The old harbor of Kaunos is now called Suluklu Lake - translated in english as Leech lake. In the olden times when the lake is still functioning as a port, the sea was upto the Acropolis, and when the water receded, the ancient city of Kaunos lost its importance as a merchant city.
The very lower part near the Sukluklu Lake is the agora, sort of like a plaza, and since it's beside the old port of Kaunos, it may have served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods amid colonnades.
The Kaunos agora was decorated with several monuments and statues as evidenced by many harbor stoa in the area.
There are several horned goats and cows grazing around the area.
The roman bath which is considered to be the most preserved example surviving from the roman imperial period, is on the same upper terrace where the domed church is on the right side of the main doric portico.
The huge roman bath is being restored, and I thought it's a church due to its enormous size.
The terrace ws built during the second half of the 1st century BC on an artificial terrace overlooking the agora and the harbor. The courtyard of the temple was enclosed by a collonaded gallery. The temple was dedicated to Zeus Soteros.
The round structure is probably a sanctuary, an Abathon-Heroon. However, a sacred stone (Baitylos) unearthed below the central axis of the altar table suggests that this area was already in use as a sacred area by the end of the 5th century BC. The Baitylos, which is the symbol of the city, represented on the coins of Caunus until the mid of the classical period is a non-figurative representation of Basileus Kaunios -- the god King of Caunus.
Kubbeli Kilise (or Domed Church) is one the first ruin you'll encounter on the upper town of Kaunos, right after the entrance to the site.
The church is dated approx. 6th century AD. An elaborate mosaic can be seen at the flooring outside of the church.
I find it a little awkward seeing a tourist family picnicking inside the small church, they should've realized that there are a vast space around the area to picnic.
One of the most impressive ancient ruin of the ancient city of Kaunos near Dalyan is the ampitheater which is below the acropolis hill.
Just like most theater I've seen in Turkey which overlooks a body of water, this one also is overlooking the old port of the ancient city, now called Suluklu Lake.
The topmost level of the theater commands a nice view of the environment.
The theater is dated as far as the hellenistic era and was enlarged during the Roman era. It's in good condition.
Ok that means river channel bank --- the narrow more calm part of the river and somewhat has a different atmosphere is the right side of the promenade (facing the river).
I've taken a long walk in the afternoon from the town center to the right side of the promenade, passing by several riverside restaurants, hotels, and benches along the more secluded part.
The end part of Gulpinar Mahallesi (the name of that area/district), just along the bushy side of the river have a lot of benches with occasional couple sitting there -- it's a romantic setting really. Sit at one of the bench facing the river, or have a drink at one of the wooden platform restaurant hanging on the river. there are also plantations of lemons and other fruit-bearing bushes.
This I found out later from the swiss lady neighbor of the place I was staying at -- that lane is called "Lovers Lane", well, probably translated in turkish language. I knew it actually from the moment I saw young couples at the most hidden bench beside the tall grasses.
That area is more quiet compared to the opposite side, more serene and melancholic, depends on your mood. There are several hotels in this area too all facing the river.
The Dalyan Beledeyesi Cay Bahcesi (municipal tea garden) is located at the far-end left side of the river (left if you're facing the river). Just take a short walk from the town center to end of the river promenade and you'll end up on the open gate of the tea garden.
This is the best spot to have a pic of the Lycian Tombs carved on the mountains on the opposite side of the river.
Although I did not order any tea while I was sitting at one of the plastic chairs next to the river with thick crawling plants shading the area , there are occasional staff who will ask you if you'd like some tea. No pressure, you can always hang out there as long as you want.
it's a big area with a working fountain circle, free toilets (remember, most toilets in Turkey are charging 0.50 kurus - TL1.50), green grass lawns. Som epeople are catching fish at the farther end, and many local families around the area.
Everyday, you'll see the nice cheerful fat guy sitting just beside the gate of the tea garden, he's in charge of the small rowing boats (he does row too) that takes you to the other side of the river to visit Kaunos or just want to cross the river.
Right in the small town center lies the most prominent structure in Dalyan town - the Dalyan Mosque. The mosque has a history dating back 1552 during the Ottoman empire, although it has undergone restoration recently (in 2008), its minaret was replaced as it was struck by lightning, some parts of the mosque are from the original structure.
Facing the mosque is the statue of Kemal Ataturk holding his hat with his back on the river. I think I've seen this exact statue in Kas(?).
This statue is I think the first sight that that you'll encounter upon getting into the town centre, it's just in the mid of the round-about, which will immediately remind you that Dalyan is home to the endangered caretta caretta.
There are several things to see and do around Dalyan town center itself, so I'll start with --- Dalyan River.
Either watching the river sitting at one of the benches along the river promenade or taking one of the boats to Iztuzu Beach or just navigating the river, it's nice to watch scenes along the river. And if you're on one of the boats, navigating the river within and around the thriving wetland plants is fun and very scenic esp. when the sun is about to go down.
Go to the next one --- next page.
Much like the nearby town of Fethiye (now, with so many towns and sights I've visited in Turkey, I'm starting to do some comparasons), Dalyan too has Lycian tombs pretty much similar, right at the town center.
And much like Fethiye too, Dalyan's elaborate rock-cut king tombs is an icon of the town. It's immediately visible upon approach to the river. After all, it's the view that faces the whole town center, on the mountain just on the other side of the river bank.
Although there are monumental rock tombs, there are also cluster vof "holes-in-the-wall" type of tombs just a little below on the left side of the big ones. You'll get a nice view of thew whole tomb range when you cross the river to visit Kaunos.
I did went near it but I don't think it can be climbed(?). The area beneath the rock tombs is a cemetery, I mean, the towns cemetery. So the ancient and the current are buried in the same area side-by-side, like the Kings are watching the dead below it.
Iztuzu Beach (also called Turtle Beach) reminds me and is comparatively like Patara Beach in so many ways, like they're both a sanctuary for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles also called "caretta caretta", making them both a protected area. Both boasts of mountain views surrounding the clean wide beach - Iztuzu's only less than 5kms, Patara's 12.
Similar bar and shades, changing and shower stalls, notm\ very crowded except maybe during summers when a lot of boat tours and small cruise ships come to the beach for a day of swim and sun, and they're both really nice beaches.
The difference is -- in Iztuzu Beach, you have to take a boat from Dalyan center just along the river to get to the beach.
Just look for the "cooperative river boats" (not the more expensive private boats), it's just next to the taxi ranks near the town mosque. Boat fare is TL5 one-way or TL10 return fare which is automatically handed out for tourists who don't know that there's a dolmush at the end of the beach if you prefer to take it back to Dalyan. Unfortunately, I'm one of the uninitiated so I took the return fare - silly me - I was already warned by the guy who owned the hotel I was staying at, but I failed to listen.
The boat will navigate the winding scenic river of Dalyan for about 15 minutes, nice experience, before it arrives at the small wooden pier at Iztuzu Beach.
The sands are brown or tan like most beaches along the mediterrenean sea, rows and rows of parasols and sunbeds at TL10.
Iztuzu Beach is a strip of sands that separates the beach and the rivers of Dalyan - more like a breakwater of sands.
Kaunos was a city of ancient Caria in Anatolia. Located on the other side of the river from the town of Dalyan.
This is one of those highlights of Dalyan that should not be missed, after all it's just on the other side. When I say on the other side it doesn't mean you needn't walk, because I've walked like 15 minutes I think, approx. a kilometer from the river bank along a well paved road. The walk is easy, flat road except for a small climb to the entrance.
And if it's summer or really sunny, bring sunscreen, though there are trees along the road, mostly you'll be exposed to the heat of the sun, even at the sight.
TIP: Buy your water before heading there, maybe from the garden restaurants along the bank, you won't find a store at the site.
There are locals selling jams, freshly squeezed orange, lemon and pomegranate juices infront of their houses along the road on the way to Kaunos, the small bottled juice though is expensive at TL5, that's why I said, buy your water before heading to there. Though it's nice to contribute to local neighborhood economy.
The site is a vast valley with so much ruins and remnants of ancient civilization around. Just right after the entrance is the cropolis with the domed church, behind it is the big ampitheater - go up the last level to see a good view of the surrounding and Suluklu Lake, there's an ancient bath house, and of course the rock tombs which are the first sights you'll see right at the river bank.
A walk along the collonade will lead you to a wide area of columns, probably a plaza, and further more down, you'll be at the edge of the lake where there are goats and cow grazing.
Entry Fee at site is TL8. Take the rowing boat for TL4 return fare at the end of the river promenade on your left right at the entrance of the municipal tea garden - cay bahcesi.
Next day around 1:30 pm we walked to the town port and we arranged a boat trip on the river. Actually There is a boat regularly goes to Turtle beach straight and if that's just you wannna do. it's shared with other passengers. But If you want to see Caunos Antique city ( more info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaunos ) and rock thombs closer, they won't stop and wait for you. Of course a private boat is a treat to yourselves. So We told our captain to take us first to Turtles beach and wait for us about an hour (It takes 40 min. by boat, at the port 3 TL fee pp ) and afterwards we stopped by at the port of Caunos Antique city (8 TL entrance fee) and again he waited for us 1,5 hour. At the end of the trip we were so tired we didn't wanna get off at the ather side to walk around close to Rock thombs , also we were told that the access was closed to them. So by boat we got close to the shore and took some pic and enjoyed the rest of the trip relaxed. When we arrived to the port it was almost 6:00 pm (We suggest if you plan this trip start a bit earlier)
We bargained with captain for the price. He said 80 TL to us at the end we paid him 60 TL. He was begging from us tip which was not nice. Make sure agree on price at the beginning and don't say yes the first boat you talked. They are plenty of them...