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Elmali Travel Guide

Elmali

Elmali is a small plateau at the head of a long upland valley in the Beydaglari range of the western Taurus Mountains, surrounded by high peaks including the 2500m Elmali Mountain. Aside from the town of Elmali, the district includes two other small towns (Akcay and Yuva) as well as villages. The area is watered by streams running off the mountains. Although close to the Mediterranean, Elmali is high in the mountains and has an inland climate of cold winters and hot summers, (although still much cooler than the coast). Near to Lake Avlan there is an area of cedar forest, rare in Turkey.

Excavations, by Machteld Mellink from Bryn Mawr College, of the burial mounds of Semahoyuk and Muren have shown signs of copper production dating back to 2500 BC. The area was later a key town in the north of the antique province of Lycia, and the Lycian Way trade route came through here. It was a small town of Asia Minor in the vilayet of Konia in the Ottoman era, then the administrative centre of the ancient Lycia, but not itself corresponding to any known ancient city. According to Britannica, the town was inhabited by direct descendants of the ancient Lycians, who had preserved a distinctive facial type, noticeable at once in the town population. There were about fifty Greek families, the rest of the population (4000) being Moslem (as of 1911). The plain was subsequently controlled by the Ancient Romans, Byzantines, and the Seljuk Turks. The town was the headquarters of Beylik of Teke clan of Anatolian Turkish Beyliks when it was brought into the Ottoman Empire at the time of Sultan Bayezid I. It remained a key mountain stronghold in the Ottoman period and through the early years of the Turkish republic, but has declined as recent generations have left the dry mountainside for jobs on the coast or in Turkeys major cities.