The southern coast of Turkey is one of the world's
most beautiful regions: sandy beaches offering
eight months of swimming, magnificent landscapes
and a multitude of historic sites.
The region, which unfolds along a belt 100-200
kilometers wide between the Taurus mountains and
the sea, has been a focal point of interaction,
commercial relations and political confrontations
throughout history. Since early times, this region
has seen the founding of heavily populated cities
and the area as a whole became rich and prosperous.
A period of decline set in due to the decreasing
importance of the Mediterranean in world trade,
the devastation caused by earthquakes, the deterioration
of waterways and the spreading of malaria. The
fertile plains were abandoned and became little
more than winter quarters for nomads. In recent
decades, this region has regained its former importance
with the development of commercial agriculture
Adana, the metropolis of the eastern Mediterranean
coast of Turkey, Mersin, Tarsus, Iskenderun and
Antalya have all developed and expanded rapidly.
The peaks of the magnificent Taurus mountain range,
covered with snow in summer as well as in winter,
form the southern border of Central Anatolia and
extend towards the east, hugging the shores of
the Mediterranean itself. To the south of these
mountains, the long white sandy beaches, the bays
and coves surrounded by pine forests and the turquoise
colored sea make this one of the most prominent
tourism resorts of Turkey. But tourism is not
its sole economic activity. Thanks to its temperate
Mediterranean climate, the region has a rich and
abundant agriculture and produces citrus fruits,
bananas, avocados, cotton, vegetables and flowers.
Patara, Xanthos, Letoon
These three Lycian cities are found where the
Mediterranean meets the Aegean. Patara, renowned
in ancient times for its fortune-telling Oracle,
was the principal port of Lycia. The theatre,
the Temple of Athena, the triumphant arch and
the bath houses still stand in all their majesty.
Patara is the birthplace and home of St. Nicholas.
Today, its 18-kilometer sandy beach is under environmental
protection to safeguard the native sea turtles.
Xanthos was also the capitol of Lycia. Here you
can visit the monument of the Nereids, whose magnificent
friezes have found their way to England, an acropolis,
tombs carved in rocks, a well preserved theatre
and a large basilica. The third antique Lycian
city is Letoon.
According to legend, after the Goddess Leto had
given birth to two children, fathered by Zeus,
she wanted to bathe them in the thermal waters
of Letoon. When the local people tried to stop
her, she turned them into frogs.
Thousands of years later, Letoon is still under
water and hundreds of frogs live all over the
vicinity. In the center of the city are the ruins
of three temples dedicated respectively to Leto,
Artemis and Apollo.
Tourism is a relatively recent industry in Kekova,
a town accessible only by sea for centuries. Today
it is a meeting place for cruise boats and yachts.
Through the crystal clear waters you can see the
traces of a sunken antique city.
Kekova's history dates back to the first millennium
BC. The Lycians had developed an original civilization
here, a civilization which was later enriched
through interaction with the Hellenic culture
and way of life.
for photos from Mediterranean