The Landscape of Lycia
Ancient Cities, Wooded Hills, Deep Gorges and Rugged Mountains
The rugged mountains of this magnificent landscape rise steeply from the Turquoise Coast of the Aegean Sea, dotted with rocky coves and sweeping bays. The highest peaks of the Taurus mountains rise to 10,000 feet, with foaming streams and fast-flowing rivers cutting through deep gorges and densely wooded slopes down to fertile valleys.
The splendor of the scenery and the variety of the local wildlife is unequalled anywhere else in Turkey,
with some of the most spectacular mountain and sea views imaginable. Walking the Lycian Way is an excellent guidebook for anyone planning a walking holiday in this area, which has been described by the Sunday Times as one of the World's Top Ten Walks.
In ancient times this was a thriving and prosperous region, and many traces of its former inhabitants still cover the landscape, from the many rock tombs to whole cities abandoned hundreds - even thousands - of years ago. The whole region was united in pre-Roman times under a confederation of cities known as the Lycian League.
One of the leading members of the Lycian League was the ancient city of Patara. A visit to this site has the additional advantage of its proximity to one of the best beaches on the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey.
Xanthos is another of the famous ancient sites of Lycia. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the ruins of this once proud but tragic city stretch for miles over a low hill top with panoramic views over the surrounding valley. Home to a fiercely proud people, the inhabitants choose mass suicide rather than surrender, not once, but twice in their history.
Firstly when beseiged by the Persians in the middle of the 6th century BC, then again 500 years later when threatened by the Roman armies of Brutus, the infamous assassin of Julius Caesar.
Other major sites in the area - all between 10 to 45 minutes from Uzumlu include Cadianda, Tlos, Letoon, Pinara and Sidyma. Click here to see more links to the ancient sites of Lycia.
About 40mins from Uzumlu, Saklikent Gorge is a deep cleft plunging 17 km through a precipitous mountainside, with walls up to 1000 feet high.
A fast flowing torrent gushes from the entrance, rendering access impossible - until recent years, when a walkway was built, suspended along the cliffs, giving access to the interior of the Gorge.
Now the intrepid explorer can walk the Gorge for over 1km, admiring the towering cliffs on either side, worn and sculpted by the furious action of the river over thousands of years.
An al fresco restaurant is also available for the less intrepid - or the just plain hungry after an exhilarating walk - set on a small island in the Gorge surrounded by the swirling waters.
Alongside the river below the Gorge are many other outdoor restaurants, as well as other activities such as river rafting and mud baths.
Go here for more details about Saklikent Gorge.