People’s in the Morning, Turtles’ in the Evening
The Dalyan Strait starts at the Köyceğiz Lake, then curves and stretches towards the sea. The point where the Strait meets the sea is a true natural wonder, the Iztuzu Beaches whose value has been recognized worldwide. Home of caretta carettas, the glittering golden beaches that combine fresh and sea water spread as far as the eye can see and portray heaven on earth.
Iztuzu Beach stretches for miles from the point where Dalyan protrudes to sea and all the way up to the top of radar hill. On one front of Iztuzu that stretches for approximately 6 kilometers, you can enter the sea, and on the other front you can enter the sweet fresh water from the lake. While listening to peace, calm and the sound of waves or still waters, Iztuzu makes you dream with its beauty.
The ancient city of Caunos in Dalyan was a port city in the past and there was no beauty like Iztuzu at the time. The bed of Dalaman Stream changed with an earthquake that took place in the early 200 BC, and Iztuzu started to show itself as the coasts began to fill. The rocks on the seaside shed their sands and this enormous beach appeared, overlooking fresh water on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other.
We learn from the historian Herodotus that the Caunos people were also trading salt. With its rediscovery years later, today, a salt marsh that survived for thousands of years is spotted behind Iztuzu.
Road to the Beach
It is possible to reach Iztuzu by a half-hour boat or minibus ride from the center of Dalyan. When you arrive by land, you reach Iztuzu, and when you arrive by boat, you arrive at the area called Dalyanağzı (Dalyan’s Mouth) Beach. The boat ride promises a wholly unique experience. You can see the famous mud bath stops on the way and the King Tombs of Ancient City Caunos carved into the rocks. So the boat ride takes you from the traces of history to the wonders of nature.
The beauty of İztuzu Beach has naturally attracted the attention of the world. Chosen as the Best Open Area of Europe by the Times in 2008 and deemed worthy titles such as Europe’s Best Beach Destination, Iztuzu carries the blessings of nature in its heart.
Home of Turtles
One of the species taken under worldwide protection, the caretta caretta turtles come to Iztuzu to lay their eggs every year between May and September. Therefore the nests of caretta carettas are also under protection. The beach is closed to people between 8 pm to 8 am, the period of which they come to lay their eggs. Iztuzu respects nature’s cycles and fertility.
Due to its sheltered structure, it is overall an untouched geography. During the day you can enjoy the beach, fresh or salt water, and revel in being away from the crowds at Iztuzu. On the long beaches whose nature has not been polluted by enterprises, the flow of time comes to a stop and mixes with the flow of water. The blue of the sky and the sea, the pale yellow of the sands and the overpowering green of the strait that nestles deep in Dalyan soil draw you into a timeless tale.
Dalyan Kitchen 101
Aegean cuisine’s delicious olive oil dishes, herb roasts, assorted fish, rare crabs and dazzling pomegranate gardens…
Dalyan cuisine is ready for your appetite!
Delicious Abundance of Water
Water coasts have always been the routes of fertility, diversity and happiness. This abundance is reflected not only in human relationships, but also in the kitchens. So with its sea, straits and lakes, it’s no surprise that the star in the Dalyan kitchens is the seafood. Seafood holds a special place here in Dalyan since the word sea means that fishing is limited to reserved areas.
Sea bream, gray mullet and sea bass grown in their natural environment; regional freshwater bream; white grouper, striped sea bream, eel and red mullet will turn Dalyan into a paradise for any fish-loving gourmet.
While we’re on the subject of seafood, you must not miss out on Dalyan’s famous blue crab and give it a try. The scientific name of the blue crab is callinectes sapidus. Why do we mention this? Because even its scientific name seems to be dedicated to its beauty. Calli means beautiful; nectes means swimmer; and sapidus means delicious. The name even contains its taste.
It’s a beautiful blue/green color under the shells of the red clawed female blue crabs. The blue crab meat is nutritionally rich and also functions as a natural aphrodisiac. Blue crab is grown in different parts of the country, but the taste of Dalyan blue crab is quite special. What gives it its delicious taste is the fact that they grow where sea water and fresh water meet.
The Dominance of Delicious Vegetables
Thanks to the rich flora of Dalyan, we see the vegetables we’re used to seeing in the Aegean cuisine. Radicchio, hibiscus, field beans, spinach are consumed abundantly and lovingly. It’s a different kind of love locals have for field beans. Even before its flowers bloom, a delicious salad is often made with its collected leaves.
The Aegean cuisine shows a different side with its delicious mushrooms that are unique to Dalyan. Though Dalyan is a region rich with various types of mushrooms, its traditional mushroom roast is something else. Grown in the mountains and humid areas during autumn, these mushrooms loaded with iron and protein guarantee your happiness with its incredible taste.
Another element that makes Dalyan’s both kitchen and view magnificent is its citrus, in particular the pomegranate gardens. It is priceless to stroll through the pomegranate gardens that resemble still life paintings, or starting your day with pomegranate jam or molasses with your breakfast.
As Aegean cuisine, Dalyan has a culinary tradition that mainly consists of seafood and herbs. But this doesn’t mean meat dishes are not consumed here. Chicken, liver and roasts are among the most preferred meat dishes.
Dalyan’ farmer’s market set every Saturday is as colorful as the variety of its cuisine. Make sure to stop by this market that awakens the senses with the freshest of fruits and vegetables, colors and smells of spices, all kinds of jams and many souvenirs.
The Indelible Imprint of Civilizations in Dalyan; Caunos Ancient City
How about going on a historical journey in Dalyan following the steps of the Carians?
On the west side of the Dalyan strait, one of the most important cities of the Carian Civilization, Caunos Ancient City, invites you to thousands of year ago.
Built in 9th century BC, the Carian city Caunos – also known as Kbid – is situated within the borders of Çandır Village, 152 meters above sea level from Dalyan, commanding glorious views of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. Caunos was a port city during the Carians. Now known as Sülüklü Lake was located right next to is and was actually the city port before the Dalyan delta filled up the sea. The awe-inspiring nature of the lake that replaced the port carries with it the history, beauty and wisdom of thousands of years.
Caunos, the Star of the Sad Myths
The first time Caunos is mentioned in history is found in the texts about the Persian Wars. There are mythological stories about how the city was founded. One of these stories, probably the most interesting one goes like this: The founder of the city Caunos is one of the twins of Apollo’s son Miletos, the Carian King. His twin Byblis falls in love with Caunos. When he finds this out, Caunos decides to settle somewhere far far away. This is how the city of Caunos was built. According to mythology, the Dalyan fountains are filled with Byblis’ tears shed upon her despair.
Stories of History are hidden in Caunos
Navigating through the ruins of the Ancient City of Caunos will allow you to come closer to past lives, legends, ancient technologies and cultures. The city walls, amphitheater, Roman bath structures, agora, acropolis, temples, harbors, and of coure the Tombs of the Kings and many more undiscovered sites will all tell you the historical significance, progress and belief systems of Caunos. Just listen to the sounds of history.
In the city where you can touch the past with every step, one of the most impressive sites is the city walls at the Acropolis. The walls that protect the city were built in steep locations with partly hard and partly soft folds without using mortar. The walls whose width can go up to 4 meters were built with the technique of carving and intertwining of the stones. It’s unclear with what kind of labor or technology these walls were built thousands of years ago, but it’s certain that you’ll admire the majestic and noble way it embraces Caunos.
With its 5000 people capacaity Greek style amphitheater that points to 4th century BC, the domed church which is one of the best preserved churches on Anatolian geography, and with structures such as the military port and the shipyard that hasn’t completely surfaced, Caunos proves to be a center of domination, power and splendor in the lands on which it was founded.
Dalyan’s Lakes; Köyceğiz, Sülüngür, Sülüklü and Ala Lake
Dalyan geography is home to many beauties created by the movement of nature since ancient times. Among these natural beauties are the many small and large lakes in the Dalyan Delta that keeps the serenity of pure fresh water alive.
We can say that the Köyceğiz Lake is one of the main reasons for Dalyan’s existence. Connected to the sea with a natural strait that is the Dalyan Strait, Köyceğiz Lake is one of the 7 lakes in the world that has a natural connection like this. Situated between the Sandras Mountains and Ölemez Hills, the northern shore of Köyceğiz Lake hosts Turkey’s slow city Köyceğiz that has earned the official title of citta slow.
Set among a quite town, towering mountains and lush forests, Köyceğiz Lake offers a magical world created by nature with its clear and fresh waters as well as its endemic plants. Home to many living creatures due to its tectonic origin, there are all kinds of freshwater fish in the lake. This lake, which is frequented by many bird species such as storks, reed maddens, little bitterns, degraded hawks and some that come for wintering, is one of the places that reveal the wealth of nature with its abundant beauty.
At the restaurants and cafés spread around the lake, you will not realize hours pass as the splendid views blissfully take a hold of you. Besides getting rested, Köyceğiz Lake is a fun location for non-motorized water sports that offer many alternatives such as sailing, boating, surfing etc.
Located 5 km from the center of Dalyan and surrounded by reeds and lush trees, Sülüngür Lake is another natural wonder. Giving gorgeous poses to photography lovers particularly at sunset, Sülüngür Lake with its vast landscapes reflected in the still water; with the insatiable love and taste it has with green; and with Nile turtles coming to spawn, is truly a piece of heaven. The lake, which is protected by the Nature Association within the scope of “Important Nature Area,” is just behind Iztuzu region.
Fed by one of the branches of the Dalyan Strait, Ala Lake is located right next to a historical nomad village called Çandır. In the bed of the lake, which can be reached by passing through a canal surrounded by pine trees and mountains, Dalyan’s famous thermal baths and mud sources are found. Set above the Kızıl (Red) Hill that rises just behind the Çandır village pier, with a healing beauty above and under ground, Ala Lake is also home to traces of history. The rock tombs, the most striking of which are spotted at the Dalyan Strait, can also be found here. The rock tombs that are mostly of the pigeon nest type, has left a historical mark on the healing scenery of Ala Lake.
Through the centuries, Sülüklü Lake that was once the port of Ancient City of Caunos and a Mediterranean coast has become a lake with the formation of the Dalyan Delta. Sülüklü Lake that was located below the acropolis of Caunos city was one of the most important trade ports of the Carian Civilization. Sülüklü, which is a shallow lake completely disconnected from the sea over time due to alluvial fillings, is another new and magnificent natural structures that was formed with the cycle of history and nature.
Sultaniye Hot Springs; Thermal Waters and Healing Mud
In today’s intense pace and fast changing agenda, health has become one of the main goals of travel. If you are after purifying your mind & body and getting rest with every sense of the word, then in Dalyan, you are in the right place. Muğla’s district with inexhaustible natural beauty, Dalyan is the right address for a healing holiday.
Let’s Rest AND Have Fun
Located in the south of Köyceğiz Lake, the hot springs offer a healing break for vacationers in Dalyan where you can self-care as well as have fun. Immerse yourself in the comfort of the healing waters that overlook the lush green hills that surround you, and take pictures of yourself and friends all covered in mud! At the end of the day, you will have enjoyed fun times, pure restfulness and well-deserved self-care.
Healing from History till Today
When it comes to hot springs, there are two known spots in Dalyan: Sultaniye Hot Springs and mud baths. Sultaniye Thermal Springs, which have a temperature of 39-Celsius degrees at the spring site, have super rich minerals (chloride, sodium, potassium, radon fluoride, hydrogen sulfide etc.) and have always welcomed those in search of health and beauty throughout history. These hot springs, which are estimated to have been in operation in the Roman period, carry the healing powers of thousands of years and are good for back pain, rheumatism and sciatica.
Purify your Skin with a Mud Bath
Another spot where you can combine health and fun is the Gelgirme Springs, also known as the Beauty Mud. Welcoming a large number of travelers from surrounding districts, domestically and internationally, the Beauty Mud produces hot water from 2 points.
You enter the mud bath and immerse your whole body. Completely soaked in mud, you have to wait for 45 minutes in the sun for the mud to dry. You will feel your skin stretching as the mud dries. Very rich in sulfur, the mud helps to reduce wrinkles and spots on the skin and cleanses the pores.
Dalyan’s mud baths offer an experience where you can get smooth and healthy skin while having lots of fun.
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