Everything You Need to Know About This Picturesque Anchorage and Hiking Trail
The Bays at Aga Limanı
Located on the Gulf of Göcek about a mile north of Kurtoğlu Burnu, Ağa Limani is actually made up of two bays – creatively named Büyük (big) and Küçük (small) respectively. The mouth of Ağa Limani faces east, giving boaters a lovely view of the rising sun each morning, and Mount Bagadağ throughout the day. It is perfectly situated as an overnight anchorage when heading out on longer journeys.
The water at Ağa Limanı is some of the cleanest and clearest we've seen in Turkey. In part, this is due to an underwater spring in the area which feeds fresh water to the bay. Unfortunately, that means the water is a little cooler than other anchorages - but that's not necessarily a bad thing on a hot summer day! And, the conditions make it a perfect place for turtle spotting.
The only downside to this anchorage is the bees. They are attracted by the pine trees, and tend to swarm the boat at sunrise and sunset. For the rest of the day, they are off doing their bee-business, but can pose a real problem for about an hour each morning and evening. We set out bowls of fresh water and burning coffee grounds to deter them, but anyone with severe allergies should alert Captain Oktay so he can find a different place to spend the night.
The Hiking Trail at Ağa Limanı
Hikers will enjoy the fabulous trek from the water's edge to a bowl-shaped plateau just over a hundred meters above Ağa Limanı. The view from the top is spectacular! The hike is not particularly long – only about a kilometre - but takes between 20 and 30 minutes at a steady pace to reach the top. It is literally all uphill, across loose stones, so should only be attempted with sturdy walking sandals, shoes, or boots. (In other words, flip flops are not suitable for this particular trek.)
When you reach the top of the climb, you'll find yourself in a bowl-shaped plateau, which is currently a working farm. But once upon a time, it was an important border city between Caria and Lycia, named Lydai / Lydae / Khydai / Klydai / Chydae / Clydae, depending on which text you consult. (For simplicity's sake, we call it Lydai.)
There are extensive Roman and Byzantine-era ruins in the 800 hectare bowl, most of which are tombs and mausoleums dating back to the early 2nd century. The mausoleums, built with an upper temple area and a lower room for graves, display decorations and inscriptions which emphasize the city's wealth and importance during Roman times. There is also a theatre and agora, but they are virtually unrecognizable to non-specialists.
Ancient water cisterns – which are still in use by the local farms – dot the landscape too.
Little is known about this mysterious little settlement high above Ağa Limanı. It was, and is, in a remote location and only accessible by boat from Ağa Limanı or on foot from Hamam or Martılı Bays in the Göcek Islands region. Unfortunately, because of its challenging access, it is unlikely that researchers will further their studies of Lydai beyond what is known today.
Longer Hikes from Ağa Limanı
For the truly enthusiastic hiker, the Ağa Limanı trail continues past Lydai all the way to Hamam Bay. If this longer walk is of interest, make sure you pack snacks / lunch and plenty of water as it takes several hours to complete.
Ağa Limanı: A Photo Gallery
Click on any image to enlarge.