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Turkey's Turquoise Jewel: Unveiling Kekova Island

Jan 27

Kekova Island is a stunning destination located off the coast of Turkey, renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance. This picturesque island is a must-visit for travellers seeking a unique and enriching experience. Let's dive into the overview of Kekova Island's significance and explore its rich history and cultural importance.

Overview of Kekova Island's significance

  • Kekova Island is part of the larger area known as the Kekova-Simena Archaeological Site, which is of immense importance to historians and archaeologists.
  • The island is known for its stunning natural landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and rocky coastline, which makes it a popular destination for boating, swimming, and snorkelling.
  • One of the standout features of Kekova Island is the presence of ancient ruins submerged in the water. This underwater archaeological site is a sight to behold, offering a unique glimpse into the past.
  • The island serves as a living testament to the region's rich history and has been recognized as a protected area, ensuring its preservation for future generations to enjoy.

History and cultural importance of Kekova Island

  • The island was part of the ancient Lycian civilization, dating back to the 4th century BC. It was an important trade and maritime centre, contributing to the region's economic and cultural development.
  • In the past, earthquakes and other natural disasters caused some parts of the island to sink, including the ancient city of Dolchiste. Today, visitors can witness the submerged ruins and gain insight into the past.
  • Kekova Island also holds cultural significance, as it is steeped in mythology and folklore. According to legend, the island was connected to the mainland until the wrath of gods severed it due to the region's sinful deeds.
  • The island's strategic location in the Mediterranean made it a target for various civilizations, including the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. Their influence can be seen in the architectural remnants found on the island.

Kekova Island offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Whether you're a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to unwind in a tranquil setting, Kekova Island is sure to captivate your senses.


Geographical Features

Location and size of Kekova Island

Kekova Island is nestled off the picturesque coast of Turkey, offering visitors a mesmerizing escape. The island is situated within the Kekova-Simena Archaeological Site, an area of great historical and cultural significance. Its convenient location makes it easily accessible for travellers seeking to explore its wonders.

Spanning an area of around 4.5 square kilometres, Kekova Island is a relatively small but enchanting destination. Despite its size, it boasts a wealth of natural and historical treasures that will captivate your imagination and leave you in awe.

Geological formations and landscapes of Kekova Island

Kekova Island is renowned for its breathtaking geological formations and stunning landscapes, making it a haven for nature lovers. The island's rocky coastline and crystal-clear waters create a picturesque setting that is perfect for relaxation and exploration.

Visitors can marvel at the underwater wonders of Kekova Island, as ancient ruins are submerged beneath the surface. This unique underwater archaeological site offers a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing you to witness ancient history beneath the waves.

Geological Features Natural Landscapes
- Rocky coastline - Crystal-clear waters
- Submerged ancient ruins - Pristine beaches
- Unique geological formations - Lush vegetation

These geological features, combined with the island's natural landscapes, create a serene and breathtaking atmosphere that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


Underwater Ruins

Exploration of the underwater ruins in Kekova Island

As you dive into the crystal-clear waters surrounding Kekova Island, you will be transported to a world of ancient wonder. Exploring the underwater ruins is an unforgettable experience that allows you to see the remnants of ancient civilizations up close and personal. Swim over submerged walls and streets that were once inhabited by the ancient Lycians, and imagine what life was like in this ancient city.

Ancient Lycian civilization and their legacy

The underwater ruins on Kekova Island are a testament to the rich history of the ancient Lycian civilization. The Lycians were known for their advanced architectural skills and seafaring prowess. Today, their legacy lives on through the submerged ruins that you can explore, giving you a glimpse into their fascinating past.

Whether you're an avid diver or simply enjoy snorkelling, the underwater ruins of Kekova Island offer a unique and immersive experience that allows you to connect with the history of this ancient civilization.


Simena Castle and Kaleköy Village

History and architecture of Simena Castle

Immerse yourself in the rich history and captivating architecture of Simena Castle. This ancient fortress, situated on the hilltop overlooking Kekova Island, offers a glimpse into the past. Built by the Knights of St. John in the 14th century, Simena Castle stands as a testament to their engineering prowess and strategic location.

As you wander through the castle ruins, you'll be transported back in time. Marvel at the well-preserved walls, towers, and Roman sarcophagi scattered throughout the site. Climb up to the top of the castle for panoramic views of the surrounding turquoise waters, lush greenery, and awe-inspiring landscape.

Kaleköy Village and its connection to Kekova Island

Just a stone's throw away from the ruins of Simena Castle lies the charming village of Kaleköy. This quaint fishing village serves as the gateway to Kekova Island and offers a unique glimpse into traditional Turkish coastal life.

Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets adorned with colourful houses and vibrant bougainvillaea. Explore the local shops and cafes, where you can indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine and friendly conversations with the locals.

Kaleköy Village is also famous for its stunning integration with the surrounding nature. As you meander through the village, you'll find yourself immersed in lush vegetation and awe-inspiring views of the crystal-clear waters.


Boat Tours and Excursions

Popular boat tours and excursions to Kekova Island

When visiting Simena Castle and Kaleköy Village, don't miss the opportunity to explore Kekova Island on a boat tour or excursion. There are several popular tours available that allow you to experience the beauty and history of this enchanting destination.

One highly recommended tour is the Kekova Sunken City Boat Tour. This tour takes you on a scenic boat ride along the coast, giving you the chance to admire the picturesque views and crystal-clear waters. You'll have the opportunity to visit the sunken city, a submerged ancient settlement that will leave you in awe.

Another popular option is the Kekova Island and Myra Tour. This excursion not only takes you to Kekova Island but also includes a visit to the ancient city of Myra. Explore the remarkable Lycian rock-cut tombs and the well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, immersing yourself in the fascinating history of the region.

Highlights and activities during the tours

  • Swimming in the tranquil turquoise waters around Kekova Island
  • Snorkeling to discover the underwater ruins and marine life
  • Exploring the hidden coves and secluded beaches
  • Enjoying a delicious lunch on board, featuring fresh seafood and traditional Turkish dishes
  • Learning about the history and culture of the area from knowledgeable guides
  • Taking in the breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding islands
  • Feeling the gentle sea breeze as you relax on the deck of the boat

During the boat tours and excursions, you'll have the opportunity to create lasting memories as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty and historical wonders of Kekova Island.


Marine Life and Snorkeling

Diverse marine life around Kekova Island

When you visit Kekova Island on a boat tour or excursion, you'll have the opportunity to encounter a diverse range of marine life. The crystal-clear turquoise waters are home to an abundance of underwater creatures, making it a paradise for snorkelers and nature enthusiasts.

As you swim in the tranquil waters, keep an eye out for colourful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. The vibrant coral reefs provide a habitat for a variety of marine species, adding to the beauty and fascination of the underwater world.

Opportunities for snorkeling and underwater exploration

One of the highlights of the boat tours and excursions to Kekova Island is the chance to snorkel and explore the underwater ruins. Put on your snorkelling gear and dive into the clear waters to discover the remnants of the sunken city. Swim among the ancient walls and pillars, observing the fascinating marine life that now calls it home.

With the guidance of experienced instructors, even beginners can safely explore the underwater wonders. Whether you're an experienced snorkeler or a novice, the tours provide an unforgettable opportunity to immerse yourself in the intriguing world beneath the surface.

Don't miss the chance to capture mesmerizing photographs of the vibrant marine life and the submerged ruins. The tours offer ample time for you to capture these magical moments, ensuring that you have plenty of souvenirs from your adventure.

So, get ready to dive into the turquoise waters, explore the ancient ruins, and encounter fascinating marine creatures during your boat tour or excursion around Kekova Island.


Beaches and Bays

Beautiful beaches and bays of Kekova Island

When you visit Kekova Island on a boat tour or excursion, you'll be greeted by a paradise of beautiful beaches and stunning bays. The island boasts a picturesque coastline with crystal-clear turquoise waters and idyllic shores, creating the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation and exploration.

Whether you prefer lounging on golden sandy beaches or finding a secluded spot on a rocky cove, Kekova Island has something for everyone. The pristine beaches invite you to soak up the sun, unwind, and simply enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Relaxation and swimming spots

As you explore the beaches and bays of Kekova Island, you'll discover numerous places to take a refreshing dip in the warm waters. Enjoy a leisurely swim, cool off after sunbathing, or simply embrace the therapeutic feeling of being immersed in nature.

Some of the bays also offer hidden underwater caves and tunnels, which you can discover by snorkelling or diving. These hidden gems provide a sense of adventure and add an extra element of excitement to your beach day on Kekova Island.

Whether you're seeking a peaceful beach for relaxation or an active day of swimming and exploring, Kekova Island offers a range of options. The diverse landscapes and pristine beaches ensure that you'll find the perfect spot to unwind and create lasting memories during your visit.


Sustainable Tourism

Efforts to preserve and protect Kekova Island

When you visit Kekova Island on a boat tour or excursion, you'll be delighted to know that efforts are being made to preserve and protect the natural beauty of this paradise. Conservation organizations and local authorities work together to ensure that Kekova Island's ecosystem and cultural heritage are safeguarded for generations to come.

The island's pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique archaeological sites are delicate ecosystems that require careful management. Strict regulations are in place to prevent damage to the underwater archaeological remains, such as the sunken city of Simena, which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Additionally, efforts are made to preserve marine life and protect the biodiversity of the surrounding waters. Responsible fishing practices and marine conservation initiatives help maintain the balance of the underwater ecosystem, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and richness of Kekova's marine life.

Responsible tourism practices on the island

As a visitor to Kekova Island, you can also contribute to sustainable tourism practices by being mindful of your impact on the environment and local community. Here are some tips for responsible tourism on the island:

  • Respect the natural environment: Avoid leaving any litter or disturbing the flora and fauna. Help keep the beaches and bays clean by picking up any trash you come across.
  • Follow designated paths and trails: Stick to marked paths to minimize erosion and protect sensitive areas.
  • Support local businesses: Choose locally-owned accommodations, restaurants, and tour operators to support the local economy and promote sustainable livelihoods.
  • Conserve water and energy: Be mindful of your water and energy consumption by taking quick showers and turning off lights and appliances when not in use.
  • Learn about the culture and history: Respect the local traditions and heritage by learning about the island's history and engaging in cultural activities.

By practising responsible tourism, you can help ensure that Kekova Island remains a pristine and vibrant destination for future travellers to enjoy.


Recommendations for visiting Kekova Island safely

When you visit Kekova Island, it is important to prioritize your safety and the preservation of this beautiful destination. Here are some recommendations to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit:

  • Be aware of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before your visit and be prepared for any changes. Bring appropriate clothing, sunscreen, and protective gear if needed.

  • Follow safety guidelines: Always adhere to the instructions and guidelines provided by tour operators, guides, and local authorities. This may include wearing life jackets and following safety protocols during boat tours or excursions.

  • Take care when exploring archaeological sites: The sunken city of Simena and other archaeological sites on the island are fragile and require careful exploration. Follow designated paths and avoid touching or damaging any artefacts.

  • Swim in designated areas: If you plan to swim or snorkel, stick to designated swimming areas to ensure your safety and protect the underwater ecosystem.

  • Stay hydrated and bring essentials: Carry enough water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized during your visit.

  • Notify someone of your plans: Inform a trusted person about your visit to Kekova Island, including your itinerary and expected return time.

By following these recommendations, you can have a safe and responsible visit to Kekova Island while preserving its natural beauty for future generations. Enjoy your trip!