Turkey - Cultural Crossroads
If Greece is home to the magic islands of the Mediterranean, then Turkey is the storehouse of it’s romantic past.
Apart from the magnificent scenery, one of the most striking characteristics of Turkey is the friendliness and honesty of its people. Wherever you sail in Turkish waters, particularly along the southern coast, there will always be something exciting to explore. The legacies of ancient civilisations abound, making irresistible attractions.
Amphitheatres, sunken villages and rock tombs wait to be discovered and marvelled at. Turkey is really the meeting place of the East and West. Since the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, Turkey has been a country astride two cultures, European and Eastern.
Turkey is the home of such unlikely historical and mythological companions as the city of Troy, Noah’s ark and Santa Claus. The country is a fortuitous blend of cultures, combined with a rich history that comes alive in the too-numerous-to-count archaeological sites. The jewel of Turkey’s southern coast is Marmaris, a clean, modern town with a festive promenade along the wharf beneath a 16th century citadel. In spite of rampant development, Marmaris remains a charming town while offering the best facilities available to the cruising yachtsman.
A short sail in any direction from Marmaris and the modern marinas and high rise hotels give way to a peasant Turkey with impromptu restaurants set against ancient ruins in secluded bays. Here a three-course meal is likely to set you back the price of a mixed drink and the warmth, colour and frankness of the local people provide truly memorable evenings.
The nearby fishing village of Datca furnishes the town with the freshest seafood imaginable, and dining at even the smallest café is a culinary treat. Shops offer good buys on carpets, brass, silver and leather goods. The site of ancient Knidos – where one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity resides, the Venus of Praxiteles – is at the tip of the Peninsula of Marmaris.
South of Marmaris, the little fishing village of Dalyan is the starting point of river trips to the ancient ruins at Caunus. Along the way, boats pass centuries-old Lycean tombs carved into the rocky cliffs of the river banks. At Caunus ancient remains include a well-preserved 15,000 seat theatre.
South of Dalyan – in the eastern gulf of Fethiye – is the town of Fethiye, built on the 400 BC ruins of Telmessos. It is an area of great archaeological fascination: the ruins of 19 ancient cities are littered in the surrounding countryside. One of the nearby spots most interesting to charterers is Ruin Bay. Running from the shoreline to the crystal clear bay are ancient foundations; simply by donning a mask and snorkel, visitors can float above the long-forgotten village, accessible only by yacht.
East of Fethiye is legendary Antalya with its Roman lighthouse overlooking the harbour. This coastal area is known for its many beautiful waterfalls cascading into the sea. The epicentre of the famed Turquoise Coast, it has some of the best beaches and swimming anywhere.
Aside from the bareboat option, Turkey offers an array of fully crewed charter yachts with Marmaris the crewed charter capital of the eastern Mediterranean. Europe’s finest vessels up 200ft line the quay creating a French Riviera display of teak decks and polished brass.
Charter World’s Brook Felsenthal says that the crewed charter options are becoming extremely popular with Australians, especially the Gulets and Caiques.
These vessels are extremely roomy with up to six double staterooms all with ensuites. The wide beams create excellent deck space while below are carpeted mahogany interiors, efficient showers and toilets, lockers full of snorkelling masks, windsurfers and backgammon sets. Even so, you can still make out the discernable outline of a boat that might have carried sponges or oranges in days of yore.
Charter World offer a range of Gulets from 60 – 120’ for exclusive use.
Travelling overland through Turkey is part of the adventure and romance of this interesting country. Local buses leave for anywhere almost hourly with places such as Gallipoli, Capridoccia, Pamukkale and Ephesus to visit; you can easily spend the best part of a week ashore. A visit to Turkey is an enlightening journey as anyone who has experienced it will testify. It thoroughly deserves its reputation as being one of the finest cruising spots on earth.
Secluded Bay in Turkey
Marmaris Castle and Port
Ancient ruins of Efez
Bodrum at night
Alanya Beach Resort