A Mediterranean Dream
Located on the breathtaking Kaputaş Beach, a Mediterranean dream awaits you in whitewashed houses surrounded by bougainvilleas. It feels like a brief story going on in Kalkan, the hidden beauty of the Mediterranean.
If you take the crooked road to Kalkan from Antalya, you may think it will never end. But the seaview shines upon you all of a sudden as the road meets the sea. This beauty may attract you so deep that you may find yourself going to the beach even before reaching the town centre. Kalkan, a summer resort of the ancient settlement in Hacı Yolu district
is surrounded by the Taurus Mountains. Once a small fishing village, Kalkan was discovered by English tourists and the bohemians in the early 80’s. But it has never turned into an organized touristic attraction like Bodrum or Çeşme. Kalkan with its two storey stone houses which were affected by the architecture of Meis Island resembles a treasure chest embedded into the peninsula.
The Summer Resort of Lycia
The streets and passages leading to the sea in Kalkan, which is located 210 km from Antalya and 130 from Dalaman, were created with the climate in mind. Reminiscent of white sugar cubes at first glance, the houses were built to take advantage of the breeze. The balconies, courtyards, and terraces are positioned in cool, airy places. Flowers are the foremost decorative element of Kalkan houses—bougainvillea, oleander, and beautifully fragrant jasmine… The market that descends toward the beach, terrace by terrace, is no different from a film set. Most of the blue-trimmed shops are on the ground flows of centuries-old bay-windowed houses. There is lots of color and variety in the shop windows and on the shelves—including antiques, silver jewelry, glass objects, leather, and of course fried cinnamon cakes.
Kalkan, which is said to have received its name from squid (with its old name in Greek being Kalamaki), drew the interest of famous travelers in history such as Strabon and Evliya Çelebi. The Turkish sailor Piri Reis wrote in “Kitab-ı Bahriye” that the freshwater spring in Kalkan was the main pillar of this village. According to the author Azra Erhat, Kalkan was not a settled area in antiquity, as it remained more of a summer resort near Lycian cities like Patara, Xanthos, and Letoon. Kalkan became an important harbor in the 19th century and was one of the places where the ship between Istanbul and Iskenderun stopped. Commerce enlivened the local social life, too. Bowtie- and fedora-wearing men and stylishly dressed women would stroll on the well-lit streets. Kalkan’s first municipality was established in 1928. The sea here has the color of turquoise mixed with navy blue. The water, which seems like it is part of a painting from top to bottom, is so clear that you can even tell the axis of vibrations. The rhythmic melody of the waves spreading across the shores rejuvenates one’s ears. As the beach is a place where fishermen’s boats, Blue Voyage schooners, and yachts lay anchor, only certain locations are suitable for swimming—luckily, Kaputaş Beach, which was named as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world, is right next to Kalkan. Among the other things the region has to offer are horse safaris in Patara, canoeing in Eşen Creek, and watersports off the coast of Kalkan. As the temperature remains quite favorable even in wintertime in Kalkan, which is built in a cove that protects it against the wind, the season of the sea is quite long.
Closest to the Stars
As the glow of daylight fades from Kalkan’s beautiful visage, it is replaced by something that presents a different sort of viewing pleasure: the region’s proximity to the stars is no touristic marketing twaddle. Even the great Heredotus spoke of it. Centuries ago, upon discovering this fact, the historian wrote, “[Kalkan] is the place where the stars are seen nearest to the world.” Like pixies fluttering in the night sky, the stars add a lyrical, fairy tale-like quality to Kalkan, where history combines with nature and legend. Cognizant of this distinct quality, the local hotels have even prepared moon calendars for their guests. Watching the movements of the moon and stars here is a joy in and of itself—in nature’s bosom, at that? And sometimes, there is the lunar phosphorescence vibrating atop the waters of the cove, and the firefly-like lights of the fishermen’s boats as they float in the dark. This is a beauty that one must experience—a second-hand retelling does not suffice.
According to the people of Kalkan, the most beautiful view of the world is the light of the moon on the sea. Most of the old houses in the region, which is designated as an urban conservation area, have been restored. In Old Kalkan, where cute cats wander the streets, the many buildings once used as fish warehouses and factories for olive oil and soap now serve the purposes of tourism. The harborside Yalıboyu neighborhood is home to some of the best fish restaurants in western Antalya. Another surprise Kalkan offers to its guests is the Taurus highlands. Bezirgân, at an elevation of roughly one thousand meters, is a lush green, cool village with streets decorated by oleander. The vicinity of the village, which is located along the historical migration route of the nomadic Yörük people, is filled with the ancient ruins of Lycian Way. The village has boutique guesthouses operating out of old highland houses, and there are also tours by horse and donkey. After the tours, guests are served hearty village food sitting on the ground beneath ancient, broad trees called “çıtlık.” By taking a minibus from Bezirgân Village, you can go up to Gömbe Highland, and from there you can reach Uçarsu Highland on foot. Kalkan is a place that truly reinvites people even as they leave—is it possible never to revisit?
AnadoluJet Magazin - Ağustos 2012
Yazı: Melih Uslu Fotoğraf: Ahmet Bilal Arslan
Çeviri: Yasemin Kütük
As the guests of Villa İlda, which is located with an architecture peculiar to the magnificent sunset view of Kalkan bay behind the valley adorned with olive trees; you can read a book under the bright sun of the Mediterreaean or tan during the day listening to music, you can wander and shop in the authentic market of Kalkan in the evening, you cn taste the Mediterrenean cuisine in the famous terrace restaurants, you can lie on the beach chair in the pool terrace of Villa İlda at night and watch the meteoric shower from where the stars are closest to the world and you can even enjoy the pool.
If you want to add a little bit of color to your holiday, you can join touristic activities or trips and take part in historical tours or boat trips from Kalkan to the other biggest cities of the Ancient Lycia civilization (Xanthos, Patara, Tlos). On the way to Lycia, you can trek with the company of magnificent nature and sea view, you can join cycling tours and both do sports and know the environment better; in addition, you can dive into the cool and turquoise waters of Mediterranean in the magnificent beaches around.