fascinating panorama of blue-green bay Moonlight filled hawksbill sea turtles. They timidly peep out on the surface and fearfully swim among excited swimmers.

I recommend you to borrow bicycles or jeep while you are in Kemer and then move off right to mountains to enjoy a beautiful landscape covered with forests, canyons and cold rivers. Climb up on plateau and breath fresh air. Maybe you will see some turtles, snakes or a wild boar… Those who love nature and making photos will most certainly enjoy the place.


Glance up and above Chimera you will see a noble mountain Tahtali Daği (2365 m above the sea level) or Tahtali Daği Olimpos (approximately on the 45th kilometer of our journey). If you have a chance, don’t miss the opportunity to paraglide from the mountain to Olimpos beach or Tekiroy. You will experience excitement and freedom. Run with your pilot fast until your breath holds and you take off like a bird. Nowadays you can get on Tahtali Daği Olimpos by superfast cableway, no matter if its to paraglide or to see cedars. The cableway was built by a Swiss company, however, the construction was surveyed by Czechs from a geodesy in Krkonoše mountains. They had to take their devices up to the mountain and it took them about 7 hours. Travelling by the cableway you reach the top in about 11 minutes. It is up to you what you choose. During winter Tahali is covered in snow and Turks are due to that thinking about constructing a ski resort. Maybe… perhaps… simply Inschalak - if Allah let us

Follow me, pilgrim. We travel to the town of Olympos (on approx.. 70th kilometer of our journey). It was one of the first cities that joined the Lykia League, sort of old European Union. However, due to its forbidden market with pirates it was later expelled from the league. In 1970s the Olympos National Park had been a popular place for Hippies . The beautiful nature there fascinates tourists until today. You can find here also a curious hostel with solar panels on rooftops named KADIR houses. When you will be hungry, go to Ulupinar to have some roasted trout and champignons in a dissolved cheese. These delicatessen you will eat not in a ordinary restaurant but you will sit at the tables placed  in the bubbling, fizzing and streaming freezing cold river.

Beach Olympos

Not far away in a pine grove is hidden border city of Lykian empire - Phaselis. The city had a strong influence thanks to olive oil sent by an aqueduct, or rather “oilduct” from a far city of Thermesos. In Phaselis locals gather oil to amphoras, put it on ships and distributed over the whole Mediterranean region. Moreover, in near mountains there grow rare Lebanese cedars in 1000 meters above the sea level. They were protected by already by Emperor Hadrianus, because they were used to built ships.


Turkey is a colorful and huge country. It is not only a so-called bridge between Europe and Asia, but rather a paradise where people settled and developed their crafts. Leave the boredom of everyday life and enjoy the excitement this country offers.


Text/photo: Sylvie Halouzková

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