THE TURKISH RIVIERA
Ephesus to Antalya
Riviera - 'A Necklace of Diamonds or Pearls'
(The Oxford English Dictionary)
It is an indented coast of great limestone hills, fertile valleys and volcanic pine-girt hills and a few remarkable beaches set against a clear sapphire blue crystal sea partly the Aegean and partly the Mediterranean. It was once one of the main marine arteries of the world, linking the East with its silk, spices, copper, glass, olive oil and grain, with the expanding cities and empires of the western classical world.
In classical times harbours were independently wealthy cities, where art, poetry, architecture, sport, mathematics, philosophy, historiography and science flourished. All fed by trade made possible by enormous maritime activity.
Today it is to be valued for its extreme scenic beauty, both rugged and heart-warmingly peaceful. A place for fun, contemplation and, above all, relaxation.
TurkeyTurkey is a vast and beautiful country, the size of France and Germany combined, surrounded on three sides by the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, with miles of coastline and a mountainous hinterland.
Still predominantly an agricultural economy - the fruits of nature are abundant in the colourful markets. Turkish cuisine with its intelligent use of spices is widely considered to be one of the finest in the world. Mass production has not reached the traditional hand crafts of carpet weaving, pottery, leather working and jewelry making. The people are open, friendly and relaxed. The southern and eastern shores are dramatic and unspoilt. Hundreds of islands, coves and inlets make for perfect cruising. This was the centre of the classical world and the ruins of these past civilisations based on maritime trade are accessible from the sea. Mustafa Kemal, known as Atatürk, created the Republic of Turkey in 1923 replacing the centuries old Ottoman dynasty. Turkey is a secular state, an important member of NATO and has applied for membership of the European Union.
These were the blue waters where history has been made, where the future of civilisation had been decided more than once and more than twice. Here Greek had fought against Persian. Athenians against Spartan, Crusader against Saracen, Hospitaller against Turk. The Pentecontors of Byzantium had furrowed seas here and the Caracks of Pisa. Great cities had luxuriated in untold wealth
From Captain Hornblower 1806 by C.S. Forester
"No part of the world can be more beautiful than the western and southern coasts of Turkey. These remote valleys break from the treeless plateau, whose oozing snows feed them with harvests wherever the land is flat enough to grow wheat or barley; and to travel in and out of them is like the circumventing of an immense natural fortress, whose wall are precipices with a glacis of fertile stretches before them and whose bastions are toilsome capes that dip one after another, to the sea."
Dame Freya Stark, well-known writer and traveller, "Alexander's Path - From Caria to Cilicia", 1958.