Standing on the waters of the Mediterranean, Kekova refers to a small, but awesome island at Turkey, which is situated close to the Antalya’s Kas district. For those who are looking forward for a heavenly trip that features a great mix of pleasant sunshine, charming underwater ruins, and swimming; a visit to the Kekova Island as well as to the nearby Kale (olden Simena) town is a must in lifetime.
Situated just off the shore of Demre, this paradise is known for its underwater ruins. Overall, it is truly a charming island where nature and history coordinates well to offer you a terrific vacation. Although several boats depart from Kas, the itinerary of reaching to Kekova consumes even less time from the harbor of Demre, Cayagzi. By the side of the rocky shore, your vessel might take some halts including the one at a grotto and at some villages or you might get a chance to spot a rare goat and the flaming piles of wood for making charcoal.
The main highlight of Kekova is the array of half-sunken ruins that reside by the side of the island’s edge looking at the mainland; which you can see while you are on the boat. These relics are of a Lycian city including some leftovers during the Byzantine era. The reason why the city is sunken is the frequent earthquakes that made the town to submerge somewhere around 2nd century AD. These ruins beneath your boat will make you recall of a lost city that has staircases whose end is just not visible invoking a bizarre or unspeakable feeling. Therefore, ensure that you have an experienced guide so that you know completely in detail about these ruins. For knowing the ruins in a better way, snorkeling is the best option. While doing so, check out for relics of walls as well as buildings, parts of Byzantine as well as Roman friezes, 2000-year-old mosaic, and underwater fountains. However, you are prohibited to take away any ancient relic residing under the sea along with skin diving close to the ruins.
Before this prohibition, several tourists took away the relics from here as a souvenir. While you are on the boat, the boatman will take you off for a swim in the far west to explore a ruined Byzantine chapel. This one is on the beach and that with mask and snorkel; you can spot out some more sunken remains easily here. If at all you come by car to Kekova, it is recommended to hire a boat from the hamlet of Ucagiz for exploring the submerged city along with the ancient Simena.
Another highlight is of a captivating Lycian necropolis along the shore where tombs of chest type scatter nicely. This is at Teimiussa that is located close to the Ucagiz village accessible easily from Kekova. You can also come here via a track that begins from the main road linking Demre and Kas. One more attraction is to drive down the road of Kekova if there is some more time with you to spend. You will surely appreciate this drive as it is very scenic and spectacular with its interesting archeological sites.
In short, Kekova in Turkey boasts a rich historical, cultural, and architectural legacy in form of tombs holding Lycian inscriptions, theater, breakwater ruins along with those of the edifices, Medieval Castle, necropolis, water cisterns, and rock cemeteries. And yes, not forgetting the several sunken cities that are the top draws of the island pulling countless tourists every year. To increase tourism and make this island popular on the tourist map, it would be better that Kekova and its surrounding region be declared as a national park.
Kekova is simply Turkey at its best!