Welcome to the mesmerizing coastal region of Antalya, where history and natural beauty converge in a truly magical way. Nestled off the shores of Kaleköy and Üçağız, lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered—the Sunken City of Kekova. Join us on a captivating journey as we explore the mysteries and allure of this submerged ancient city. Get ready to be inspired to plan a visit, dive into its intriguing history, and embark on an unforgettable guided tour during your holiday in Antalya.
Unearthing the Ancient Marvels
A City Lost to Time
Beneath the sparkling turquoise waters of the Mediterranean lies a hidden world—a sunken city that tells a tale of ancient civilizations and the relentless march of time. The Sunken City of Kekova, also known as Simena, is an archaeological treasure, where remnants of a once-vibrant city are now immersed in the depths.
A Unique Perspective
The beauty of the Sunken City of Kekova lies not only in its historical significance but also in the unique experience it offers visitors. Explore the underwater ruins, witness the interplay of light and shadow, and gain a fascinating perspective on the ancient city’s remnants as they coexist with marine life. It’s an opportunity to dive into the past, quite literally, and uncover the mysteries that lie beneath the waves.
The History of Kekova: From Prosperity to Submersion
An Ancient Lycian City
The Sunken City of Kekova is believed to have been a flourishing Lycian city during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. This coastal settlement served as a bustling hub of trade and maritime activity, drawing influence from the Lycians, Greeks, and Romans who inhabited the region.
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Submersion and Rediscovery
Tragically, a series of devastating earthquakes in the 2nd century AD caused parts of the city to sink into the sea. Over time, the ruins became submerged, creating a captivating underwater archaeological site. It was only in recent decades that the Sunken City of Kekova was rediscovered, captivating the imaginations of archaeologists, historians, and adventurous travelers alike.
A Window into Ancient Life
Exploring the Sunken City of Kekova allows us to gain insights into the daily life and architectural marvels of the ancient Lycian civilization. As you dive or sail above the submerged ruins, you’ll witness the remnants of homes, courtyards, staircases, and even a partially submerged church, each offering a tantalizing glimpse into the past.
The Kekova Island Experience: A Guided Tour
Choosing a Guided Tour
To truly immerse yourself in the wonders of the Sunken City of Kekova, consider booking a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will enhance your experience, offering historical context, intriguing stories, and ensuring your safety throughout the journey.
Boat Tours: A Unique Perspective
Embarking on a boat tour is one of the most popular ways to explore the Sunken City of Kekova. Cruise along the serene waters, marvel at the rugged coastline, and witness the sunken ruins from above. As your guide shares captivating tales of the city’s history, let the breathtaking scenery and turquoise waters transport you to another world.
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Diving Adventures: Submerge into History
For those seeking a more immersive experience, diving tours are available, allowing you to explore the underwater ruins up close. Dive into the crystal-clear waters, navigate through submerged streets, and encounter ancient walls and arches. With each dive, the secrets of the sunken city unfold before your eyes, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Discovering the Underwater Ruins
The Submerged Streets
As you descend into the depths of the Mediterranean, be prepared to witness the remnants of ancient streets that once bustled with life. Swim alongside the submerged walls and imagine the vibrant community that thrived here centuries ago. Marvel at the intricate masonry and architectural details that have withstood the test of time.
Ancient Walls and Structures
Explore the underwater ruins and encounter fascinating structures that provide clues about the city’s past. Encounter ancient walls, arches, and doorways, all offering a glimpse into the architectural prowess of the Lycian civilization. These submerged structures create an ethereal and otherworldly atmosphere that will leave you in awe.
Marine Life Encounters
The Sunken City of Kekova is not only a testament to human history but also a haven for marine life. While diving, keep an eye out for colorful fish, octopuses, and other fascinating sea creatures that have made these ruins their home. The combination of ancient ruins and vibrant marine biodiversity creates a truly immersive and captivating experience.
Beyond the Sunken City: Exploring Kaleköy and Üçağız
While the Sunken City of Kekova is undoubtedly the highlight of the region, the nearby villages of Kaleköy and Üçağız offer their own charm and cultural significance. Take the time to explore these picturesque settlements and discover:
- Visit the enchanting Castle of Simena, perched atop a hill, offering panoramic views of the region.
- Explore the narrow streets and traditional houses that line the charming village.
- Savor local cuisine at waterfront restaurants, enjoying fresh seafood and regional specialties.
- Discover the ancient Lycian tombs carved into the cliffs surrounding the village.
- Stroll along the harbor, admiring the colorful fishing boats and tranquil atmosphere.
- Immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with friendly villagers and learning about their traditions.
Planning Your Visit to the Sunken City of Kekova
To make the most of your visit to the Sunken City of Kekova, consider the following tips:
Choose the Right Time
Plan your visit during the summer months when the weather is ideal for diving and boat tours. Be mindful of high tourist seasons and book your guided tour in advance to secure your spot.
Research and Select a Reputable Tour Operator
Do thorough research and choose a reputable tour operator or diving center for your guided tour to the Sunken City of Kekova. Look for operators with experienced guides, positive reviews, and a commitment to safety and environmental preservation.
Pack the Essentials
When preparing for your visit, make sure to bring the following items:
- Swimwear or diving gear, depending on your chosen activity.
- Sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
- Snorkeling equipment if you prefer snorkeling instead of diving.
- Towels and a change of clothes.
- Plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Underwater camera or waterproof phone case to capture the incredible sights.
Combine with Other Attractions
Extend your visit to the Sunken City of Kekova by exploring other nearby attractions:
- Visit the ancient city of Myra in Demre, renowned for its rock-cut tombs and theater.
- Discover the Church of St. Nicholas, where the beloved saint’s legacy lives on.
- Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region by exploring nearby beaches, hiking trails, or the stunning Butterfly Valley.
How to Get to Kekova
There are two preferred airports to reach Kekova. The first one is Dalaman Airport, and the second is Antalya Airport. Dalaman Airport is located 150 km away from the Kekova region, while Antalya Airport is 220 km away.
Both airports can be chosen for reaching the area, but Dalaman is more commonly preferred. However, afterwards, it is necessary to take the sea route. Kaleköy, where Kekova is located, can only be reached by sea and is not accessible by road with any land vehicle.