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About Cirali

Mount Olympos provides a stunning backdrop to the forests of pines, sandalwood and cedars from where the ruins of Olympos and crystal clear streams emerge onto a pristine coastline. A coastline visited by Gods and turtles and the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean, some of whom stayed to plant orchards of pomegranate and groves of oranges and lemons. They planted gardens where birds sing and wildflowers line the roadways. The love for their environment has seen more and more locals take to organic gardening. The trees tower over houses and family run hotels. Surrounded by the Olympos National Park, Cirali has discovered its place in the world. Is it any wonder that this paradise is protected?

In the long spring season swim in the pristine waters while marvelling at the snow capped mountains. The snow feeds the ice cold Ulupınar and Olympos streams as they continue to carve out valleys and down through ancient Olympos and the gentle village of Cirali. Follow those streams to their source along the walking trails and explore the Lycian Way trails. The warmer summer season is for umbrellas on the beach, cool gardens and boat trips. The Mediterranean sea maintains its temperature and the warm gentle breezes into early winter before a short rainy season.

Ancient Olympos

Olympos was a very important city in the Lycian League. It was established in the Hellenistic period, in the 3rd century BC, and was annexed to the Roman Empire in 78 BC. The ruins of this ancient town lie on both banks of the Olympos River, that flows from east to west and pours into the Mediterranean sea. In ancient times the river canal was built of stones. A bridge connected both sides of the river, of which one part survives. Along the southern bank we can still notice a well-preserved section of the Hellenistic pier. Buried in the vegetation are the ruins of a small theatre, hot springs, an agora and some tombs dating from the Hellenistic period. On the hillside stand the ruins of a Byzantine fortress. Of particular interest is the monumental gate of an Ionic Roman temple erected at the time of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD). The doorway measures 2.90 x 7.85m and it led to a cella (the inner room or sanctuary of an ancient Greek or Roman temple, in which the statue of the god was situated) measuring 12.53 x 10.70m. From an inscription on a statue-base lying at the foot of the door we learn that there was a statue of Marcus Aurelius standing in the temple.

Christianity reached the city quite early. The first known bishop of the city was Methodios who was executed during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305) or more likely 20th June 312. A bishop known by name Aristocritus attended Councils in Ephesus (431 A.D.) and Constantinople (451 A.D.) and in the years 457-548 A.D. Anatolius represented Olympos in the Constantinople Council. There remains little information about Olympos after the 6th century A.D., due in large part to the onslaught of Arab hoards who were becoming prominent in the Mediterranean regions during the 7th century A.D. Subject to invasion, as they were, by Venetian, Genoan and Rhodesian Knights during the Crusades, there is likely to have been some settlement within the defensive structures on the southern slopes known as "Ceneviz Hill" as well as in the city itself. In the 15th century, during the reign of Mehmet the Couqueror, Olympos became part of Ottoman territory, along with the whole of the Teke peninsula. From 18th to the early 20th century, Olympos appears not to have been made use of with any consistency by the Turks, but was rather used by nomads as wintering quarters. In the 1850's however, a character known as Cypriot Haci Hasan built a watermill on the South Port Road.


This is a fascinating natural phenomenon of constant flames of burning methane gas rising from the rocky surface which provides an inextinguishable source of myth and historical accounts. The sight is especially impressive by night. In ancient time the fire was explained as the fiery breath of a monster that lived underground. It was said to be made out of three creatures: A lion, a goat and a serpent. It was finally slain by the hero Bellerophon who flew over it riding his winged horse Pegasus. This site was identified by Sir Francis Beaufort in 1811.

From Upper Chimaera there is a wonderful view of the Mediterranean coastline to the east and of the mountains and forests to the west.

Villa Lukka, Ulupınar Village, Cirali, Kemer, Antalya, Turkey +90 242 825 73 76 / +90 533 650 92 50
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