Mountains and Lakes
Antalya covers an area of 20,815 km2 and a large part of the province (76%) is covered by mountains. The mountains rise suddenly from the shore intersecting each other, sometimes extending parallel along the coast, and offer outstanding views of the Mediterranean Sea from their slopes. This specific feature is one of the main reasons for the distinctive climate of the region and the diversity in vegetation, animals and produce.
One of the most peculiar features of the mountains spanning the Gulf of Antalya is that they rise sharply from the coast and reach enormous heights. The mountains of Lycia can be considered a monolith, constantly lapped by the sea. The mountains are relatively young in geological terms and pierce the sky like a collection of spears.
The mountains become taller as one moves further inward and their peaks become rounder. Rounder peaked mountains are generally older than the mountains at the coast. They are lined up as if in a family photo, with the older mountains at the back and the younger mountains at the front.
On the western edge of the Gulf is Tahtalı Mountain, known as Mount Olympos of Lycia or Solym Mountain in the past. They have sheltered famous cities as Idyros, Phaselis and Olympos in the past and many smaller settlements whose names are long forgotten. Today they cover the holiday destinations of Göynük, Kemer, Tekirova, Adrasan and Beldibi, which host thousands of tourists each year.
The tallest mountains around the Gulf of Antalya are Kızlar Sivrisi Mountain (3070 m) and Akdağ Mountain (3014 m) on the Teke Peninsula. The meadows lying between the mountain ranges are also host to a rich cultural heritage that has been passed from generation to generation. The high plateaus do not allow for arable farming and are used by the villagers for animal grazing. Migratory life during the summer months concentrates around the mountain lakes above an elevation of 2000 meters.
There are a series of lakes on the high plateaus between the mountain ranges north of the Elmalı Plain on the west of the Teke Peninsula.
The terrain around these lakes is large enough to accommodate both habitation areas for the villagers and grazing land for animals. Lake Yeşil in Akdağ, Lake Girdev in the Fethiye district of Muğla and Lake Baranda in Elmalı are good examples. Many local and foreign tourists visit the mountain lakes which are known for their pristine natural environment.
The mountain ranges east of the Gulf of Antalya do not rise as steeply as those in the west. These mountains begin at the back of the long, broad coastal plains and like the mountains in the Teke Peninsula in the west, they run sometimes perpendicular or sometimes parallel to the north.
The mountains east of the Gulf rise to heights of almost three thousand meters. The plains of Taşeli Plateau are not suitable for agriculture, though perhaps the Gembos Basin in the northwestern corner of İbradı, is an exception. The drainage basin there also feeds the waters of the Manavgat River. Water is retained in the Gembos Plain because of the snow, but recedes during summer making it arable once again. However water starts to accumulate with the autumn and winter rainfall.
Like the mountains of Lycia (Teke Peninsula) in the west, the mountains in Alanya rise sharply from the coast to higher elevations. Beneath these mountain ranges are the three districts of Gündoğmuş, Akseki and İbradı. The mountainous geography of these three districts affected the living and production conditions of its inhabitants.
Civilisation started in this area after the first human inhabitants started to leave their caves, and those who lived in subsequent periods left their tracks in the form of city ruins or temple complexes, which remain unspoiled and largely unexplored.
The plateaus of the Gündoğmuş Mountains are mostly preferred by the yörük villagers of Alanya, whereas the plateaus of the Akseki and İbradı Mountains are the traditional migration paths for villagers from the Manavgat and Serik districts. The migration of the yörük villagers starts in spring. Tents are pitched up among the snow-capped slopes and sheep, goats and cattle are released for grazing. The pastures surrounding the mountain lakes are the most favoured grazing areas in the region.
The largest lake in the region is Lake Eğri in Gündoğmuş district. Lake Eğri, which is used for grazing by the nomadic villagers from Alanya, is mainly fed by the melting snow of one of the tallest mountain in the region, Geyik Mountain. The Ermenek Göksu River, one of the two branches of Göksu River, springs from the waters of the Söbüçimen Plateau east of the lake. Carp can be found in the snow-fed waters of Lake Eğri.
One of the lakes of the Gündoğmuş Mountains, which does not seasonally dry up is Lake Karın. It is somewhat smaller than Lake Eğri. The Yenice Pazar Lake on the western shores of the Alara River is a favourite resting place of the nomadic villagers from Manavgat. The renowned Susam Lake lies near the Susam Beli road which runs along its shores and was a major route connecting Alanya to Central Anatolia in days gone by. Lake Dipsiz, located within the boundaries of Akseki district, is another lake in the region that serves as a habitat for the villages from Manavgat and the Bozkır district of Konya.
The mountain lakes lie above the tree line at altitudes averaging 2000 meters and the diversity of plants, including various species of flowers and grass, is so vast that they are extensively studied by researchers. These mountains, which possess an abundantly rich flora, can accommodate many day-visitors or campers with equipped camping sites. Campers can buy their refreshments in the centre of Gündoğmuş or in the many small shops that have sprung up in the countryside.
The untouched and remote mountains east and west of the Gulf offer visitors an unforgettable holiday experience not easily found elsewhere. Behind the coastal region stretching from Alanya to Manavgat and further north of the mountain lakes comes the Lakes Region, where the majestic Lakes Eğirdir, Kovada, Beyşehir and Salsa slightly to the east are located.
Its name comes from the numerous lakes that are scattered in the geographical area encompassing the provinces of Isparta, Burdur, Antalya and Beyşehir district of Konya province. The lakes are surrounded by high mountains to the south, which do not allow for their surface flow. These lakes have greatly shaped the climate, wildlife and modes of production and way of life in the region.
Two mountains tucked away in the Lakes Region, Mount Davraz and Mount Dedegöl, are becoming more and more popular with ski and mountain sports enthusiasts. Mount Davraz is located within the central district of Isparta province and with investments made in the transportation infrastructure and on accommodation facilities it has become a fully-fledged skiing centre.
Mount Dedegöl, is located within Yenişarbademli district and derives its name from Lake Karagöl, a glacial lake that sits on top of its summit. The stunning views of the mountain and lake, unique vegetation, wildlife and traditional villages and towns make it a must-see location for all visitors. The cedar forests of Dedegöl overflow with colourful tents in every season of the year and the area almost takes on a fairground atmosphere.
The number of local and foreign visitors to Mount Davraz and Mount Dedegöl are increasing every year and this will help promote the region to a wider population.