After 10 hours of sleep and a big breakfast, we felt rested and ready to explore. We boarded our bus at 8 AM, and began the day. We past small villages, and numerous farms and a series of greenhouses with ripe tomatoes ready to fall of the vine. We stopped briefly above Kalkan to take in the view and catch a glimpse of this popular vacation town. This town was transformed after the majority of its population left and returned to Greece following the formal population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1925. The relocated population moved to Greece and founded a town with a similar name, ‘Kalamaki’. It is a popular stop for yachts and sail boats, and due to its location, it is also a good base for those interested in exploring the ancient cities of Patoon, Xantos and Letoon. It also had one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen: Kaputas Beach. With steep stairs hanging off the cliff, you are led to a small cove covered in smooth, white stones to catch a glimpse of the turquoise and blue water.
After this brief stop, we continued our trip to Kekova, where we boarded a boat to tour the surrounding islands. There are Lycian tombs scattered on the hillsides. We looked at the popular vacation town of Kalekoy, which is situated on the ancient city of Simena. At the top of the hill, beyond the village is a castle which was built in the Middle Ages. In the same area is a theater, a Roman wall, and the ruins of the public baths. After passing Kalekoy, we travelled close to the shore of Kekova Island, which is protected island which is 4 miles long and contains the historical ruins of a Lycian city. Below the water, you can see the foundations of old shops, the ruins of sunken houses and various stairways the descend into the water. The ruins of an old Byzantine church can also be spotted from the water.
After the boat tour, we ate lunch at a restaraunt near the harbor and wandered through some of the stands selling tea leaves, handmade clothing and jewlery. We boarded the bus once again and headed towards Kas, a waterfront vacation town everyone predicted we would love. It is a beautiful town, full of vibrant colors, cobblestone streets, lively cafes and bars, and eclectic shops and boutiques. The town was established over the Lycian city of Habesos (in the Lycian Language) or Antiphellos (in Greek). A theater from the Hellenistic period remains on the western side of the modern town. It has 26 rows, and once held 4,000 people. With a beautiful harbor, cute cafes and seaside bars, and nice boutique hotels, I am determined to return to Kas to explore more of the surrounding region.
Patara was our last destination of the day. It is the famed birthplace of Apollo, as well as Saint Nicholas. The ancient city of Patara was one of the most significant cities in the Lycian Leaugue. It was one of four cities to hold three votes in the legislative body, and served as a port city. The city opened its doors to Alexander the Great, and it was the capital of Lycia (and home to the Roman Provincal Governor) during the Roman period. Unfortunately, the sun began to set shortly after our arrival, so we did not spend as much time as we would have liked wandering through the ruins of this significant city. However, we walked all around the enormous theater, which once sat 5,000 people. Excavations of Patara began relatively recently. Much of the city remains underground. It will take at least 20-30 years to understand and see the true significance of Patara. It is expected to hold the same importance of Epheseus and Pergamon.
As the sun began to set, we ended our day wandering to the beach that is a part of this national park and historic site. There is a boardwalk that leads to a beautiful sandy beach. On this beach we witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen in my life. It was the perfect end to day two of our Lycia tour….