AFKULE KOYU ANCHORAGE

Fethiye – Muğla – Turkey

GPS : 36°34’39.3″N 29°01’51.2″E / 36.577571, 29.030890

A ruined monastery high above us on the cliffs. Last year an old coastguard boat was scuppered in the very deep water near here to provide a home for sea creatures, making it a great dive area. Not so far away there are some weirdly wonderful semi-submerged caves, forming part of the headland known as Iblis Burnu, or Devil’s cape.

Diving

This is another fascinating dive site were you first, very slowly, descend to 24 m to enjoy the beautiful scenery before arriving at the entrance of this rather large cavern that is home to the Red small shrimp. After 10 minutes or so you will ascend to 12 m then 4 m and at 200 m you will find the huge entrance of the cave that allows 10 divers easily through at the same time; the cave is so large you will need to kick fins for at least 50 m before reaching the end and when you turn around you can see the sunlight running all around the cave. When you ascend to the surface here you can use a torch to see all the calcium deposits that Mother Nature has made.

This is another great wall dive for drop off lovers and has all the colours and marine life that you would expect to find in the Mediterranean. There is a small cavern full of shrimp at 28 m and the reef wall seems to continue endlessly to the final part of the dive.

This is a great drop-off dive that also features a small cave teeming with shrimp. For beginner through advanced divers, Tarzan Bay is an option. It’s both easy and beautiful, with sundry remains of ancient pottery jars (amphora) visible on the seafloor.

Intermediate to advanced divers with a passion for the past may well find Amphora Bay intriguing, which got its name from the large number of Roman pottery jars (circa. 300 B.C.) on the bottom. The slope drops steeply. Rock formations are home to a wide variety of marine creatures, including octopuses, moray eels, and groupers.

Afkule Monastery
GPS : 36°34’46.2″N 29°02’14.2″E / 36.579503, 29.037272

You will see the remains of a monastery 400 m above the sea level, on a hill that slopes into the sea. According to the legend, the 10 m square monastery, known locally as Afkule, was carved into the rock at a cost of a lifetime of suffering by a monk named Ayios Elefeterios. This location has a spectacular view, from which you can see İblis Point, Kurdoğlu Point and, if the weather is fine, even the island of Rhodes.

The nearest location where you can swim in the Kayaköy region is Soğuksu (Cold Water) Cove. Its name does not refer to the temperature of sea but possibly to the spring water boiling into the sea. You can walk from the church following the path up the hill and then down to the water, the stroll taking half an hour.

Perhaps a more rewarding sight is the monastery at Afkule (also spelled Af Kule), clinging at the high cliffs over the sea, and which affords really impressive views over the Gulf of Fethiye, as far away as Rhodes if the air is clear. Other than its roof, this Greek Orthodox monastery is as sound as it was when abandoned in 1920s.

To get there, you will need a short (about 3 km) but pretty demanding hike up and down along a trail, part of it, though, fortunately, through a pine forest. In total it takes around an hour on foot to get there from the ghost town.

West of Kayaköy, leave the gravel road to Gemile at where the trail (a dirt track) to Afkule branches off, which is properly marked by yellow signs. At about midway through the trail to Afkule (about 1 km away from where you started), you’ll notice a branching track to right – this is the wrong path, keep to the trail to left instead.

The trail ends in a open space – carpark for those taking their vehicles along the track. From here, take the wide track to right, which is waymarked with the yellow-red marks usual in the area, and which will slowly ascent to the top of the cliff, which is about 1 km away from the carpark.

Then the trail will descend down to the monastery, but be extremely careful in this section as it is very easy to slip down since the path is covered with loose gravel. Perhaps not for the faint hearted, you can further explore the lower stories of the complex (the church and residences of the monks) once you are in the monastery, though that will require a very steep climb down with the full view of high cliffs down to the coast (a whopping 400 m just below your feet).

It is said, that building of the monastery was his way of doing penance to god in utter solitude and it costs him his whole lifetime. Only god knows, how he managed to accomplish these physical and mental strains and struggles all by himself.

Nowadays the monastery is in ruinous condition, but you can access these ruins and you can also proceed into the carved rooms in the rock. The lower ones must have been used as a stable for goats. Amongst the other remaining masonry you’ll find 2 chapels and a cistern, which is superior to the monastery.

Places of interest

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Coordinates

36°34'39.3"N
29°01'51.2"E

Address

Fethiye, Muğla Province, Turkey

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