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Finike

Finike, a perfect blend of history, nature and sea, is a tourism spot in Antalya Province. The district draws attention with the ruins of Limyra and Arykanda ancient cities. It is also famous for its oranges.

It is founded with the name Phoinikos at the entrance of Aykırı (Arykandos) Brook in the 5th century B.C. It is supposed that the name ‘Finike’ comes from the Phoenicians who used the region as a trade centre. Limyra, the capital city of the region, was known as the harbour where the export of its agricultural produces was carried out.



Kekova - Simena

Kekova Island and the town of Kale nearby Antalya make an idyllic daytrip for the traveler looking for a combination of sunshine, swimming and fascinating historic ruins. Many operators run trips from Kas but the journey is much shorter from Cayagzi, the harbor of Demre. Along the stony coastline the boatman may stop at a cave, or point out the occasional goat or the smoldering pyramids of wood used by peasants to make charcoal, the product may sit in plastic sacks at the water's edge, waiting to be taken away.

Along the edge of the island facing the mainland lie the fascinating half-submerged remains of a Lycian sunken city, and probably from Byzantine times later on. Signs warn against skin-diving, so you can not swim here because many foreigners in the past took a piece of ancient relics with them as a souvenir. The boatman will allow the passengers on board off for a swim further to the west, where the remains of a Byzantine chapel stand on the beach and where further sunken remains can be explored at ease by the swimmer with mask and snorkel.


Kas

was originally called Habesos or Habesa in the ancient tongue of Lycia and later was given the name Antiphellos. Kas was founded on the ancient town of Antiphellos and the Lycian style sarcophagus at the beginning of the avenue running down to the port is almost the symbol of this lovely town near Antalya in the Mediterranean region south of Turkey.

Antiphellos, which once was a member of the Lycian League, is known to have gained reputation and importance as a port town during the Hellenistic period, sustaining its significance as one of the leading towns during the Roman period as well.

Today's Kas is a coastal town of the Lycians. "Phellos" is the Greek word for "stony place" and this name is very well suited to Kas. Its well preserved rock tombs and theater are well worth seeing.

Kas today is a small and charming coastal resort where many sailing boats anchor in its small marina.

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Demre - Myra

Some people believe that Santa Claus did not exist but truth is that old Father Christmas did in fact exist as a historic personality. He did not come from beyond the North Pole where Reindeers roam, but lived under the warm Lycian sun as Bishop of Myra. His church and ex-tomb continue to exist as places of pilgrimage in the Turkish town of Demre (known also as Kale, near Antalya).

Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, was elected bishop during Diocletian's persecutions, and died in Myra around the year 350. This stories of his charitable acts took on legendary dimensions during the following centuries.

One of these stories concerned three boys who were hacked into pieces by a greedy butcher, who salted and pickled them for sale in his shop. Nicholas miraculously restored the boys to life. On another occasion, on hearing that the daughters of a poor Myran could not marry for lack of a dowry, Nicholas stole under the man's window at night and left a bag of gold for each girl. This act earned him the reputation of secretly delivering gifts in the black of night.

By the 10th century Nicholas had become the most popular folk saint in the Byzantine realm, counting as the patron of children, poor virgins, innocent prisoners, sailors and Russians. His tomb in Myra became the object of pilgrimages. A church was built around it in the 6th century. After it was destroyed in an Arab raid, the church was rebuilt in its present form with the help of Constantine IX and Empress Zoe in 1043.

The fame of St. Nicholas was brought to the west by Teophano, a Byzantine princess who married Otto II of Germany. In 1087 some Italian merchants broke into the tomb and removed the bones of Santa Claus to Bari, where the famous church of San Nicola di Bari was built. Miraculously, enough other bones were found in Myra and transferred to the Antalya Museum.

Myra features some of the most impressive and well preserved Lycian monuments in the country. These include an excellent collection of rock tombs and an imposing 2nd century theater.

Many of the tombs have log cabin features carved into the rock, presumably reflecting the domestic architecture of the period. A few easily accessible ones have inscriptions in the Lycian language. Carvings above are mostly in poor repair but the overall effect of this jumble of the architecture of death is dramatic.

The theater, like many others in major Roman cities, was later converted into an arena for gladiator fights and wild animal shows. Many carvings and inscriptions in the theater are still visible, and cavernous tunnels and access ways to the side have been cleared. While much of the seating is intact, the stage building is partly collapsed. A macabre set of three carved masks, presumably from the frieze, lies among the jumble of remains in the approach to the theater.

Today Demre is an important agricultural town on the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia.

Kastelorizo - Meis


Meis, or Kastellorizo, is a very pleasant day trip from Kas or Kalkan. This tiny Dodecanese island with its population of a couple of hundred, sits opposite the harbour of Kas and in the day time you could be forgiven for thinking it is uninhabited as the port town on the landward side can be a little hard to spot. At night however the lights of the houses, shops and restuarants along the promenade twinkle enticingly across the moonlight bay. Kastellorizo has an interesting history of its own, governed by Rhodes, Egypt, the Venetian Doge and the Ottoman Turks. It's 20th century history gets much more complicated with the little island passing through the hands of the French, Italians and the British. The events leading up to and including the 2nd World War pretty much decimated the island and its population and the fact that there's anybody here at all is a testament to the islanders determination to keep their community alive.

Most people get here by boat, there are ferries from Rhodes and, recently, direct from Athens and lots of private yachts pull in of an evening to lie up in the harbour for the night. You may not believe it but the island is served by Olympic airways from the Greek mainland with its own landing strip built on the island's central plateau in the 1980's. The airline shuttle bus is pretty much the only motorised transport on the island. Most people walk most places. The island has a hotel and a couple of Pansiyons but if you've come from Turkey staying overnight may not be an option, depending on the prevailing regulations, which are subject to change.

There's quite a lot to see here. The harbour area is charming with a warren of alleys and houses behind the pretty waterfront shops and restaurants. The churches, dedicated to a variety of St. Georges, provide landmarks to find your way around but you don't need to know very much to enjoy the atmosphere. For those who like to know what's what, Marina Pitsonis's booklet, 'Capture Kastellorizo' tells the story of the island and fills you in on buildings of interest and walking tours.


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