Amazing Places: Bozukkale, Turkey

Exploring Turkey's Turquoise Coast with Arkadaslik Yachting

Updated: January 14, 2020

On a remote stretch of coastline on the southern tip of the Bozburun peninsula lie the remains of an ancient citadel referred to as "Bozukkale" – which is Turkish for "broken castle".

Back when it was built (probably around 700 BC), the fortress was home to a formidable navy base. Part of the navy's job was to prevent enemies from gathering in the large natural harbour formed by the peninsula before or after attacking the nearby island of Rhodes. (On a clear day, you can see the Greek islands of Rhodes, Halki, Alimnia, and Symi from the peak of the peninsula.)

The stronghold is 334 meters long, 36 metres wide, and has hand-hewn, stone block walls that are over 2 meters thick. Look-out towers (either 9 or 11, experts seem to disagree) were built along the walls, allowing soldiers to monitor approaching vessels from great distances. As large as it was, the bastion easily blended into the barren and rocky landscape. Minimal restoration work has been done, but it's still easy to appreciate the craftsmanship and effort that went into building this massive stone castle.

The city of Loryma was located nearby, on the flat hill on the northern end of the bay. Occasional ruins and artefacts can still be seen, but minimal archaeological research or restoration has been conducted on the ancient settlement and Mother Nature has reclaimed the area as her own.

Nowadays, Bozukkale is a popular yachting anchorage known for its peaceful, well protected natural harbour. Besides a couple of sail-up restaurants which have established themselves along the water's edge for "yachties" who want a break for their on-board galleys, there are no services or roads in to the area. It is only accessible by sea.

The Legend of Ekmekçi Burnu

On the sea-side of the ruined castle is a stretch of coastline referred to as "Ekmekçi Burnu" by local boaters. Legend says that a young sailor once perished on the rocky shore after a storm capsized his fishing boat. Modern-day travellers toss bread ("ekmek" in Turkish) into the sea and give a prayer of thanks when passing the peninsula ("burnu" in Turkish) – to appease the powers that be, and avoid a similar fate.

Bozukkale in Pictures

Have you had the chance to visit Bozukkale? We'd love to hear about your experience and see your photos.