A day-trip in the warm winter sun to the island of Kekova and Simena is like a dream come true... there is everything I asked for in life: Turkaz sea, beautiful scenery, peace and quietness, photogenic villages, and lots of olive trees (plus what probably is the most idyllic cemetery in the world....)

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.... and the sight of a Lycian sarcophagus against such picturesque backdrop actually makes the view all the more interesting,

While hanging around the modern harbour of Andriake taking photos of the ancient ruins, I met a boat captain who was willing to take me out to Kekova and Simena the next day on a small private fishing boat for just 50YTL. Knowing that the price for each person in the summer months was about 30-50YTL on a crowded gulet boat from Kas, 50YTL for a full-day trip on a private rental basis with a private captain and the freedom to stop anywhere I like or visit anywhere I want does not sound too bad....

My private fishing boat trip started off from Cayagiz (modern Andriake) near Demre. The advantage of going to Kekova with a small fishing boat is that you can actually approach the sunken ruins off the shore of Kekova and observe them at close range.

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The pier at Simena. In the centre of the photo is the little fishing boat 'Bayar', with which I toured the Kekova and Simena.

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Parts of the ancient ruins on Kekova Island - see the steps leading into the sea??

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Many of the ruins are submerged in water after the earthquake.

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The view of the village of Simena (Kalekoy = Castle Village in Turkish) from Kekova Island.

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The village of Simena and the castle (built by the Order of St. John's from Rhodes) perched majestically on top of the hill.

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Kekova is famous for the sunken city (about 2-6m below the sea level) and the beautiful sceneries en route.

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Simena's picturesque little harbour. In the summer, this place is full of day-trip gulets from Kas and Cayagiz but on that day, I am the only visitor to the village, and our little fishing boat the only boat in the entire Gulf of Kekova!!! Quite a feat....

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Great view of the Kekova Island and the village of Simena from the castle.

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With all those cypress trees, this could also be somewhere in Italy or Provence. I wish I could own a villa or a house here. Imagine the view that awaits you every morning...

The village of Simena is currently under heritage protection, which means no more new houses or buildings are allowed on the island. All renovations to existing buildings and structures have to be approved of by the authorities before hand. Thus it is not easy to acquire a house in the village unless you have really good connections to the authorities....

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Frontal view of the village of Simena and its colourful waterfront restaurants and cafes (all closed in winter, but business are good in the summer).

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The entire village of Simena is also full of Lycian sarcophagus - which means the whole village was once the site of some Lycian cemetery a dozen of centuries ago - but come on, these sarcophagus actually look quite cute and they are certainly not scary or eerie. In fact I found them quite 'sweet' because of their shape - if you know what I am talking about....

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Look, what a backdrop and what a view.... there certainly aren't too many cemeteries in the world with such gorgeous views. This has got to be one of the most beautiful and most spectacular cemeteries in the world....

 

Copyrights 2009. All text and photos by YC Cheng. All Rights Reserved.


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