Monday 23rd July had us not only floating through history but over history amongst beautiful Islands on the Mediterrian coast of the Kekova region of Turkey.
I say floating over history as Kekova Island has ruins of an ancient city submerged under the water along the coast of the Island. They are the remains of the residential part of the settlement Simena that dates back to the Lycians at least the 4th century BC,and then built upon by the Romans. The settlement become submerged following an earthquake in the 2nd Century AD that caused it to subside into the sea. The beautifully clear aqua blue water allow a clear view of building foundations and stairways emerging out of the water leading to structures that remained above the waterline. Though we couldn’t swim directly over this particular stretch of ruins, (to preserve them till proper archeological surveys can be done) we were able to swim and snorkel in an ancient Byzantine shipyard with the ruins of a Byzantine chapel at the end of the cove. There was also evidence in the ruins still above the water line of christian influence from the Byzantine period as evidenced by some crosses on arches and stone work.
The secluded cove were we had a traditional turkish lunch on board our spacious boat that we had to ourselves also had as a backdrop ruins that came right to the waterline if not partly submerged as well. The abundance of traditional food, padded shaded lounges to snooze on as your meal settles before dropping into the warm clear blue waters of the Mediterrian to explore these ruins, gave us a very relaxing and memoriable day.
Just to add another layer of history this little cove is significant to the Turks as it was the cove were their battleship “Hamidiye” hid from the Italian’s in 1918.
After bathing and basking in the Mediterrian sun and waters we sailed onto the little village of Kalekoy the site of the commercial part of ancient Simena which has an ancient castle/fort towering over it and the surrounding hills dotted with numerous sacrophagi which are the unique stone house shaped tombs of the Lycians dating back to the 4th Centuary BC. The Castle/fort itself was built encompassing some Lycian temple tombs (4-5th C. BC) I gather by the Romans first and contains a small Roman ampitheatre that seats only 300. It was later usd by the Byzantines and some sources say the Knights of Saint John Crusaders.
All in all it was a day of enjoying the beautiful water and sun of the Mediterrian seeing layer upon layer of history merging into each other , but that is Turkey.