BAFA LAKE TURKEY
Bafa Lake with its magnificent nature, history, mystical beauty, and serenity is surely one of the natural wonders to be seen in Turkey. The name of Bafa Lake’s comes from the oldest language of the region and means “Land of Water”. The ancient ruins found in the Besparmak Mountains (Latmos Ancient City) show that the history of the region goes back to 8000 thousand years ago; which is the polished stone age.
The lake, which used to be a part of the Aegean Sea, has filled the Latmos bay with alluvium carried by the Great River Meander. Today, it is about 16 kilometers from the place where the River Meander flows into the sea. The Söke Plain, which was covered by the sea 2000 years ago, is one of the arable lands of the Aegean region thanks to the fertile alluviums carried by the River Meander. Söke Plain provides a significant portion of the cotton production in Turkey. Also; olive, fig, citrus, wheat, barley, oat, corn, sunflower, and sesame are grown.
FEATURES OF THE LAKE BAFA – TURKEY
Bafa Lake has the distinction of being the largest lake in the Aegean region.
Bafa Lake is 2 meters above sea level which is covering an area of approximately 60 square kilometers.
The shore length of the lake is approximately 50 kilometers.
The deepest point of the Bafa Lake is about 20 meters.
PLACES TO SEE AROUND BAFA LAKE NATURE PARK
The metamorphic structure of the Besparmak Mountains and the density of the giant rocks almost enchants everyone who sees it. These granite rocks were sometimes carved only by wind and other natural factors, sometimes by people living in the Neolithic era. Prehistoric frescoes can be seen on the inner walls of these rocks, many of which are cave-shaped.
One of the places to visit around Bafa Lake is Kapikiri Turkey, which is the most touristic place around the lake. You can easily reach this charming village after driving about 9 km along the coastline at the foot of the Besparmak Mountain. The village, built on the ruins of the Ancient City of Herakleia, which was the center of the region in antiquity, offers its visitors a unique view of Lake Bafa, as well as accommodation and restaurants.
Bafa Lake Nature Park and its surroundings are one of the most enjoyable routes to visit for those whom like natural and tranquil life. The lake, which has attracted the attention of many people with its unique scenery and history, is also home to many bird species. Especially bird species prefer Bafa Lake in autumn and spring months for their shelter and breeding needs. An important region for the survival of its life was declared as a nature protection area in 1994. It is possible to camp in and around the lake, which is preferred by photography lovers, bird-watching groups and hiking groups, or to enjoy the night view by staying in small pensions.
There are islands of Ikizce, Mener, Kapıkırı, and Kahvesar on the lake. For those who want to take a stroll on the lake, you can visit the churches and monasteries here by providing transportation to the islands on the lake with small boats used by the locals. Especially the Seven Monastery, which is the oldest monastery in the region, attracts many visitors with its frescoes on the walls of Jesus’ life, deeds, and death. Botanical Tours, Archeology Tours and Trekking Tours with local guides are also very popular.
BAFA LAKE – HERAKLEIA ANCIENT CITY (LATMOS TURKEY)
Although the city is geographically located on the border of Ionia and Caria, it has been accepted as a typical Carian city with its character and historical background. The city is named after Heracles, the famous mythology hero. While its name was Latmos in the 8th century BC, it was captured by the Carian Satrap Mausolus during the Persians period.
As a result of Alexander’s Asia campaign, it was subordinated to the rule of the Alexander Empire and then the Seleucids. Herakleia Ancient City, which lost its former importance after its connection with the sea was cut in the 1st century BC, became a hiding place for Christian monks due to the difficulty in transportation.
Built on very rugged and rocky terrain, the Latmos / Herakleia Ancient City is surrounded by 6.5 km long walls, which are reinforced with 65 towers. The city walls showing regular rectangular and square stone workmanship were built in the Hellenistic Period. Herakleia, which was inhabited according to the Hippodamos city plan, is one of the examples where the grid-shaped parcel and street plan that cut each other perpendicularly are well implemented.
The Temple of Athena in Herakleia, located on the rocky terrain behind the harbor, is one of the best-preserved structures in the city. It is a Hellenistic Age structure with two columns, in Templum in Antis style. The Agora of Herakleia, located to the east of the Temple of Athena, has two floors and the first floor has survived today. The places of the shops and inns in the agora are clear to explore. And, the walls on the south side shows how stonework was good at that time.
MYTHOLOGY IN HERAKLEIA
The love of Shepherd Endimon, who spread his sheeps on the peek of the Besparmak Mountains, for the Moon Goddess Selene is just one of those legends that have survived to the present day. According to legend, Endimon is a shepherd who has nothing but his reedpipe. The Moon Goddess Selene falls in love with Endimon while watching his human beauty. Selene, the moon goddess, leans over Endimon every night, wraps and arms over Endimon with her silver light.
For Endimon and Selene, love was the light. Even Zeus enjoys this love and asks Endimon about his wish. Endimon wishes “an immortal sleep”. Since that day, the peaks of the Besparmak Mountains shine like snow in the moonlight, and the voice of Endimon’s reedpipe is heard.
Endimon had great love to the Goddess of the Moon, Selene is a beautiful woman who travels the sky with a silver-wheeled cart pulled by two horses. She had also many other lovers. It is known that she was even with Zeus and had a daughter named Pandia, and she made love to God Pan in Arcadia. But, the most legendary love of Selene was with Endimon. It is said that she has 50 daughters from Endimon.
WHAT TO EAT AROUND BAFA LAKE?
Along the way, local restaurants stand out, especially for fish lovers, where they can taste fresh fish such as sea bass, eel and mullet caught from the lake. At the same time, you should not return without tasting the delicious olive oil dishes of Aegean cuisine.
HOW TO GO BAFA LAKE / KAPIKIRI / LATMOS / HERAKLEIA?
Bafa Lake is located 140 km from Izmir, 70 km from Kuşadası, and 90 km from Bodrum. Getting here by public buses can be quite complicated and tiring. Therefore, it would better to travel by your own vehicle or taking a private transfer from an agency.
Turkey has a larger and richer cultural structure you can imagine. There are hundreds or even thousands of historical and cultural places that can be visited and seen. Continue reading our blog posts and benefiting from useful information to plan your trip smoothly. If you ever need help with creating your itinerary or have questions, do not hesitate to contact our team! If you liked our posts, do not forget to share it with your friends!