TURKEY       HOME Lake Van

28th March to 8th April 2014. Photos covering our Tour to the Lycian Coast of South West Turkey. Helen's much fuller account is at:

Tour led by Seda Soylu & Phil Benstead.      Click on the thumbnails to enlarge then "back"   top left,  to return to this page

The previous mild winter meant there was very little snow melt and a lot of Spring flowers had failed to appear. Also we were able to photograph fewer butterflies and bugs than usual.  My computer does not have Turkish script so spelling uses nearest roman letter.

FRIDAY  28th  March We had a  taxi to Heathrow to arrive by 06:00. "Budget Cabs" was less than before. We finally arrived at our hotel in Dalyan, the Longhouse Inn, by about 8pm. Phil had met to us at Istanbul. We also met four group members Alan and Heather and Peter and Maggie. Seda met us at Dalaman with Pierre and Michele. Then we drove in the minibus to Dalyan, famous for its large Nile River Turtles. (Only Phil saw one!) The Hotel was cold on the first night, as was eating outside, but air-conditioning kept us warm at night.


Geo-tag Maps of our progress during the ten days

Lycian Rock Tombs on the other side of the river from our hotel, showing "Helenistic influence" The quality of the tomb reflects the occupants influence and money during life.

An unfinished Tomb, did the money run out?

Political Map, NB Rhodes & Greece

The Mosque in Kas

The Lycian civilization was situated between Dalyan and Antalya, co-incidently the same as our trip. In the 12century BC they appear in the Illiad attacking Troy. A matrilineal society with their own language, they were conquered in turn by Persians, Athenians, Macedonians, Egypt and Rhodes. They were granted independence by Rome in 168 BC but became part of the Empire in 42 AD speaking Greek. There is little left of them but their rock tombs, sepulchers and sarcophagi but the countryside still has a wealth of flowers and the eternal flames still burn at Chimera near Olympos. 
SATURDAY 29th March  Day 1      
After breakfast we set off by boat to visit Lake Koycegiz calling in at the Sultaniye Thermal Mud Springs. They can reach 39 degrees C and are said to cure many ailments, but we disappointed the guardian and didn't go in.  In the afternoon we looked around in the area of Kapuz village

Today's Geo-tags

Our boat arrives at 08:30

Not so wealthy tombs opposite


Euphorbia on the Cliff face

We pass a fisherman in the reeds

River bank cliffs

A Boat Crane, almost all boats flew the Turkish flag.

Allium neapolitanum

A very large cricket on Helen's trousers

Helen near the hot Mud springs showing rock strata

A large Giant Peacock Moth outside the entrance to the Mud springs

A very noisy Levant Water Frog

Little Egrets in a Pine Tree beside the rive

A Detail

Morning Light

A Cormorant poses

and rushes off

A Turtle basking

The Riverside spot where Phil saw the Nile River Turtle

Our Group botanising along the river bank

Aspodel aestvus

 Fritillaria acmopetala

Tulips, Tulipa armenum lycica

Anagallis arvensis - Blue pimpernel

White Damsel Fly

Ophrys lyciensis  Several group members were very keen to see as many types of orchid as possible

 Cistus creticus

French Lavender, Lavandula stoechas

 Fritillaria acmopetala

Levant Water Frog

Gladiolus anatolicus 

Onosma albo-roseum

Tri-Striped Lizard lurking

Heather and Alan spotting birds



View towards the hills

A copse by the Mud Springs

Red and Black Spider


Other tourists on the river


Entrance to the Mud springs

Entrance to the Mud springs with the silk moth

Anemone coronaria

Across the river

Cynoglossum creticum

A typical modern peasant house


Tulipa armenum lycica

Cytinus hypocistus a parasite on cistus roots

The Greek island of Meis or Megisti a few miles off Kas

The Lycian Coast was populated by those who had always lived there and those who had colonized or invaded. However, after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in 1918 and the Turkish war of Independence, in 1923 the Turkish Government  decided to neutralize possible hostile Christian minorities.  Greeks were largely deported to Greece and Armenians suffered many casualties. Some Greeks did not go far, to Meis, and now they get on well with their neighbours, goods flowing in both directions,


SUNDAY 30th March  Day 2      
   Helen was unwell in the morning but the rest of the group visited the ruins of Kaunos in the morning.

After lunch of Turkish snacks back at the hotel we all drove to the unique  Liquidambar Forest. The fragrant Liquid Ambar is used to make  styrax and frankincense. Named by Linnaeus in English! We also searched several grave yards with flowers saved from grazing goats.



The final defence battlements overlooking Kaunos

Landing at Kaunos


Out of the main entrance to theatre with information boardson either side

Founded in the 9th Century BC Kaunos was an important Carian city on the border with Lycia and reflected both Kingdoms. As well as botanizing, we visited the well preserved theatre, the acropolis, baths, temple, running track etc. . There were plenty of information notices but it would have been more photographic if a little more restoration had been attempted.

A lot of the buildings reflect the Roman era.


Kaunos was built on a steep rocky outcrop

A long view of Kaunos from the Daylan river

Rock Tombs above the dry silted-up harbour with feral donkey

Pollen Beetle



The Ticket Office Ceiling. It also had modern, high tech turnstiles.

Alan and Heather learn about the Kaunos site

Bellevalia trifoliata


A wandering Tortoise of which we met many

Agama on the ruin wall

Steps to the Theatre area

Ruins with plants


Poisonous hyoscyamus aureus

Hyoscyamus aureus

Arum concinnatum

Campanula lyrata

Tiny Baby Tortoise 


A local religion or cult

Exedra Stone Seating, (should be in a circle.) 


The theatre

Entrance tunnel for the "cast".

Umbilicus erectus

Wall Fern



Circular Building

Giant Fennel on the arch


Anagallis arvensis, Blue pimpernel

All pictures enlarge

Kaunos Acropolis

Doorways lined up


Our Driver looking around

Busy Beehives


Giant Fennel in the ditch

Sedum in the wall


Kaunos site map

Defensive Ditch and wall

The Roman era Baths

Fallen ceiling, note the Swastika, Greek long before it was German.

Feral Donkeys

Orange Tree


Circular Altar in temple

Another Temple

Exhedra information


Tamarisk beside the Kaunos dock

Serapias Cordigera

Broomrape, Orobanche



Unfortunate placing of the lifebelt that we all enjoyed!

Common Blue

Red Admiral


Liquidambar Forest      
Liquidambar orientalis, commonly known as Oriental Sweetgum, or Turkish Sweetgum, in the genus Liquidambar, native to the eastern Mediterranean. The forest of this tertiary relic endemic taxon is found  within a specially protected area between Dalyan and Koycegiz where a 286 hectares are set aside as a nature reserve for the preservation of the species.

See Bottom right for location of Liquidambar Forest

Liquidambar Spa Hotel

Liquidambar Orientalis tree

Ophrys heterochilla?

Iris albicans


Speckled Wood

Tiny frog living in a puddle

Yellow Darter

Pregnant Lizard

Speckled Wood

A Graveyard

An ornate Bird table

Baby Turtle who poo-ed on Phil's hand

A Black Whip snake in a graveyard, about 4 foot long, making off,

Imported flower in a graveyard



Limodorum abortivum

MONDAY 31st  March Day 3       
We set off on a chilly early morning trip to Iztuzu Beach where later in the year Loggerhead Turtles nest and there is a research station. A strnuous walk across soft sand provided birds and views in abundance. Then, having packed up, we set off to Kas and our new hotel.

 The beach is top left

The lighthouse beyond the jetty 

River bank

Lighthouse from the river

Along the beach

A sign post for the tourists. Germans have now replaced the British.

A shack in the marsh

Helen seeks an artistic shot

Medicago marina in the sand

Euphorbia paralias

Erodium acaule?

Heather framed by a tree arch


A juniper bent by the prevailing wind

We walk along the beach

A crab hole and its tracks

In the marsh

A lagoon behind the beach

Perhaps the men are discussing the election which was today?

The Centre of Dalyan near where we stopped for fuel.

To the shops by their family transport

A wayside Mosque

A modern house on the way home 

Statue of Loggerhead Turtles in the Centre of Dalyan

Mountains in the distance

A small modern house

A larger Mosque

Banks of Euphorbia characias

We had our picnic lunch at Pinara Archaeological site which had been one of the six top cities in Lycia. There was a theatre, temple, odeon and a cliff face honeycombed with tombs. Helen and I had trouble returning from the Royal Tomb along a route I selected with a steep drop this caused a rapid change of route!

A dell on the way to the tombs

Pinara hillside

Orchis anatolica

Many rock tombs, originally sealed but robbed long since

Cistus creticus

Cistus salvifolius

Tordylium apulum

The Pinara Theatre

Orchis anatolica

The Royal Tomb

Decoration over the lintel



Daphne Sericea

Rock tomb

Rock tomb

Ophrys fusca

Pierre surveys the Pinara theatre

Ophrys fusca

Man Orchid, Orchis italica

Ophrys fusca, note underside


Re-erected arch/ doorway

Ophrys Fusca


Ophrys ferrum-equinum

We disturbed their love making!

Cistus salvifolius

Ophrys ferrum-equinum


Ophrys ferrum-equinum


TUESDAY 1st April. Day 4      
In the morning we botanized close to the Hideaway Hotel in Kas then in the afternoon visited a series of graveyards where, generally, the goats had not eaten the flowers, although one had been cleared of any vegetation. We failed to attend the briefing about free WiFi etc due to a misunderstanding but learnt it later.

Geo-tag Map

Kas, the restored theatre

A stone seat



Trifolium stellatum


Coronilla varia


Coronilla varia

Pink Geranium

Coronilla varia

Ophrys Lutea/sicula

Euphorbia rigida

Iris Germanica


Orchis anatolica


Iris unguicularis carica



Bellevalia trifoliata

Iris unguicularis carica

Arum dioscoridis


Arum dioscoridis

Orchis italica

Windflower, Anemone coronaria




Pierre considers Iris Germanica


Helen takes a close-up from ground level

Butterfly Orchids

Butterfly Orchid, Orchis papilionacea

Butterfly Orchid, Orchis papilionacea

Orchis simia - monkey orchid

Little mouse in a turban?

Butterfly Orchids

Orchis simia - monkey orchid

Ophrys speculum


Fritillaria elwesii

Dry stream bed

Iris germanica

Orchis anatolica


Open country

WEDNESDAY 2nd April  Day 5      
We had a walk round town before breakfast and then in the morning botanized in the Kas area near the hotel then drove to the Kuruovobelli Pass and then on to the Smekilibelli Pass.    Having left my Kindle charging cable in Dalyan I managed to buy one in a phone shop for about 3 compared with 25 in our Boots.

Geo-tag Map

His Breakfast Chai with a friend watching.  Seda said most dogs belong to no one, but people feed them and a charity neuters them and marks it by ear tags.

A "Greek" House. All old houses get labelled as Greek.

Wash Day

The alley Opposite the Hotel

Gate lamp of Hideaway Hotel

In good weather everyone eats on the veranda

Sedum in a rock

Old style shops in Kas centre.

Angels trumpets, Daturas

Hideaway Hotel

Arum dioscorides

Chatting in the sun


Mimosa, acacia

Ophrys Ferdinand Coburgii

Note the steep scree rubble




Fritillaria kitanae

Fritillaria Pudica


Dead Nettle, Lamium

Shading the subject

Alyssum minus


Corydalis wendelboi?


Gagea granatelli

Cyclamen alpinum

Brown Fields

Tiny pansy

Anenmone Blanda

Anenmone Blanda

Gagea granatelli

Another steep hillside

 Lathyrus digitatus

Ornithogalum armeniacum

Cyclamen alpinum

An Old Farm House

 An Old Barn

Looking over the countryside



Apple Blossom

A Farming Family



Muscari Muscarina

Rock Rose, Helianthemum nummularia

Euphorbia rigida


Our Driver and Seda

Children play in the street in Kas

Kas rooftops

White on White

Shops in Kas

Backgammon in the street

Looking over Kas

Who ate all the pies?

Roof Terrace, Hideaway Hotel

THURSDAY 3rd April.  Day 6      
In the morning we visited the village  Agullu and after a picnic lunch near Kalekoy  and  the Simena Site visited Kekora Bay and the Andriake Wetland for Bird watching. Unfortunately I am not quick enough to photo the birds most of the time.

Geotag Map

White Dead Nettle



Foxglove Tree

Kalekoy Boatyard


Ophrys Lutea


A Pea

A farm cat

Silene aegyptica




Kalekoy Boatyard

Country House

Boat in the Garden

Simena information

Simena Archaeological Site. There was an English woman buried just outside the cemetery at Kalekoy

A Jay on a gravestone

Sarcophagus lid

Minute, Green Toad baby, one of many.

Yellow Darter Dragonfly

Parentucellia viscosa


Kalekoy Harbour

Seda resting

A robbed sarcophagus

Lycian Graveyard


Doorway in Simena

Tourists visiting the "Sunken Harbour" by boat

A Scarf Seller

The Small theatre

"Very nice"

Deadly Nightshade

NB Stone Wash Tub

The defences are ready!

Kirchner's Gecko

A Smart Villa

Looking over the battlements

A Closed Cafe where we did not get a drink

Green Carob Beans on the tree

Selling Harem Trousers at Kalekoy market

Rock House carved out of an outcrop?

Little Egret

Andriake Wetlands


Black Backed Stilts


Modern Supermarket

FRIDAY 4th April. Day 7.       
We visited Avlan Lake hopeful of seeing birds, without much luck and then climbed up the very steep screes behind. I slipped and cracked my elbow on a sharp rock here.

We had a picnic spot in the woods  near Orvubik  and then drove to the ruins near Limyra.

Geo-tag Map

Lake Avlan

Lakeside Avlan


A turtle emerges from the stream


Rubble Scree

A pink prunus photographed

Pear Blossom?

Our picnic spot


Tiny blue Flowers

Onosma frutescens

Wooded Hills

What is the central pillar for? There is a gap above it.

Rock Rose


Lymyra Ruins

Carved stone column

Turkish visitors

River with a paved bottom at Lymyra

Foundations of Ptolemaion

Defensive Wall


Anagallis arvensis, Scarlet Pimpernel


The river lined with frogs, too fast to photograph, Ptolemaion Church in the distance.

Phil waits for birds or frogs beside the Cenotaph to Gaius  Caesar

Lymyra Ruins, the colonnaded street

Flag Iris

Keeping the grass down

Grizzled Skipper??

The Lymyra Theatre

Corn Bunting

Gladiators entrance?

Let the Lions out!

Chemist Shop with flats over

They grow a lot of Oranges here

A Turkish Teenager

 SATURDAY 5th April Day 8

We set off to look for the Lycian Orchid at a Nature Reserve which had become overgrown and really was now unsuitable for orchids, However Seda contacted the local "Project Director" who showed us a new site. Seda showed him one she had discovered and then was included in the project! Good for her CV!

After lunch we visited Belem, Adrasan, Olympos and the everlasting flames of the Chimaera.

Finike 2000 Hotel

The steep climb needed to reach meals

Goats go head to head

Waiting for a bus?

New location shown to us by local botanist

Lician Orchid


Picnic Spot for lunch

Samurai mask? Ophrys Straussii


Anemone coronaria

Anemone coronaria



Ophrys rheinholdii



Asphodelus aestivus

Ophrys Lycia


Ophrys Sicula







Pollen Beetle

Pollen Beetle

Moon Daisies



Mountains beyond


Maggie in a graveyard

Tragopogon and a Cricket


Tulipa orphanidea

Tulipa orphanidea


Pollen Beetle

Colour variant

Our group checking on the Tulips

Late Snow drops, Galanthus elwesii

Tulipa orphanidea


Tulips' Habitat




Pink Vetch, Lathyrus stenophyllus



Limodorum abortivum


Barlia robertiana

Tulipa orphanidea

Limodorum abortivum


Wood Anemone

Anemone coronaria

Small Stream

Bicolor vetch

Roadside stall plus dummies



The god Vulcan, the god of fire, was widely worshipped in Roman times and near Olympos is the site of the eternal flames of the Chimaera that have been burning for several thousand years. "Chimaera" because the monster breathed flames.

 Analysis of the gas shows its origin is metamorphic, like coal and petroleum, not volcanic.

Grey valley off the steep path to the Chimera. We found it quite a hard climb.  Turks tend to wait until the cool of the evening.

The ruined Roman Temple at the site.

Turkish visitors

Religiously dressed visitors

Roman inscribed column

Inscribed lintel

Numerous flames on the site

Beside the track


Horizontal tree

Tourist experiencing the heat.

SUNDAY 6th April Day 9      
In the morning we sought peonies and yellow fritillaries  around Ucoluk.  After our picnic lunch we drove to the ancient city of Phaselis.

Geo-tag Map

Peony, Peonia maculata

Peonia maculata

Stony hillside

Bellevalia dubia

Asphodeline lutea

Temporary summer shelters in the mountain pastures

Fritillaria Carica

Fritillaria Pudica

Fritillaria Pudica

Fritillaria Carica

Scilla Bifolia

Snow Drop Habitat

Colchicum triphyllum


Gagea granatelli


Fritillaria Pudica

Fritillaria Pudica


Helen finds a dead lizard

Dead Lizard, its colour increased post mortem

A tiny pansy, Viola kitaibeliana


Mountain Farms

Van just makes its way round a fallen boulder, we had got out!

Maggie and Seda pretend to move the boulder

Cyclamen cretica

Mountain Road

Muscari Muscarimi

Across the hills

Aristolochia lycica

Aristolochia lycica

Geranium tuberosum

Old Style House

At our tea stop, is she worried?


Doronicum orientale

White Pea

Aristolochia lycica


Crocus biflorus isuaricus

Snow Drops, Galanthus elwesii

Cyclamen alpinus

Crocus biflorus isuaricus


Geo-tag Map of Phaselis.


Aqueduct Phaselis.


Carved column

Alley way

Phaselis was founded by colonists from Rhodes about 7th Century BC and made its money from shipping timber, rose oil and perfume.  The ruins date mainly from Roman times but the eastern empire spoke Greek. Translations into English of the inscriptions were provided.

Phaselis theatre

Wedding Photos

Smart religious/modest dress

Carved Lintel


Main Street

Capturing stonework

The Bay towards Olympos

A bather

Underfloor heating

Main Street


Where the Aqueduct reached Phaselis.


Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Cafe near where we saw so many migrant birds, including a Hoopoe, enhanced through Phil's telescope.


Maggie searches the valley with binoculars

Female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

White Spectacled Bulbul

Daisy Bush


Fumitory. Fumaria capreolata

Feeding the ducks before going to the Mosque.

A Goat Herd arrived

Finike Marina from the hotel dining room which had a magnificent view

Opposite the hotel waiting to be fed.

A Back Door

Electric gate to our next hotel.

 MONDAY 7th April Day 10

We took a walk round Beycik village before breakfast are far as the Mosque. Helen was harassed by an amorous dog. After breakfast we set off for Tahtali and after a picnic beside an old well visited the Kemer Valley

Geo-tag Map

Typical Tower Blocks, the towns all looked new and prosperous and their industry is growing.

Our Drivers Hotel

Our next door farm

Modern peasants house

Local Goats

Smart new house

Local Mosque, paid for by the Government like all Sunni Mosques

Kitsch Supermarket

Stump Art

Peonia maculata

Peonia maculata

Ancient Plain Tree many hundreds of years old

Euphorbia dendroides bush

Alpine Meadow

Anemone Blanda

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Ranunculus cadmicus

Anemone blanda

Sarapias bergonii

Picnic spot

Crocus almost over

Barbarea verna

Cyclamen Creticum

Ornithogalum nutans

The door to Olympos Mountain Lodge with a "Hazar" overhead to ward off the evil eye

Local kid

Olympos Mountain Lodge, Beycik

The Proprietor and wife on the breakfast terrace

River Valley


Fungus Lacework

Looking down on the river

Cephalanthera kurdica

Ophris climacis

TUESDAY 8th April Day 10 

We had another really early start (04:00 GB time) with a packed breakfast provided. We drove along dirt tracks in the dark, then along dual carriage way to Antalya Airport and the usual wait for the plane. I had tried to check-in on line 24hrs ahead, but because of a glitch as Turkish Airlines had changed the plane times, could not until Seda had a word with the airline. We were met by the same taxi driver at Heathrow he phoned my mobile to say where he was as we were delayed in baggage reclaim, over 230 passengers, and thought he had missed us We arrived home about 17:00 to be greeted by two affectionate cats who seemed to have missed us although they had had rather a lot of luxury tins!