It is one of the rare beaches that the caretta carettas find safe enough to lay their eggs. Iztuzu is a natural wonder with the award “second beach that maintains its naturality”. It is said there is no beach like Iztuzu with one side being fresh water and the other Mediterranean. The sand of the beach starting from the mountains, vertical to the sea and close up the edge of the delta, is golden and very thin. Water is crystal clear. The shore is shallow and it leaves a velvet feeling under you feet as you walk.
The people of Kaunos used Iztuzu as a harbor in old times. It is learned from an epitaph that this beach used to be a customs point and the people of Kaunos used to sell salt, slaves and salted fish there.
Another surprise waiting for you at the shore is the romantic dance of the sea and the beach. The images that the sea forms are a perfect proof the nature’s unlimited creativity. The beach is 5400 m long. There is no construction allowed except for the changing cabins. Also, in order to avoid any possible damage to the caretta caretta eggs, pets, such as cats and dogs, are not allowed on the beach. At the certain points, it is prohibited to place an umbrella.
There are two ways to go to the beach of Iztuzu. First one is by boat; you can come to the beach by the boats from the port of Dalyan in about 35-40 minutes with a wonderful journey among the thick rush. The second way is to take the mini-buses that leave near the post-office. This journey is also very nice, moving along the Sülüngür Lake and the pine trees. But still, we suggest you take the boats, as the views are more beautiful when you come to Iztuzu and the journey is more fun.
As you walk through the beach of Iztuzu, a wonder of nature, you will be jealous of your own shadow!
The cute sea turtles, animals on the list of “animals in danger of exhaustion”, come to the Iztuzu Beach in Dalyan to lay their eggs. Caretta carettas are considered “luxury food” in France, Italy and Far East countries and over-hunting has almost wiped off their species. With the effort of the Dalyan people, the beach of Iztuzu is now under protection. The construction of the German-Turkish hotel, started to be built in 1980, was stopped with the struggle of the Dalyan society, foreign inhabitants and the Association of the Preservation of the Natural Life. The final result of this great struggle was the hotel’s complete tearing-down.
The length of the caretta carettas varies between 115 cm and 150 cm and they are usually 70-90 kg, their shells are brown and bellies orange. Caretta carettas, which feed on moss generally, live in colonies. Their life span is thought to be about 70 years. Caretta carettas, which lay eggs normally once in 2-3 years, bury their eggs in one of the holes that they dig using their back feet. A caretta digs 80-100 holes but buries all her eggs in one (it is either to hide the eggs and the hole in which the eggs are in or in order to hide the eggs in the best conditions, to check the moisture may be a reasonable explanation for digging all those holes). The process of laying eggs takes hours and the mother turtle cries since she suffers of pain. In Iztuzu Beach the nesting period is 55-60 days between May and July. The male turtles hatch about 28.5 C, females about 32 C at the beginning of July and this continues until September. There are many natural enemies of the eggs and fox is one of the most dangerous ones. Foxes can find the eggs by sniffing and destroy them. The turtles come out of the eggs and go towards the light reflecting on the water where they will start their life. However, many die of thirst because they lose their way and cannot make it to the sea. Many others that make it to the water end up being food to crabs, fish and birds. The experts say 1-2 turtles are enough for the survival of the species. If there is another light in the area that might mislead them, the turtles follow the false light that will cost their lives. For this reason, it is prohibited to enter the Iztuzu Beach from sunset till dawn.
CAUNOS ANCIENT CITY
Kaunos (Carian: Kbid; Lycian: Khbide; Ancient Greek: Καῦνος; Latin: Caunus) was a city of ancient Caria and in Anatolia, a few km west of the modern town of Dalyan, Muğla Province, Turkey.
The Calbys river (now known as the Dalyan river) was the border between Caria and Lycia. Initially Kaunos was a separate state; then it became a part of Caria and later still of Lycia.
Kaunos was an important sea port, the history of which is supposed to date back till the 10th century BC. Because of the formation of İztuzu Beach and the silting of the former Bay of Dalyan (from approx. 200 BC onwards), Kaunos is now located about 8 km from the coast. The city had two ports, the southern port at the southeast of Küçük Kale and the inner port at its northwest (the present Sülüklü Göl, Lake of the Leeches). The southern port was used from the foundation of the city till roughly the end of the Hellenistic era, after which it became inaccessible due to its drying out. The inner or trade port could be closed by chains. The latter was used till the late days of Kaunos, but due to the silting of the delta and the ports, Kaunos had by then long lost its important function as a trade port. After Caria had been captured by Turkish tribes and the serious malaria epidemic of the 15th century AD, Kaunos was completely abandoned.
In 1966 Prof. Baki Öğün started the excavations of ancient Kaunos. These have been continued up to the present day, and are now supervised by Prof. Cengiz Işık.
There are some places that unfold all the magnificence of history. Such places are the living proofs of history, not the theory.
You will feel your soul squeeze with the greatness of history when you see the King Tombs in Dalyan: The eternal King Tombs have been standing there for1000 years against all the harshness of time and carrying the mysteries of the past to the future. As you look at the tombs, you get the feeling that the stones have something to say. The gigantic rocks had been caved in amazing forms. The tombs that are caved in the rocks, at some points with an angle of 80 C to the sea, force the limits of your mind.
According to the archeologists, these tombs are the symbol of wealth and power in the antique city of Kanuos. Most of the city, even today, is still protected with borders that are 7-8 m high.
In the rock tombs, which were caved as in the form of Ionia sanctuary, there are three lines of stones for the dead to be buried. The Ionian columns that decorate the front side of the monuments have been destroyed. Only in one of the pediments, the glyph of two lions facing each other is interesting sight.
It is prohibited to walk through the rock tombs because they are high and/can be dangerous and prohibition is the only way to avoid man-made destruction.
Apart from its natural beauties, Dalyan is also known as the “healing place”. Many famous people coming here from all over the world is the perfect sign of this popularity. The number of people who say they had suffered waist pains, rheumatism and sciatica until they came here is hardly a few. The first of these places is the Sultaniye Thermal Water.
Sultaniye Thermal Water, on the southwest of the Lake of Köyceğiz, on the skirts of the Ölmez Mountain, is only 4 km away from Dalyan. Boats departing from the port come here. Sultaniye Thermal Water has the highest (98.3) radioactive thermal water in Turkey and is the second in the world after the thermal waters in Indonesia. The water is 39 C. It has calcium chlorine, calcium sulfate, calcium sulfur and radon.
It is said that the thermal water has a healing effect on waist pains, rheumatism, sciatica, nephritis, skin diseases and gyniatrics. The healing period is 21 days and you must bath twice a day starting with 10 minutes. Drinking this water is also good for liver, cystic and gut diseases.
The water in the Sultaniye Thermal Water had been used in the times of the Kaunos people. Later, the Byzantines turned this place into a stopover. The ruins from that period are under the waters of Lake of Köyceğiz.
There is a beautifying mud close to the area where the Lake of Köyceğiz meets the Dalyan Delta. This is the daily tours’ first stop, the place where Dustin Hoffman and Sting came in the 90s. Until today, it has not been allowed to construct any cultivation so as not to harm the formation of the natural mud. It is not scientifically proved that the mud applied on the body has a healing effect but we cannot go without saying that the people here say it does. It is said that as the mud dries, it tightens on your skin and if you continue doing this for some time, the wrinkles on your body disappear. After the mud bath, try to the hot water spring that is also in the same area. The spring is said to be good for rheumatism, waist problems and sciatica. As far as we can see, the mud makes a difference on your skin and a form of animation for the visitors. The tourists see each other covered in mud, have fun and take lots of photos. This creates a fun activity in the region.
DELTA OF DALYAN
If you are in Dalyan, you surely must take a boat tour. You certainly cannot find an answer to the question “how does it feel to be in nature?” until you live the breathtaking view of the Dalyan Delta or the magic of the rush that makes you feel like you are in a gigantic labyrinth or wandering on a world map.
When moving along the rush, the grandness of the steep rocks is a proof of the nature’s generosity. The multicolored bird that appears suddenly and demonstrates a nice show on “how to catch fish” with its long rostrum is the kingfisher. Many observers from different parts of the world come to Dalyan to see rare birds such as this. The water is so clear that you can watch the fish accompany the boat all through the tour.
The places such as bars, restaurants, cafes, built on the river, are one-flat facilities and in great harmony with the nature. Of course, of the greatest view is the Stone Tombs appearing on the right when moving towards Iztuzu. The magnificent appearance that has been standing there for other 3000 years definitely takes your breath. It used to be possible to walk through the tombs in the past but four years ago, because of the damage caused by the people, it was prohibited and still is.
As you move along, you can see the walls of the antique Kaunos on your right. As the boat drains off, you lose your sense of direction, the minute you think you will go right; the captain turns the wheel to the opposite direction. Due to the geographic conditions, many twists and lakes have been formed in time. As the boat flows towards the sea, you come to the Iztuzu Beach, which is the second best natural beach in the world where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean and where you can swim either in fresh or in salt water.
When you move up from the delta, you come to the Lake of Köyceğiz. If you are traveling with one of the daily tours, this lake is the second stop after the mud baths. The boats drop anchor in the middle of the lake for you to enjoy swimming in fresh waters.
By the way, do not be surprised to see the dalyans (fish farms) that you might come across in the delta.