Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I woke up early in preparation for the hike to the Carian ancient city of  Kaunos  which is located on the other side of the river from the town of Dalyan.

I remember the rowing boat (not the motor boat) at the entrance of the municipal tea garden - cay bahcesi – the other day, these boats cross the river to the other side, so I boarded in one, paid TL4 to the jolly boatman.

The cheerful boatman.

Lycian tombs on the face of the cliff.

Upon reaching the other side, I got to have a close up look at the Lycian tombs on the cliff.  I bought a bottle of water at one of the riverside store and started walking along the concrete paved road.  Though it’s not summer, the sun is brilliant and I forgot to bring a sunscreen.  Along the way, there are locals in front of their houses selling jams, freshly squeezed orange, lemon and pomegranate juices, I bought a small plastic bottle of orange juice at TL5, it's nice to contribute to local neighborhood economy, right?

It is an easy walk passing by pomegranate orchards on the sides of the road, no arduous climb at all except perhaps some meters before the entrance.  Less than half an hour had past and I have reached the place,  I paid the entry fee of TL 8.

The ruins of the ancient city is scattered across the valley, some are intact, others are fragments.

So what do you expect to see in Kaunos?

Domed Church at the Acropolis.

According to Greek Mythology, the ancient city was built by the grandson of Apollo from his son Miletos.

Kaunos is a prosperous sovereign state minting their own currency and is constructed on terraces within  scenic surroundings.  On the upper level beyond the entrance is the Acropolis with what I thought was a basilica is the enormous Roman Bath under restoration and is considered to be the most preserved surviving model from the roman imperial times located on the left side.  On the right is the 6th century AD Kubbeli Kilise or Domed Church (where I found a family of tourists picnicking inside, what a choice of spot when the area is huge), further beyond is the grand amphitheater that can seat 5,000 spectators dating as far back as the Hellenistic era.  Gaze up and you will spot the walls crowning the highest hill 152 meters above sea level which oversee the whole area beyond the amphitheater is the acropolis hill

5,000-seat ampitheater.

Access to the lower town of Kaunos is through a portico that leads to a winding collonaded street onto layers of terraces where there is the temple dedicated to Zeus Soteros, Baselius Kaunios temple, the sacred precinct of Apollo.  

Portico entrance to the lower town.

The ancient bath house and rock tombs which are the first sights you'll see right at the river bank.  A walk along the collonade will lead you to a wide area of columns, probably a plaza, and further down near the Sukluklu Lake is the agora, sort of a plaza, and since it's beside the old port of Kaunos, it may have served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods amidst the colonnades. The Kaunos agora was decorated with several monuments and statues as evidenced by many harbor stoa in the area.  There are several goats and cows grazing around the lake.

Precinct of Apollo.

Before leaving the place, climb the uppermost level of the amphitheater to have a good view of the surrounding and the glimmering Sulluklu Gol (translated as Leech Lake) which was the old harbor of Kaunos during the ancient times when the lake was still functioning as a port, but due to the silting of the delta, the water receded and the sea went further, Kaunos lost its importance as a merchant city and started to become poor.

View of Sulluklu Lake from the stadium.

There is a restaurant or lokanta down the path beyond the church but was close when I went there, so better be prepared with some snacks and buy some bottled water before coming to Kaunos, you may not find any store near the area.  There are clean restrooms located behind the amphitheater so don’t just do your “thing” anywhere.

The ancient city is nominated for inclusion to the UNESCO World Heritage list.  A visit to the ruins is fascinating and one of the highlights of Dalyan.

I walked my way along the same road back to the river bank where I sat at one of the open-air cafeteria before hopping on one of the boats and ordered a plate of delicious sweet gozleme.

Crossing by rowing boat back to the center of Dalyan I don’t have to pay the boat lady as the TL4 I’ve paid this morning was for a return fare.

Delicious gozleme.

I’m thinking of going to Koycegiz tomorrow and go to Sultaniye Thermal bath or perhaps the mud bath? Not sure, let us see.


  1. Have been to Dalyan trip with but have never been to Kaunos though guide told us when we were passing rock tombs by the river that those tombs belong to Kaunos authorities. I am going to visit Fethiye this year and think about renting a car to be able to Kaunos myself. Your article makes me really anxious.

    1. Kaunos is just a kilometer or so hike away from the river, easy DIY, you don't really need to book a car or a guided tour. Enjoy!