Kekova Sunken City

The Mediterranean is an important tourism center bearing the traces of the Lycia, Hellenistic and Roman periods and attracting attention with its historical accumulation. Antalya, located here, is home to many ancient cities and ruins. One of them is Kekova Sunken city and it is located in the Demre district of Antalya. Especially in recent years, the Kekova Ruins have become well-known for the extremely striking, untouched nature found there.

The largest island of the Mediterranean, Kekova

Kekova is a steeply built 500-meter-wide town, 7.5 km long, directly opposite of Kaleköy and Üçağız villages. In some parts of the island, which has a very steep hill of 188 meters in length, the depth of the water can reach 105 meters. The cleanest sea water in the Mediterranean is in the vicinity of the island. For this reason, it is under protection.

Kekova Sunken City
Ancient village of Simena on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the Kekova area of the Antalya province.

Of course, Kekova, which is quite beautiful in terms of nature, owes its reputation to its interesting history. Along with the ruins that show the characteristic features of the Sunken City, many important remains from the Lycia period are located above the Kekova Island and under the sea right beside it.

Earthquake and Sinking of Kekova

Since the historical studies have not been completed yet, the history of the island cannot be determined exactly. However, it has been observed that the characteristics here were formed during the Lycian period. Later, in the Hellenistic period, different building elements were added to the island. Kekova was never used as a settlement at any time in history. It did not carry the characteristics of a city like any other nearby ancient cities. With its fine, long structure, it has been evaluated as a breakwater protecting the ancient cities of Kaleköy and Üçağız against the waves.

Kekova Sunken City
The coast of Kalekoy village at Kekova bay is occupied with cozy rustic cafes and beautiful restaurants, decorated with flowers and plants in pots, Turkey.

For this reason, a “dead sea” was formed just behind Kekova. Therefore, instead of being used as a city, Kekova undertook a shipyards function. Having served as shelter for marines for a long time in the Lycian era, Kekova was considered a base for intensive shipbuilding and repair. It was also used by the Byzantines as a military base for a while. According to the investigations, Kekova was flooded because of a great earthquake in the 2nd century AD in the Mediterranean.

Historic Ruins of Kekova

After the earthquake, many important historic ruins remained under water. A large part of the shipyard used for the construction of ships has been buried in the water. Nowadays, some of the stairs on the island are steadily guiding you to the bottom of the water. Kekova Island, which is in a very fertile location for its underwater richness, is also very suitable for scuba diving. However, many historical artifacts in the region have been looted, broken and deformed. Therefore, scuba diving is being carried out today in a controlled manner. Almost near the shore, 30-meter deep clear water is particularly well-suited for underwater camera shots.

Roman Ruins in Turkey
Coast of the island in the Mediterranean sea, picturesque with the ruins of ancient Lycian towns and tombs-sarcophagi of Aperlai, Simena Teimussa Dolihiste.

Sunken City

The shipyard bay of the island is especially known as a sunken city. This is also the area where archaeological remains are the most concentrated. There is also a Basilica of Abscissas belonging to the Byzantine time on the island. Carved artifacts on the mainland, submerged sarcophagi, especially Kekova with clear water; has become one of the Antique Tourism regions that have stamped the last 10 years. Besides, Theimussa located in Üçağız, which is at the head of Kekova, Simena located in Kaleköy, and Istlada in Gökkaya are also places to visit.

Transportation to Kekova is only possible with boat tours. You can rent a canoe-shaped boat and view the historic beauty from the sea. There is also a yacht harbor near Kekova for the Blue Cruise.