Kekova island in Turkey is rightly called the “pearl of the Mediterranean.” It is small – with an area of only 4.5 square meters. km, but there are always a lot of tourists. This island is included in all yachting routes in Turkey, there is excellent diving, and one of the most popular attractions is boat trips with a glass bottom.
In fact, the island belongs to Turkey, but numerous archaeological finds tell us that this is still Greece. On this small piece of land are the ruins of four ancient cities at once – Dolichist, Aperlai, Teymussa and Simena.
There are no hotels here, but there are some very cozy family guest houses with a gorgeous view from the windows. Pensions are open all year.
Attractions and attractions Kekova
On the north side of the island of Kekova lie the ruins of the ancient city of Dolichist, destroyed by an earthquake, which partially went under water. The ruins of many structures are visible above the water, some houses lie below water level. At the southwestern tip of the island, the apse of the ruined church is preserved.
In 1990, Kekova Island and its environs were declared a protected area, and therefore it was strictly forbidden to swim and dive in this area. Subsequently, this ban was lifted with the exception of the ruins of sunken cities.
In addition to the island itself with the ruins of the ancient city of Dolikhist, the Kekova district also includes the villages of Kalekoy (ancient Simena) and Uchayyz (ancient Teimussa) located on the Turkish coast one kilometer from each other, as well as the ancient city of Aperlai.
Kalekoy is a small village about 7000 years old. It is located on a hill between Kas and Calais on the Mediterranean coast, right in the middle of the partially sunken Lycian necropolis and opposite the island of Kekova. You can get to Kalekoy by boat, on foot from the village of Uchaiz, or by car: in early 2009, the Turks built a road almost to the village itself. Climbing up from the coast, you can see two large graves in the form of sarcophagi. Even higher at the foot of the fortress wall are the ruins of one of the ancient temples. At the top of the hill in Kaleköy is an ancient Byzantine (and later Ottoman) fortress. On the east side of the fortress is a necropolis, remarkable for two stone Lycian tombs in the form of houses. Inside the walls there is a small amphitheater carved into the rock.
Uchaiz – aka Teimussa (“Three mouths”) – a small village, the same age as Simena. It is built on the ruins of an ancient city. Well preserved sarcophagi of the Lycian period. They can be viewed completely free of charge, having walked about 800 meters from the village of Uchayyz to the east along the Lycian trail.
In the coastal waters of the island are the ruins of the ancient cities of Aperlai, Simen, Kekov and Teymussa sunken as a result of an earthquake, underwater caves and protected bays.
Aperlai is another Lycian city, now in ruins, located west of Uchayz near the port of Sijak, which was one of the largest ports in Turkey in the Gulf of Kas. Today, only the ancient ruins of the once powerful Aperlai fortress have survived – ancient sarcophagi, the remains of city walls, a fortress and ancient columns. In the northwest of the fortress, the ruins of the Byzantine church are noteworthy. Above the northern city walls rise three square watchtowers. Inside the fortress, the ruins of a small Byzantine chapel have been preserved. The city’s necropolis is interesting for Lycian sarcophagi, decorated with bas-reliefs and inscriptions.
Popular excursions: walking tours of the ancient ruins, spearfishing or fishing, mini-cruises on pleasure yachts sailing over the sunken city: through the glass bottom you can look at the ruins of ancient buildings.
Diving in Kekovo
In the coastal waters of the island are the ruins of the ancient cities of Aperlai, Simen, Kekov and Teymussa sunken as a result of an earthquake, underwater caves and protected bays. The coastline of Kekova Island is dotted with antique objects – here at a depth of 5-6 m you can see marble columns, statues, stone stairs, sidewalks, walls of houses, the promenade and the remains of the ancient port, and in some places the covers of the Lycian sarcophagi rise above the sea surface.
Near the island there are several dive sites, among which one can distinguish a site with the Iberian Coast ship sank in 2003, 72 meters long.
A 40-minute walk from the pier on the south side of the island is The Wall dive site. Here, stingrays live on the sandy bottom, there are barracudas, moray eels, crabs, sea ruffs, groupers, and you can also see ancient amphorae. Another Antrum site is notable for its cliff and cave, the bottom of which is formed by interesting rock formations, soft and hard corals.
On the north side of the island of Kekova lie the ruins of the ancient city of Dolichist, destroyed by an earthquake, which partially went under water.
The Blue Cave or Blue Cave site got its name from the blue color that fills the cave, branching into many rooms and passages.