Brief TV fame was brought to Dalyan in the late ‘80s by loggerhead turtles or, more accurately, by David Bellamy who led a world-wide campaign to halt proposed development on Dalyan’s pristine five miles İztuzu Beach. The conservation battle was won and the whole Dalyan Delta turned into a wildlife sanctuary in order to preserve its unique flora, fauna and way of life. Dalyan has everything an outstanding beach, fascinating wildlife, strong local traditions and the majestic remains of an ancient city.

Boat is the best way to the reach the many attractions of Dalyan, including mud baths where you have the privilege – if that’s the word- of being caked in sulphurous, but reputedly therapeutic mud. Drifting downstream you pass the haunting, fourth century BC rock tombs which loom, like temples hewn out of the cliffs, high above the river right opposite to town. Marsh frogs croak in the rushes, stripe-necked terrapins and little freshwater turtles dart in and out of the water and, if you are quick, you may catch the dazzling turquoise and gold arc of a kingfisher in flight.

Further down river towards the “dalyans” – the fish hatcheries – you can be dropped off at the dramatically situated ruins of ancient city CAUNOS, which boast some of the most impressively fortified walls still standing in western TURKEY, along with a well-preserved Greek style theatre, Roman baths and a Byzantine basilica. You can wonder among the shattered columns and the huge chunks of ancient temples for hours, photographing, drawing or just musing on the beauty of scene and on glories past.

So much is to be discovered by boat; the variety of birds is bewildering and the sight of small turtles basking at the water’s edge, with their bodies submerged and their heads on the surface, is unforgettable. If you are very lucky you may even find one of the rare loggerhead turtles, the 95 million-years-old species Caretta Caretta, swimming right under the boat in the nesting season (from 1st of May till 1st of October), if you head beyond the river mouth. You can also disembark here at the end of Dalyan’s beautiful sandy beach, which takes forty minutes to get there from town quay. However, those few who know, will head by regular dolmus (twenty minutes journey), to the opposite end of the beach where the views are as spectacular as the peace. From one tip to the other, the swimming from this vast and unblemished stretch of sand is excellent.

As well as the large fleet of boats, other provisions have been made for visitors to Dalyan, which has developed from a small village into a pleasant little town. There is now a good choice of restaurants (with fresh river fish a specialty), carpet, jewellery and spice shops and small grocers. Development is strictly controlled, Local inhibitions still hang their corn and peppers up to dry on strings hung from cottage eaves on the back street. Every Saturday there is Bazaar.

Devotees of the wonderful variety to be found in these itinerant Turkish bazaars will also want to sample the pleasures of the bigger weekly markets at nearby Ortaca and Köycegiz.

Most visitors to Dalyan will, however, remember Köyceğiz not for its market, not even its sulphur springs, but for a moonlight trip along the silent river on to the whose ripple-less surface mirrors the silver star and whose magical spell is broken only by the splash of leaping fish.

The Town of Dalyan : The town of Dalyan is situated near the river. The distance from the sea is 12 km and 4 nautical miles from the canal. Its environment is surrounded by rich plants and agricultural fields.

The population of the town is around 4000 in winter, but this number doubles in summer. It's a relaxation place for the blue voyage. Dalyan is 22 km away from Marmaris and 44 miles away from Fethiye.

It was established as a fishing village in the last century. On the wharf there's a mosque, which belong to the last century. Its name comes from crawls, which were set up on the Dalyan river. We see small villages and farm houses and the life is quite simple and natural. However in recent years, two or three storied modern houses like Mugla type houses, accommodation facilities and shops have been built.

Construction material is generally wood. It's important because it ensures harmony between the building and nature. We see a planned settlement between the fruit and vegetables fields in Dalyan. The bank, post office, shopping center are in the center of the city. The restaurants, disco, pub, open cafes and most of the accommodation facilities are near the canal.

On the wharf, which is in front of the mosque, there are a lot of excursion boats belonging to the fishing cooperative and agents. Timetabled or private boat tours are held everyday. The canal, thermal springs, Köycegiz Lake, Sultaniye thermal spring, Iztuzu coast and Kaunos are toured.

Dalyan was declared as a protected area by the environment protection department of the Environment Ministry in 1989. Dalyan is one of the most beautiful places where green, blue and the sun are blended in perfect harmony with nature.

Calbis (The Dalyan Stream/the canal): Formerly known as Calbis (the Dalyan stream, the canal) is a natural water conduit, which connects the Köycegiz Lake with the Mediterranean. At the same time it connects Sülüngür, Ala and Sülülkü Lake. The Dalyan stream looks like a natural labyrinth, carving the delta lie a lace.

That's way, an excursion in the canal without a guide causes you to be lost. Some parts of the canal take the shape of a strait, some parts take the shape of a lake. There are waterconduits called Yeni Dünya, Alagöl and Aragöl Kulagi. The canal is 5 miles and approximate depth is 2.5-3 m. There are crawls in the Dalyan stream dating back to the 19 th century. Apart from the town of Dalyan a village named Candir is also situated near the canal. The village is at the bank of Alagöl.

The natural water conduit connects the sea and the lake. The town of Dalyan is near the lake and the antique city of Kaunos is on the opposite bank of the water conduit. The sides of the canal are covered with reeds. The lenght of the reeds is about one or two metres. This makes the canal excursion a mystical and exciting adventure. Reeds not only clean the water but also are shelters for fish. At the same time reeds prevent erosion, bad odour and filthiness. For the ecological balance, speed boats and the boats which are longer than 12 m are forbidden to enter the canal. Maximum speed for the boats in the canal is 5 miles. The Dalyan stream connects the Köycegiz Lake to the Mediterranean with a narrow canal. This connection canal is generally 30 m. in width depending on the precipitation and ebb and flow. On the opposite bank of this narrow canal the Delik Ada (island) is situated. This island is very important for the geographic formation of the region. Delik Ada controls the entrance of the canal and blocks wind.

Iztuzu Coast and Delik Island : Dalyan has become famous suddenly in the world in 1987. Because, the Iztuzu coast is the breeding place for caretta-caretta turtles. Hotels were planned to be built in the region. By the efforts of nature lovers the region was opened to the public on condition of building prefabricated facilities and the region was declared as a special protected area.

In the olden days, during the phase of the Dalaman River’s delta formation hard-soiled part, which was between Bozburun of the Gökbel Mountain and the point where the Dalyan stream reached the sea, turned into a coast line of 5 km length. According to geographers the coast is hard imhermeable soil mass, which was developed in laguner environment. Iztuzu is a peninsula, a part of which is covered by the sea and the other part is surrounded by the canals.

According to geographers the coast formed its present shape in the 500 BC. At that time the Dalaman River changed its bed because of the overflow of its former bed. In this way, the region didn't fill with water.

The name Iztuzu comes from salt, which was produced in antique period. There is the Iztuzu Lake on the Gökbel Mountain. Iztuzu is a resting place between Sarigerme and Marmaris and the entrance of Kaunos and Dalyan by the motorway and 4 miles by the sea. There are regular boat and minibus tours from Dalyan to the coast. You can reach the coast from the Gökbel Mountain. If you travel by minibus, there are wharfs for those who come by sea and car parks for those who come by road.

There's a pine forest in front of the coast. Prefabric facilities, which are in harmony with nature, are available and there are some warning signs and stakes near the sea. These stakes show the breeding area of turtles. There are also other regulations to protect turtles.

People living in this area live harmonously with caretta-caretta turtles, which are believed to exist for 90 million years.

There's a small island a bit further away from the Iztuzu coast. The island is likened to a hole because of its shape. The island is to do with the geographic formation. The island blocks strong wind, and the part of the island facing the coast is very shallow. The environment of the island is a shelter for yatchs and boats.

As a conclusion, with its clean and shallow coast, Iztuzu is a perfect vacational spot where you can swim for 9 months. In addition to this, you'll feel excitement to share the shore with animal species, which come from pre-historic period.

The Iztuzu Lake : It's in the east of the Iztuzu coast and close to the foot of the Gökbel Mountain. The lake is a few kilometres away to the coast. The water of the lake is salty. This shows that once the region was covered with sea. The lake is small and shallow. Sometimes a canal is opened between the sea and the lake so as to prevent its drying. There's another lake named the Sülüngür Lake.

Caretta Caretta (Bulky Sea Turtles) : The Caretta Caretta is a kind of bulky turtles living in the Mediterranean. The caretta-caretta is about to extinct. The caretta -caretta became extinct in all Mediterranean countries except Anatolia. InTurkey, the breeding region of the caretta-caretta is the coastline beween Dalyan and Anamur, and the most important place is the Dalyan-Iztuzu coast. So the importance of Dalyan and the caretta-caretta can be understood better. Two different kinds of turtles reach the coast to lay eggs.

These animals, which are believed to have been living since pre-historic periods, weigh 70-160 kilos and 90 or 120 cm tall. Their colors are brown and red-green. They lay eggs between May and August. They lay 2 or 3 eggs in a season. Female turtles arrange the time to deposit eggs so that young turtles come to the world when the moon is full in the sky. The period for depositing eggs is 55-60 days and generally there are 100 or 190 eggs in every nest. The eggs are 40-50 cm beneath the earth in the coast. About 300 nests can be found at this period. The greatest enemies of turtles are people and some animals. Digging holes in the coast at day time and light and sound at nights prevent female turtles from depositing eggs and cause young turtles go to freshwater instead of salty water. Eventually they die.

The most dangerous animals for turtles are crabs, jackals and wolfs. Because of these dangers most caretta-caretta turtles die before adolescence. That's why, some regulations are being carried out to protect them by the Association for the protection of natural life. For example, some stakes and warning signs were placed near the sea of the Iztuzu coast for the purpose of a better breeding of these animals. 2000-8000 canals and shores were closed to passengers and vehicle traffic. A huge statue, which was erected in the center of Dalyan is the expersion of Dalyan people's gratitute to caretta-caretta turtles which made known the region to the world.

The Gökbel Mountain and The Radar : It's one of the high mountains, which is in the east of the Iztuzu coast. It's a steep mountain. It's possible to climb the mountain from a slope in northwest, facing the canals. The mountain is covered with pine trees. There's a radar on the top of the mountain. Upon viewing from the radar nature looks incredibly fabulous. A stiking panoramic picture of the geographic formation of Dalyan Region. When you look down from 600 m. Height, you can see the Iztuzu coast, the Iztuzu lake, the Delik ada, the entrance of the Ekincik bay, the canals, the lakes in the canals, Kaunos, the town of Dalyan, the Köycegiz Lake and the mountains. But first you must get a permission to enter the radar. The transportation route is first Iztuzu motorway, then stabelized forest path on the left.

Wild Life and Fishing in Dalyan : The name of Dalyan comes from the crawls dating back to the 19 th century (Ottoman period). A crawl means "fish trap and fishing or fish production station". Stakes are set upright and then covered with a net. So the fish is trapped inside the net. Dalyan has both fresh water and salty water. Therefore, there are a wide range of fish species in the region. The most-known fish species in Dalyan and Köycegiz are grey mullet, carp, bas, sea bream, plaie and eel. There's also a production station of grey-mullet fish in Dalyan. A production facilities for cultural fishing was established in the region.

As an indicator of wild life, it's estimated that there are 154 bird species in the region. A fauna containing seasonal characteristics is also available for wild birds. There are wolfs, pigs, foxes and jackals on the mountains.

Dalyan Thermal Spring (Beauty Mud) : There are thermal springs in the south of the Köycegiz lake, at the foot of the Evlenmez mountain, and around the Dalyan stream and lake. The medium-size spring is known as "Gelgirme Velibey", the small one is known as "Riza Cavus Girmesi". The medium-size thermal spring is preferred for its mud bath. It was newly restored and opened to tourism. This spring is famous for its beauty mud. The water boils naturally under the rocks.

The warm water softens the skin and eliminates wrinkles because it contains a high ratio sulphur. Some experts claim that the mud is good for some illness. After you have spread the mud on your body, you have to wait until it has dried. Then , you can clean your body in the pool or shower. Dalyan waste water runs to the Dalyan stream. The medium-size thermal spring is connected to the Sultaniye thermal spring which is a few hundred meters away. There's a touristic hotel named the Sultan Hotel between the two springs.

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