Finike

The township of Finike is developing as a tourism centre beneath the shade of the orange orchards. When the orange trees are in flower your first impression is the swift breeze carrying the strong, light scent of the fields. The areas not covered with orange trees are filled with vegetable greenhouses. When you come into the town from the direction of Kaş, your first sight of the plain of Finike, apart from the blue of the sea, is the shiny look of the sun’s rays on the greenhouses. This is a very clean, very bright town. In the direction of Kumluca there is a long, wide beach with pensions, motels, and small restaurants behind. The growing tourism industry in Antalya is likely to spread to this region in time. The first five-star hotel in the area has recently opened, and more new investments are on the way. It was in this region, in Myra (Demre), that Christianity was first spread in this part of Turkey. The area was first settled as far back as 3000 BC. The plain of Finike is narrow and flat, while the mountains descend steeply into the sea. Between the sea and the mountains there is a flat area of three to four kilometres. This is why the coastline is indented. The Akçay River comes down from the mountains and pours into the sea at Finike. On the higher grounds there are plateaus and residential areas. The building of a marina in Finike has made the area one of the stops for sea voyages.

Limyra

 

If you follow the Elmalı road from Finike for six kilometres, you come to Turuncova. From Turuncova, turn onto the old Kumluca road and, after a further four kilometres, you reach the village of Yuvalilar. On the outskirts of this village is the ancient city of Limyra. Excavations of the site, which began in 1969, have moved slowly and the houses in the region have not been fully evacuated.

 

The ancient city of Limyra was founded in the 5th century BC. During the reign of Pericles it was the capital of the Lycian Union and one of the six cities in the league that held three votes. In the Byzantine period, it was a religious centre and a bishopric. You should start your visit to the city at the theatre, which stands to the right of the side of the road. It is in quite good condition and was built on the skirts of a hillside. On the top of the hill is the Xatabura monumental tomb, an excellent example of Lycian art. This tomb was built for the grandson of the Roman Emperor Augustus, Gaius Caesar, who died here while travelling.

 

The hill between the theatres is full of houses and rock-hewn tombs. A small number of them have been restored, though the other houses and tombs cover quite a large area. On the top of the hill are the acropolis and a Byzantine church. On the southern side of the acropolis hill, a heroon (monument to a hero) was unearthed. The 19x 18- metre heroon sits on a terrace cleared on the stony ground and is believed to have been built in memory of Pericles. Work is under way to prepare displays of the statues, walls, and ground decorations. To walk to the top of the hill takes about forty minutes. For a small fee, young villagers will guide you around the site. Most speak a little English and German.

In order to see the remains on the right of the site you have to cross the stream. On this side are a Byzantine church, the baths, and the city walls. The course of the current stream used to be a main street seven metres wide with columns on either side.

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Arykanda

 

On the Finike-Elmali road, a 17-kilometre trip through beautiful scenery, along a road continuously rising through the pines and cedar trees, leads to the village of Catallar.

The ancient city of Arykanda is one kilometre from the village of Arif. The city rests against the very steep rocks behind it. From below it reveals its impressive beauty. The city lies on terraces that rise step by step, and you visit the ruins under the shade of pine and cedar trees.

It is believed that Arykanda was founded in 2000 BC. However, items unearthed in the area, such as bowls and coins, have been dated to the 5th century BC. No remains from earlier periods have been found. The ancient city was a member of the Lycian Union, holding a single vote.

 

The city was damaged in an earthquake in 141 and restored with the help of Opramoas of Rhodiapolis. In the year 240, while under Roman rule, it was once again badly damaged by an earthquake. From the 4th century onwards, the people of Arykanda were under the influence of Christianity. The city was again destroyed by earthquake in the 5th century, after which its people moved near the site of the current village of Catallar. In the 7th and 8th centuries, with waves of Arab invaders attacking the area, the residents sought protection and moved to higher ground in the mountains. Arykanda was discovered in 1838 by a British explorer. The excavations that began in 1971 are still continuing.

 

At the entrance of the city, the first monument you see is the baths complex on the right. The walls and windows are still standing. On the opposite terrace there are the ruins of a large basilica. A necropolis covers the right side of the hill. There is an interesting relief on the top of a large stone block. The site is quite high above sea level, and, since it is amidst trees, Arykanda can be visited comfortably even on the hottest days. The hillside houses, in very good condition, are another interesting sight. When you look down towards the plain and the sea from the site, there is a breathtaking vista. When the forest ends at the start of the plain, the orange fields and the greenhouses begin. Then, as far as the eye can see, stretches the blue of the Mediterranean. The main remains of the city are on the left, on the outskirts of the rising steep rocks. The Odeon behind the state agora is so well preserved that concerts can be held there. It was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian and the city council used to meet there. Behind the Odeon there is a small, nicely reserved theatre with twenty rows of seats.

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