Kumluca

The county of Kumluca contains a 53km segment of the Lycian Way, which is part of the Via Eurasia in Turkey. The route was first waymarked and signposted in 1999 and includes 3 days of trekking on footpaths, old roads and forestry tracks.

Kumluca Today

Kumluca is a town and district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, part of the Turkish Riviera. It is located 90 km (56 mi) south-west of the city of Antalya, on the Teke Peninsula, (between the bays of Antalya and Fethiye). The town has a fast-growing population of 65,000 people, including the centre and the neighborhoods. The town of Kumluca, formerly the village of Sarıkavak, is named for its sandy soil (kum meaning sand in Turkish), good for growing watermelons.

The centre of the district is a plain pointing north from the Mediterranean coast and surrounded by mountains on three sides. The northern part of the district is hilly or mountainous. Summers are hot and dry, winters cool and wet as one would expect in a Mediterranean district. The coast never gets snow but it snows in the mountains. In this climate fruit and vegetables can be grown under glass or plastic all year round and this is the mainstay of the local economy, along with orange trees.

History Of Kumluca

In Roman times, the bay in front of Kumluca was a shallow sea, later becoming a marsh and only recently reclaimed as an area of greenhouses. In 655AD, a notable sea battle took place in the bay between the Byzantine navy and the Arab forces led by Harun Al Rashid. After a change of wind, the Byzantine ships were driven onto the beach and the Arabs scored their first naval victory. This battle and continued Arab raids resulted in coastal depopulation and abandonment of cities as people moved inland for safety. For a thousand years, the coast was depopulated.

The first modern settlement in Kumluca was founded in 1830, 5 km to the east, on the skirts of the hills and the name of the town was Sarıkavak, and was part of Finike, which was in turn a district of Iğdırmağardıç, a district of Antalya. Iğdırmağardıç split into two regions, known as Kumluca and Kemer. While Kemer became a district of Antalya, Kumluca became a district of Finike. In 1924, Kuzca district was linked to Gödenye (Altınyaka) and, due to large number of nomads settling there, Kumluca district was set up in the same place as today’s town centre. These movements reflect both the permanent settlement of nomads and the movement from the mountains to the coast as malaria came under control. Quite recently, Kumluca grew and became a separate district from Finike.

Stages

  1. Cirali to Adrasan via Musa Dagi and Olympos 12.6 km 

    From Cirali the route passes through the ruins and along Olympos beach, then ascends in steep zigzags through forest on a path starting near the necropolis by the river. Once you reach the hilltop, there is a city, Phoenikos, and water, then two summer yaylas close to the top of the steep ridge of Beşcam Dağ – Musa Dağı / Moses Mountain.
    The route to Adrasan follows a path once used by camels going to the summer pastures; it descends into a gorge before following a stream down to the north end of Adrasan beach.

  1. Adrasan to Karaoz 20.6 km 

    In summer, if you start early you could complete this strenuous, exposed trek in one day; otherwise be prepared to camp. The only water sources are a tap behind Korsankoy / Pirates’ Cove and the cistern at the lighthouse – in late season this will certainly be dry. From Adrasan until the turn towards the lighthouse, the route runs through forest over footpaths, which are often steep and stony although well-used. The route passes by the ruins of Melanippe before reaching Korsankoy Bay and finishing on a forest road.

  1. Karaöz to Finike via Mavikent 30 km 

    After Karaöz, the route passes inviting beaches where you could swim or camp. It then crosses the delta of the Alakır Çay, which has formed a plain about 20km long and 15km deep. It’s possible to walk the whole length of the sandy beach but if you don’t fancy a few hours’ walk in the sun, you can take public transportation from Mavikent, in the extreme SE of the plain to Kumluca and from Kumluca to Finike.

Transport

There is easy road access from Antalya, Kemer, Finke, Demre and Kaş to Kumluca town, and public transport to Çıralı and Adrasan from the main Antalya road, and from Kumluca main bus station to Mavikent. The route is suitable for day-hikers as well as long-distance trekkers.

Accommodation

Pensions and camps are available in Olympos, Adrasan. Pensions in Karaöz and Finike.

Interesting Places in Kumluca

RHODIAPOLIS

Rhodiapolis was an ancient city in Lycia, located on a hill northwest of the modern town Kumluca. The remains of an aqueduct, a small theatre, a temple of Asclepius, sarcophagi, and churches are still visible on the site. In 2011 a Lycian cemetery complex was discovered, including the grave of Opramoas, who donated massive funds to the restoration of public buildings after the earthquake of 141AD; his donations are listed on the grave.

OLYMPOS

The rambling ruins of ancient Olympos are scattered in woodland beside a stream that runs directly to the sea. Pompey attached the city to free it from pirates – there is a grave of a pirate chief with a ship relief at the entrance to the site. The occupation by the Romans, brought about the city’s rejuvenation and the cult of Mithraism. In Byzantine times there was a bishop; a small palace remains. In the Middle Ages the Venetians and Genoese built fortresses along the coast.

 

Chimaera Flame

The flames are in the hills at the north end of Çıralı beach. Olympians devoutly worshipped Hephaestus (Vulcan), the blacksmith god or god of fire, which may have been inspired by the Chimaera. Nearby is a temple, later converted to a church. There may have been a tower funnelling the flames upwards, as Strabo mentions that the flame could be seen from far out to sea.

 

GELIDONYA LIGHTHOUSE

Gelidonia Lighthouse consists of a squat white tower with an attached house and yard; around are dilapidated out-buildings and a water cistern. The lighthouse is no longer used. The rotating light was installed in 1936 by a French company and originally powered by clockwork and oil. The mechanism was changed first to bottled gas, then to wind-power and finally solar panels were added.

 

KORSAN KOYU

Korsankoy / Pirate Bay is an almost circular bay below the peninsula where the ruins of Melanippe, a Lycian/Roman city are covered in scratchy maquis. There are various Byzantine ruins closer to the shore. Occupied for many years by pirates, it was in an ideal position for ships to wait in order to ambush trading ships following the coast to the large port at Phoinikos / Finike.

 

Sion Silver hoard

In the suburbs of Kumluca, in 1963, of a cache of silver and gold treasure from the Sion Monastery was discovered. This is one of only three hoards of Byzantine silver, so of inestimable value. Unfortunately part was smuggled to the USA where it ended up in Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington. The other part, including huge altar plates, lamp mounts and an incense burner, can be seen in Antalya Museum.

                        


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