On the Dalyan River (video 4:02)

In late September 2018, on a warm, still afternoon in Turkey, I took the last boat from beautiful Iztuzu Beach, at the mouth of the Dalyan River delta, back to Dalyan, a few kilometres upriver.

Iztuzu Beach is a narrow sand spit, which forms a natural barrier between the fresh water delta of the Dalyan river and the Mediterranean. It is one of the main breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean and is therefore often referred to as "Turtle Beach". The loggerhead turtle is on the IUCN Red list of endangered animals.

The boats you see are run by the town's co-operative, and they cruise up and down the river every day taking visitors to and from the beach for a small fee.

The journey takes you by the ancient city of Kaunos, a city of ancient Caria, a few kilometres west of Dalyan. Kaunos is a site that is interesting for both its archeological and ecological importance. Situated in the Köyceğiz-Dalyan Special Environmental Protection Area, it offers outstanding vistas and is rich in wildlife.

The Acropolis (Persikon), is situated on a 152 m high rock, fortified with Byzantine walls. Adjacent to the acropolis is a smaller fortification, called Heraklion. Until the 5th century BC this 50 m high cape reached into sea and there were two ports south and north of it.

The oldest find at the Kaunos archeological site is the neck of a Protogeometric amphora dating back to the 9th century BC, or even earlier. A statue found at the western gate of the city walls, pieces of imported Attic ceramics and the S-SE oriented city walls show habitation in the 6th century BC. However, none of the architectural finds at Kaunos itself dates back to earlier than the 4th century BC.

Towards the end of the journey, you get a glimpse above the river's sheer cliffs of the magnificent weathered façades of Lycian tombs cut from rock, circa 400 BC.


Music: Wandering by Andrewkn