The abundance in nature of the color blue must be the most striking and impressive feature of Bodrum, Turgutreis and Yalikavak towns. All three towns will eagerly welcome you to join in the deep sensation of admiration and wonder that engulfs you as you enter them. Therefore, a dazzling time begins. When leaving, you cannot resist the temptation to stand near the windmills in Yalikavak and have a last look at the bustling town from above the blue. The enchanting silhouettes of Bodrum and Turgutreis towns from the peak of the slopes and a few broken windmills silently watching the lush valley by the side of the winding road, furnished with a few observation decks, will encapsulate anyone visiting Yalikavak. A few minutes of rest by the observation decks provide the onlooker with a lifelong snapshot of a piece of heaven. What an impressive greeting and what a joyful ritual of farewell by Yalikavak...
18 kilometers to Bodrum, situated on the Northwestern face of the peninsula, Yalikavak is the most famous of the towns in Bodrum and certainly the only one that grows in an overwhelming speed. Legend says it that its name is a depiction to many poplar trees it once had. Contrary to its namesake, nowadays it is rather difficult to spot poplar trees in the area. Indeed, its hills are covered by oak forests. Yalikavak is proud to boost a 29 km shoreline dotted with many restaurants, cafes and teagardens and is the windiest area in the region. The howls of endless winds almost never cease in this town. The wind makes itself felt as it beats the shore in a rhythmic procession over the waves. Having acquired its share of god’s wonders, the town is usually comfortably cool in winter. The Yalikavak fans keep coming all throughout the year to savor the ever-distinctive seasons. However, as is the case all over the peninsula, summer time is the most crowded time of the town. Population rises dramatically in the summer season. Becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, the locals were sponge divers and fisherman until recent past. It is well known that most famous of the sponge divers came from Yalikavak. Tales of the lion hearted divers struggling to earn their bread from the depths of the Aegean are still told. In those days, they say, “you had to sign a declaration that nobody should be held responsible for death at sea”. The families that were left behind had no other alternative but to prey and watch the horizon in the hope that their loved one would come back alive. Once abundant with sponges, fishing was another occupation people had for survival…the sea is indeed as generous as the fertile lands are in this geography. I must not forget the citrus groves, which once covered the valley floor. Once upon a time, they say, the scent of citrus flower in springtime covered the entire valley for weeks.
Times changed and sponge diving abruptly ceased because of a plague that swept the sea basin. Imported citrus fruit took over the market and citrus groves give rise to holiday villas in time. In Time "Tourism" became the valuable market. Currently, the people of Yalikavak invite the visitors to share in on the most valuable presents from the Mother Nature: the sea, the sun and the clean air are graciously offered.
It should be everyone’s duty to advise people to visit Tilkicik, Pasha, Agacbasli, Dutlu, Alaca bays, go for walking in Küdür bay, to swim in Erdemil and Giciman beaches of Yalikavak and to let the iodine in the air fill their lungs, to stay at one of the many small and clean hotels and pensions and enjoy the food prepared by waterside restaurants.
Another symbol of Yalikavak, that must be mentioned along with the windmills, is the Mediterranean Seals, which live in the town’s bays. In danger of extinction, the total Monachus Monachus (Mediterranean Seal) population in the world is thought to be around 350. An unknown number of them inhabit these shores and sometimes it is possible to see them frolicking in the water. About 60 of the 350 seal population in the world are thought to inhabit the Turkish Coasts. It is not surprising to see these friendly creatures choosing especially Küdür Bay to rest.
On the culinary side, Yalikavak is also well known for its mouthwatering, palate tickling Kofte’s. It is a joy to sit on small stools, carefully positioned outside of the Kofte shops and enjoy the delightful atmosphere of the small town square by the sea. Following the Kofte feast, you may choose to stroll down to Jeffi Kamhi’s Yalikavak Port Marina to spend some tranquil time admiring the many super yachts moored. The idea of watching a film in the Marina Cinema and shopping is enough to tickle the senses of anyone without even going to the marina, which boosted the popularity and the development of the town immensely with the peaceful atmosphere it offers.
The villages sprinkled around the hills surrounding the vista are just as characteristic of the Aegean settlements as Yalikavak itself and just as inviting. Geris, likened to Tibetan villages by many, and the deserted Sandima, where no one but three souls live, Gokcebel and Dagbelen villages are definitely the most striking reflections of Aegean life style and the deep-rooted history... It is impossible not to feel as if in a time warp when visiting Geris, known as Pasanda in the past, which has a history dating back to 4500 years. One of the most striking panoramas you could ever see lies beneath as you stand at the peaks of the Karain (mausoleum) and Burgaz settlement built by the ancient Lelegian people. Geris is also known as home to almost historical “Mirrored Kilims”, featuring pieces of mirrors in central part of the kilim, which are woven by only three old women.
The deserted Sandima Village, built on the southern outskirts of the 35-meter high, conical shaped Partipanaz Hill, which is visible from any point and was used as a sun watch by Yalikavak people, also has a rich history indeed. The village was a safe heaven from the pirates who often raided the rich Anatolian coast in the antiquity. The latest inhabitants gradually and completely deserted the village in order to start citrus farming near the sea. Following the increase in tourism activities, the village was left for ruins. There is only a single water well and tens of ruined homes built by the Greek inhabitants, who once inhabited the area. The population of the village, which is only 2 kilometers away from the town center, is three. One feels as if walking through a mystical film set that is carefully set up.
Seasonal holidaymakers find it difficult to leave the town at the end of their three months holiday. “This is a place to live forever, but our consolation is, as the song says, “Separation is about love, separated are in love...”
bMAMAGAZİNE dOĞAN ŞAHİN