October 10, 2016
The town of Kaş is a lovely, unspoiled, tourist town that sits on a hill and runs down to the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey.
One of the ways that people spend their time in this area is either chartering boats for week long sailing excursions, or going down to the dock and jumping on a group boat for a day motoring around the islands, swimming, and visiting the highlights around the area. Today we decided to ply the Mediterranean Sea via one of these group boats. I have spoken throughout this trip of the lack of tourists due to the political situation in Turkey, this was very evident when taking the boat trip. There are at least 3 dozen boats, with a capacity of 50 to 100 ready to take tourists around the Mediterranean. Today we boarded the only boat that was going out and it was filled with only 35 of us, all, with the exception of us, Turkish citizens. The price, normally 70TL was just 60TL today.
We took this boat trip specifically to visit Simena-Kekova. The ancient city of Simena was once two parts – an island and a coastal part of the mainland.
“Kekova” is Turkish for “plain of thyme”, and women sit all over the walkways of the mainland selling thyme and other herbs to the tourists.
The island portion is 2 square miles, and uninhabited. As you travel near the island you can spot the half-submerged ruins of the residential part of Simena-Kekova. The sinking of this area was caused by the downward shift of land by what most have been horrendous earthquakes of the 2nd century AD. Half of the houses are submerged and you can see staircases descending into the water.
On the mainland portion of Simena-Kekova is the charming fishing village of Kaleköy (“castle village”). A well-preserved castle built by the Knights of Rhodes, partially upon ancient Lycian foundations, dominates the top of the village. Access to the village is possible only by sea.
After the Italian occupation of Kastelorizo, (a Greek island and municipality located just 4 miles from Kaş ) Kekova (which at that time was temporarily inhabited during summer because of wood harvest) was disputed between Italy and Turkey. The 1932 Convention between Italy and Turkey, which defined the sea border between the two powers, assigned all the islets of the small archipelago around Kastellorizo, including Kekova, to Turkey.
In 1990 the Kekova region was declared a specially protected area prohibiting diving and swimming. In later years the prohibition was lifted except for the part where the sunken city is.
This area is called the Turquoise Coast for a reason, the blues of the water are indescribable.
Here are a few fun shots from around the town of Kaş:
A few notes on Kaş.
Our hotel, Rhapsody, was lovely. I had a third floor room with a balcony and a stunning view. There is no elevator, however, so if you want one that high up, be prepared for a long climb. The staff is wonderful and the breakfast, which is included, was very, very good.
We had three nights, and three great dinners. These included
Bahςe Balik at Andifli, Süleyman Sandıkçı Sk. No:18. The fish, sold by the ounce, while expensive, was cooked to perfection and delicious.
Bi Lokma or Mama’s Kitchen at Hükümet Cad. No:2. We went for the Manti, but there are many wonderful things on the menu. Manti is an unusual dish for Turkey, and here it is cooked to absolute perfection with a sauce that is befitting the quality of the Manti itself.
Ikbal at Süleyman Sandıkçı Sok. No:6 is a family operation, run by people that love food and want you to love it too. We had the specials and the fried zucchini, was in fact, something to write home about. This spot is heavenly!