Demre – Antalya – Turkey

GPS : 36°11’43.6″N 29°50’50.4″E / 36.195433, 29.847325

Kaleköy (literally “Castle’s village” in Turkish; ancient Lycian: Simena), is a village of the Demre district in the Antalya Province of Turkey, located between Kaş and Kale, on the Mediterranean coast. Kaleköy faces the island of Kekova, and can be reached by sea or on foot from Üçağız.

Kaleköy, is one of the most beautiful sights in Kekova. Kaleköy is a popular yachting destination. The bay is at the foot of the castle. Kekova has been taken under 1st class preservation programme. New constructions are strictly prohibited. Kaleköy is one the popular spots for the tripper boats from Kaş, Üçağız and Demre.

The village of Kale clusters below an acropolis topped by an ancient castle. The village women are known for their production of tatting as well as their persistence in attempting to sell their wares. Many of the houses that you pass on your way up incorporate ancient tombs into their walls. Inside the castle ramparts is the smallest Hellenistic theater in Asia Minor and from here the panoramic views of the surrounding land and sea are quite spectacular.

Approach and Navigation
The eastern entrance presents few problems as long as you give the various islets in the approach a good clearance. However, there are dangerous reefs 200 metres SE of the village of Kale Köy (identifiable by its impressive Crusader castle). The reefs are marked with a south cardinal mark, which is lit at night. In the western approach, yachts may pass either side of a small group of rocky islets in the entrance, Karagöl Adaları.

The safer passage, especially on a first visit, is to the west of these islets, since there are dangerous, unmarked reefs 200 metres north of the eastern passage. A white-painted light structure on the northern shore bearing 356 degrees gives you safe entrance through the western passage.

On approaching from the east, care is needed for the shallows and sea – level rocks in the vicinity. There are about 10 – 15 meters depths in the anchorages by the village. There are 3 – 4 meters depth at the head of the piers of the restaurants. The piers of the restaurants afford berthing capacity up to 20 boats. Water and electricity can be obtained. Strong westerlies push swell in and the piers don’t really look beefy enough.

A shallow patch extends out for about 200 meters to the north from the western point of Kekova Island. This patch is around 20 m in diameter. Extreme care is required if you are routing to Kaleköy from the western side of Ölüdeniz. The western and the eastern shores of Kaleköy is shallow.

The safest approach is on a course of 010°, heading for the castle, which avoids the rocky islets and their associated reefs to either side. The bottom is mud and weed over rock and does not provide secure holding. It is better either to anchor inside Üçağız Liman and visit Kale Köy with the dinghy or to berth alongside at one of the three 50 m long pontoons provided by the restaurants. The pontoons belong to the Likya, Hasan’s Roma and Hassan Deniz Restaurants.

All can accommodate around 2/3 yachts either side of their pontoons, depending on size. Depths at the pontoons range from 4.5 metres at the root to 12 – 14 at the end. There are shallows about 20 metres to the west of the westernmost pontoon, which need to be avoided when berthing. All the restaurants offer water and electricity on the pontoon and Wi-Fi. Another smaller restaurant on the west side, Simena Restaurant, has a small stub quay, which is shallow and only suitable for dinghies.

Port Facilities
Water : On pontoons at Üçağız and Kale Köy
Electricity : On pontoons at Üçağız and Kale Köy
In Kale Köy Likya Restaurant is family run and very friendly
At restaurant pontoons in Kale Köy

Transport : Demre, Üçağız by boat


The ancient city of Simena is located on the peninsula right across the island of Kekova. Today, the small fishing village of Kale is situated among the ruins of Simena.

Kallipos is a hero among the founders of the city Simena. The name of Simena appears to be a phonetic variation of “Soamawana” which means “land of the Great Mother” in the Luwian/ Etruscan language. In one of his books, Stephanos, a Byzantine historian, refers to Simena as Somena. The history of the city dates back to around 3000 B.C. Following the Trojan War in the 12th century B.C., many Gallipolians who had sided with the Trojan King Hector, appear to have settled in Soamawana.

Later, the city joined the Lycian Federation and minted its first coin in the 4th century B.C. Following the earthquake during which the city of Kekova sank into the sea, the population of Simena increased due to the influx of surviving Kekovans and the city expanded beyond the fortress. For a certain period of time, Simena was ruled by pirates. During the Roman era, Simena remained an independent city and preserved its Luwian/Etruscan culture and language.

During the 9th century, triggered by an earthquake and the increasing draught, it began to decline. The most prominent structure in the area is the fortress surrounding the acropolis. The fortress is built by using the octagonal and polygonal wall techniques. The pointed arches of the towers of the fortress are an architectural feature of the Etruscan/Thracian tribe. The walls were repaired during the Byzantine era and the Middle Ages.

The main entrance gate of the fortress is rectangular and it is constructed of regularly cut blocks of stone. There are cisterns within the fortress. In addition, there is a small theatre with a seating capacity of 400 and consisting of 8 rows of cavea. The orchestra has earthen floor and the structure behind the orchestra suggests that a small wooden room served as a changing room for performers. This was the smallest theatre in the Lycian region. It may be associated with the male population staying away from home for long periods of time; because they were sailors or fishermen, they did not need a large theatre.

Outside the city walls, overlooking the sea, there is the stoa of the temple of Poseidon. Down towards the shore, the remains of the bathhouse of rectangular plan stand out among the other ruins. The walls of the structure were built using the polygonal wall technique and according to an inscription, it was presented to Emperor Titus. Remains of houses are seen scattered in the area. There are more than twenty house-like tombs and they are all carved into rock in the form of doors and windows. Their façades bear inscriptions in the Lycian stating facts about the deceased. Sarcophagi are carved out of rock.

The village lies amidst a Lycian necropolis, which is partially sunken underwater. Kaleköy is overlooked by a Byzantine castle, built in the Middle Ages to fight the pirates which nested in Kekova. The castle contains a small theatre. The medieval castle at the top of the village and the ancient theatre inside its walls are well worth the climb. The theatre is miniscule, just seven rows of seats. The necropolis of ancient Simena a few hundred yards to the east of the castle is also worth a visit.

There are a number of intact Lycian tombs in an impressive setting overlooking Kekova Roads. The steep path up to the castle is lined with Turkish girls in costume selling scarves and cheap jewellery trinkets. Finally, if berthed at the pontoons, it is an 800 metre dinghy trip over to Kekova Island on a bearing of 130° to visit the impressive ruins of the ancient Lycian city on its north shore that was submerged in an earthquake.

Transport : Demre, Kaleköy by boat

Places of interest

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Demre, 07570 Demre/Antalya, Turkey

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