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KAŞ

Queen of the Turquoise Coast                                Population: 55,000

ass1Old name: Antiphellos, Habesos

Market day: Friday

Ask Turks to name their favorite holiday resort and most will plump immediately for Bodrum or Alaçatı.

Ask an expat the same question and most will chorus Kaş which is interesting given that while Bodrum is readily accessible by air getting to Kaş involves flying to Antalya or Dalaman and then enduring a fairly gruelling onward journey.

But perhaps that’s exactly why it remains top of the holiday hot list. It would be lying to claim that Kaş hasn’t grown over the last decade or to suggest that it’s still filled with lovely old houses but the fact remains that its mountainous backdrop has prevented too much sprawl, while the distance from the airports has worked to keep rapacious tour companies at bay.

You won’t need to be in Kaş for long to fall for its charms. There may be no real beach to speak of but there is the lovely harbour with a line-up of picturesque boats, and there’s postcard-pretty Uzun Çarşı (Long Market) with its appealing, upmarket boutiques, a scatter of Lycian remains, a neat little Hellenistic theatre, and a string of inviting cafes and restaurants, some with gardens.ass2

Just as importantly the town makes a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area.

Recently Kaş has made a name for itself as a centre for outdoor activities. Those of an adventurous disposition might want to forego the glass-bottomed boats heading for Simena and instead paddle themselves over the sunken ruins in a kayak.

Even if you don’t feel confident enough to go it alone, there are plenty of organized kayaking excursions, which also manage a lunch-time visit to the quaintly ramshackle waterside settlement of Üçağız (Three Mouths). Alternatively you could opt to go abseiling in the Saklıkent Gorge, a canyon so deep that the sun never penetrates to warm the icy water at the bottom. Paragliding is also possible in Kaş.

But Kaş really comes into its own when the sun goes down and its many restaurants start to fill up with enthusiastic diners. This is one of those rare towns outside İstanbul which manages to dish up consistently high-class cuisine; try Bahçe Balık for a taste of what’s on offer, but be prepared for a kaleidoscope of places to choose from.

ass3Backstory

It was the Lycians who first discovered the pleasures of Kaş, founding the small port of Antiphellos/Habesos here to provide sea access to the larger town of Phellos, near what is now the village of Çukurbağ in the mountains above it.

The port grew in importance during the Graeco-Roman years when it may have acquired its lovely recently restored theatre, no doubt paid for from the profits of the lucrative trade in sponges. But Antiphellus was always a fairly inaccessible location, hemmed in by mountains, which is perhaps why it was unable to expand in the same way as Fethiye and Antalya.

By the early 20th-century it was a mainly Greek-populated town to which political dissidents were exiled, much as they were to Bodrum.

In the third millennium, Kaş is swelling rapidly as developers home in on its manifest attractions. However, for the time being it still retains the feel of a living town inhabited by a mixed bag of people.

ass4Around town

The charms of Kaş are easy to identify: strolling along the waterfront to eye up the boat-life; shopping for antiques or hand-woven fabrics on Uzun Çarşı, a delightful cobbled street lined with old houses, their wooden balconies draped with bougainvillea; then scouring the pick of the restaurants for an empty table once the sun has gone down.

Surprisingly, Kaş is low on is the sort of specific attractions that usually pull the crowds since it lacks anything much in the way of beaches, and retains few ancient monuments despite its long history.

Its ancient (and newly restored) theatre may make a great place for watching the sun dip down into the Mediterranean, but it doesn’t take much time to explore it.

The same is equally true of the various Lycian sarcophagi (tombs) scattered about town, including the imposing Lion Tomb which looms at the top end of Uzun Çarşı, the slight remains of a Hellenistic temple, and even the unexpected remains of a cistern accessible via a ladder beneath Smiley's Restaurant.ass5

The Kale Cami also repays a quick look since it started life as a 19th-century church and boasts one of the magnificent black and white pebble mosaic pavements that were once such a feature of this part of the world. 

Sleeping

Many of the nicest places to stay are out on the Çukurbağ Peninsula, a rocky spit of land which juts into the sea on the western side of town. In summer, hourly dolmuşes into the centre make this a reasonable option even for the carless, but if you want to take advantage of the nightlife you will soon find the taxi bills accumulating.

Kale Hotel

Hideaway Hotel 

Sardunya Otel 

Diva Residence Tel: 0242-836 4255

Hadrian Hotel Tel: 0242-836 2856

Villa Tamara Tel: 0242-836 3273

Transport info

For the time being, Kaş has no airport. Most people fly into Dalaman airport. In summer there are direct transfers to Kaş; at other times you can head into Dalaman and then get a local bus along the coast. 

You can also fly to Antalya although you will then have to get to the bus station and then endure the four-hour bus transfer along the coast road.

Hourly midibuses take the inland road to Kaş. Frequent buses connect Kaş with Kalkan, Patara (42km) and Demre.

Day trip destinations

Gömbe 

Kale (Demre)

Kaleköy (Simena)

Kalkan

Kastellorizo

Patara

Üçağız

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=251437

ass6Kale Mahalle church turned mosque

 

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