Kalkan is set in one of Europe's most breath-taking, grand sweeping Mediterranean bays,
with the truly majestic Taurus Mountains as a backdrop. An exquisite harbour, full of Turkish wooden
gulets and small fishing craft, bordered with waterfront restaurants and the beach, is where the
beautiful and historic old town area extends back from the sea.
Formerly an important coastal trading port, Kalkan is now a thriving but still unspoilt
holiday resort with the bustling historic Old Quarter being the heart of the town. After dusk, its
winding streets full of traditional houses, restaurants, small boutiques and local shops with
overhanging balconies teem with people as the tantalising aromas of Kalkan's renowned cuisine entice
people down to the harbour and surrounding streets.
An eclectic mix of Greek and old Kalkan architecture, with roof terrace restaurants and
lovely views to the sea, the old town is a place you will want to discover and enjoy.
The Greek Orthodox Church by Kalkan`s harbour has been converted into a mosque and is
the best example of Greek architecture in Kalkan, but at every turn whitewashed and stone buildings with
shuttered windows timber and balconies reveal Kalkan's history.
From Kalkan's harbour, many of the beach clubs dotted around the bay are accessed by
small colourful boats that provide a complimentary service to transfer guests, and traditional wooden
Gulets offer boat trips to the beaches, islands and inlets nearby. Water sports, diving and fishing
trips are also offered.
Although Kalkan does not appear to have been a place of significant settlement in the
distant past, it was the only safe harbour between Kas and Fethiye and so became an important port
during the 19th century. It was settled 150 to 200 years ago by people of both Greek and Turkish origin
and was known by its Greek name "Kalamaki." Goods were transported by camel from the Xanthos
valley nearby and the mountain highlands near Elmali. From Kalkan, cargo ships sailed for the far
reaches of the Ottoman Empire laden with cotton, grain, wine and timber.
By the early 20th century Kalkan had become quite a sizeable village. At the turn of
the century it had its own custom's house and in 1915 there were reportedly seventeen restaurants, a
goldsmith, a shoemaker and several tailors. The first local elections were held in 1928 and in 1937 the
present elementary school was opened.
Following World War I, the exchange in population between the new Turkish Republic and
Greece took place in 1923 after the Turkish War of Independence. Most of the Greek origin people then
living in Kalkan left Turkey. Some went to the nearby Greek island of Meis, but most were resettled
near Athens. They were resettled as a community (like most Greek immigrants from Turkey) and named
their new town "Kalamaki", after Kalkan's previous name.
Trading continued until it faded away in the 1950's due to the improvement of the
Turkish road system and the adoption of overland transport. With no more sea trade, the population of
Kalkan trickled away as people moved to larger coastal cities to find work. Luckily, Kalkan was saved
by the arrival of wealthy English yachtsmen in the 1960's and tourism eventually became the main economy
of Kalkan. Because of this, Kalkan has retained its historic charm. Strict building and preservation
codes are enforced and many of Kalkan's buildings are listed.
The UNESCO world heritage site of Xanthos was Lycia's capital city for much of its
history and the principal cities of Tlos, Myra, Pinara and Patara, all close to Kalkan attract visitors
from all over the world to look at the ancient ruins dating back over 2000 years. The British museum
also has an extensive collection of Lycian artifacts.
The Taurus mountains rise to over ten thousand feet and the highest peaks are snow
covered right into early summer. Its magnificent scenery with its lakes, woods and forests, its stunning
turquoise coast line and superb ruins of two dozen cities make Lycia a place to explore and enjoy.
Lycia's coastline runs for several hundred kilometers, borders the Mediterranean and attracts yachtsmen
to the crystal clear waters and near perfect climate.
The climate is often compared to that of Southern California you can be guaranteed sun
from May to October and beyond. Endless warm days can be spent at your private pool, on the town beach,
visiting the many beach clubs, enjoying lazy days at sea, learning to sail, scuba dive, water ski - the
choices are endless. And if the mood takes you there is plenty more to see outside the confines of
Kalkan, the 12 mile long sandy Patara Beach in the next bay;-one of the top ten in the world (Sunday
Times 2005),'Kaputas'- within 15 minutes of Kalkan and 'Olu Deniz'- 45 minutes away, add to Lycia 's
unique historic and scenic appeal to visitors.