Dalyan, Turkey – Land of Lavish Lycean Tombs & Lucky Loggerhead Turtles

The small town of Dalyan is tucked into a bend of the very bendy Dalyan River on Turkey’s southwest coast, about 50 miles east of Marmaris and 35 miles west of Fethiye. The whole area, around 300 square miles, was established as a Special Environmental Protection Area beginning in the late 1980s. Although the protected status revolves largely around the endangered loggerhead turtle, which nests on a local beach, the area encompasses wetlands, fresh water lakes, rivers, a brackish water zone and rich agricultural lands.

Click to see our Magnifcent Turkey tour,
which includes a visit to Dalyan.

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Yanartaş, Turkey: Fire on the Mountain

In southwestern Turkey, near the Mediterranean coast, a dozen or so ever-burning flames light up a patch of mountain slope, just as they have done for at least 2,500 years. This is Yanartaş, which means flaming rock in Turkish. The flames of Yanartaş are reached by climbing about 1km up a sometimes-steep path just outside the village of Çıralı, in the Olympos Beydağları National Park, about 80km from the city of Antalya.
The 540km Lycian Way trekking path passes through the site.

Yanartaş is thought to be the Mount Chimaera of Lycia, known to the ancients for its perpetual flames and probably the inspiration for the fire-breathing Chimera monster of Greek mythology. Ruins of the ancient city of Olympos are nearby and remnants of a temple of Hephaestus, ancient Greek god of the forge, lie below the field of flames.

The flames of Yanartaş are fueled mostly by the methane seeping through cracks in the rock. Their intensity varies depending on atmospheric and groundwater conditions. Typically, they are bigger in winter.

The park is open 24 hours a day and there is a small entrance fee. Dusk is the most popular time to visit Yanartas, but do take care. Sturdy walking shoes and a strong flashlight are essential. Bring marshmallows to toast over the flames!

 

Coffee the Turkish (Greek, Arabic, Bosnian, Cypriot…) Way

Coffee came to Turkey in the 16th century, discovered in Yemen by an Ottoman official and introduced to the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Its popularity quickly spread but in the following century, it was deemed a drug and outlawed, upon pain of death, likely because the coffee house culture encouraged political discourse and potential dissent. Despite the harshest of penalties, the prohibition could not hold against the demand.

The name Turkish coffee refers to a method of preparation, the oldest there is, rather than a particular set of ingredients. The same or very similar drink is popular across the Middle East and eastern Europe, sometimes called Turkish coffee but often named for the country in which it is served.

So, here goes. It’s very simple. You need a special pot called an ibrik or cezve, usually copper with a wooden handle (I bought mine for well under $10), and a teaspoon.

turkish-coffed-ibrik

You can use any coffee but fresh ground beans are the best. The grind must be extremely fine, like powder. Few standard electric coffee grinders will do the job. A hand-crank pepper mill works great.

gurkish-coffee-beans

grinder

Measure cold water into the cezve with a demitasse cup and add 1-2 heaping teaspoons of coffee per cup of water. If you like it sweet, add sugar now. Stir until the coffee is mixed well into the water and the sugar is dissolved. Heat on medium until the coffee bubbles up to the rim of the pot, then remove from heat. (You have to watch this coffee while it brews, once it starts bubbling, things move fast. Look away for a second and you might have a very messy stove.)

turkish-coffee-foaming

Once the coffee returns to a nonfoamy state, put it back on the heat and repeat. Let it foam up on the heat to near overflowing three times. Then serve. Don’t stir.

turkish-coffee-finished

If you’d like to have Turkish coffee in Turkey or Morocco or Greece or Oman…we can help you with that. Visit our web site at www.yallatours.com.

NAME THAT COUNTRY

 

This spice bazaar, just steps from the Bosphorus shore, is one of the best known and largest covered markets in our mystery country’s most populous city. It has been the center of the city’s spice trade for over 350 years. The market is called the Egyptian Bazaar because its construction was financed by income from Egypt, which was an Ottoman province at the time.

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Can you name that country? 
See below for answers.

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Go East Young Man! The Via Egnatia to Byzantium

Via Egnatia route map, Wikipedia

Via Egnatia route map, Wikipedia

The Roman Via Enatia was built in the 2nd century BCE running west-east through Roman occupied lands from the Adriatic Sea to Byzantium (which became Constantinople a few centuries later, then Istanbul… https://youtu.be/Wcze7EGorOk). The road begins on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea at the Albanian town of Durres (ancient Dyrrachium) and heads eastward for about 700 miles through some very rugged terrain, including multiple mountain passes. The modern countries on the route are Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece and European Turkey. All roads lead to Rome, as they say, but the Via Egnatia required a transfer to the Via Appia, which picked up on the other side of the Adriatic and continued to Rome.

the Via Egnatia at Philippi in Greece

the Via Egnatia at Philippi in Greece

The apostle Paul used the Via Egnatia to travel between Philippi and Thessalonica in northern Greece on his 2nd missionary journey. In the waning years of the Roman Empire, travel along the Via Egnatia, or any road in the Roman provinces for that matter, was dangerous and by the 5th century CE, the road was in serious disrepair. With the Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople, the road was restored and became an important trade route to western Europe. The Via Egnatia made up one leg of the crusader march from Europe to the Holy Land.

Like many highways through once-Roman territories, the modern Egnatia Odos runs parallel to its ancient namesake from Thessaloniki, Greece to the Turkish border.