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REŞADİYE PENINSULA

jaysJays are common, squawking in the eucalyptus treesIf you run your finger down the west coast of Turkey you will come eventually to Marmaris, and, beyond it, to a two-pronged spit of land that juts out into the Aegean Sea and resembles an open mouth all ready to swallow up the tiny Greek island of Simi (Symi, Sömbeki).

The upper jaw of the spit is the Reşadiye Peninsula, named after the tiny town of Reşadiye at the far western end. Today it's perhaps more commonly called the Datça Peninsula after its largest town although historically it was called the Rhodian Peninsula since its handful of settlements were in political partnership with Rhodes.

The lower jaw is the Hisarönü Peninsula, named after the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it resort of Hisarönü, but sometimes known as the Loryma Peninsula after the scant remains of the ancient city of Loryma right down at the southern tip.

Heading out of Marmaris the road comes first to Değirmenyanı (Next to the Mill) where a narrow road heads north to the exclusive hotels of Bördübet. Shortly afterwards the road splits; the northern branch heads for Datça, the southern to Bozburun.

Buses ply up and down the Reşadiye peninsula carrying visitors from Marmaris to Datça and the handful of hotels on the outskirts and in lovely little Eski Datça. It's a windy road, not great for those prone to motion sickness, but the sea and mountain views are spectacular and almost entirely unspoilt by thoughtless development.

Near the Palmiye Hotel on the inland side of the road are the scant remains of a temple of Apollo. After that, as you come into Datça, you will see a line of six old stone windmills, one still with its sails intact, as well as a cluster of wind turbines, all of them testimony to the powerful winds that buffet the peninsula.

The main attraction of the northern prong of the peninsula is the site of ancient Knidos, most easily accessible by excursion boat from Datça. There is also a road that travels via the small beachside settlement of Palamutbükü.

Buses ply up and down the Hisarönü Peninsula taking passengers to Hisarönü itself after which the road forks with the southern fork heading via Bayır to Söğüt while the northern fork continues to the harbour settlements of Orhaniye and Selimiye, the latter the jewel in the crown of the peninsula when it comes to natural beauty. Beyond Selimiye the road continues to the little harbour village of Bozburun and on round to even sleepier Söğüt along a road not served by public transport.

This is one of the more beautiful and unspoilt parts of the Turkish coast, protected (so far) from over-development by its sheer remoteness and its mountainous terrain. In high season expect the peace and quiet to be disturbed by streams of jeeps bringing safari passengers from Marmaris to see the sights.

Interestingly, many of the local place names are associated with the Ottomans. Reşadiye is named after one of the last Ottoman sultans, Mehmed V Reşad (1844-1918), while Orhaniye is named after the second sultan, Orhan (1281-1362), and Selimiye after Selim II (1524-74), nicknamed "the Grim" by Westerners. Even tiny Turgut recalls the great Ottoman admiral Turgut (1485-1565) after whom Turgutreis on the Bodrum Peninsula is also named.

butterflyThese butterflies can also be seen on the peninsula. Anyone know what they are?

 

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