Olimpos (Olympus Turkey) And The Chimaera (Chimera) Turkey
Midway between Kumluca and Tekirova two roads lead down from the main highway towards the villages of Çavuşköy and Çıralı, to Adrasan beach, and to the ruins of ancient Olimpos and the site of the Chimaera, all set within the glorious Bey Mountains Coastal National Park. Unless you have your own transport, you should take the road signposted 'Olimpos-Çıralı-Yanartaş/Chimaera 7km' which will bring you straight down to Çıralı village and its numerous pensions, ali within walking dis-tance of the Olimpos ruins and the Chimaera; taxis wait at the highway turn-off to take you to Çıralı for a stiff US$7. Corning from Kumluca, this will be the second turn-off signposted to Olimpos; coming from Antalya it will be the first.
If you take the Çavuşköy turn-off it will be 1 lkm to the village.
Olimpos Turkey, Olimpos Lodge
Though a very ancient city, the early history of Olimpos is shrouded in mystery. We know that it was an important Lycian city by the 2nd century BC, and that the Olympians worshipped Hephaestos (Vul-can), the god of fire. No doubt this veneration sprang from reverence for the mysterious Chimaera, an eternal flame which stili springs from the earth not far from the city. Along with the other Lycian coastal cities, Olimpos went into a decline in the 1st century BC. With the coming of the Romans in the 1st century AD, things improved, but in the 3rd century AD pirate attacks brought impoverishment. in the Middle Ages the Venetians, Genoese and Rhodians built fortresses along the coast (bits of which stili remain), but by the 15th century Olimpos had been abandoned.
Today the site is fascinating, not just for its ruins (which are fragmentary and widely scattered among the thick verdure of wild grapevines, flowering oleander, bay trees, wild figs and pines), but for its site, just inland from a beautiful beach along the course of a stream which runs through a rocky gorge. The stream dries to a rivulet in high summer and a ramble along its course, listening to the wind in the trees and the songs of innumerable birds, is a rare treat, with never a tour bus in sight.
The site is effectively open all the time but during daylight hours a custodian awaits to relieve those wishing to climb to the acropolis of US$5. There's a car park at the nonbeach end of the site.
From Çıralı, follow the track marked for the Chimaera (Yanartaş, Burning Rock in Turkish) 3km along a valley to a car park, then climb up a mud track for another 20 to 30 minutes to the site.
The Chimaera, a cluster of spontaneous flames which blaze from crevices on the rocky slopes of Mt Olimpos, is the stuff of legends. it's not difficult to see why ancient peoples attributed these extraordinary flames to the breath of a monster - part lion, part goat and part dragon. Even today, they have not been explained.
in mythology, the Chimaera was the son of Typhon. Typhon was the fıerce and mon-strous son of Gaia, the earth goddess, who was so frightening that Zeus set him on fire and buried him alive under Mt Aetna, thereby creating the volcano. Typhon's off-spring, the Chimaera, was killed by the hero Bellerophon on the orders of King Iobates of Lycia. Bellerophon killed the monster by aerial bombardment - mounting Pegasus, the winged horse, and pouring molten lead into the Chimaera's mouth.
Today gas stili seeps from the earth and bursts into flame upon contact with the air. The exact composition of the gas is unknovvn, though it is thought to contain some methane. Though the flames can be extinguished now by being covered, they will reignite when un-covered. in ancient times they were much more vigorous, being easily recognised at night by mariners sailing along the coast.
Places to Stay & Eat, Olympos Hotel, Olimpos Pension Turkey
Çıralı Arriving in Çıralı, you cross a small bridge where a few taxis wait to run people back up to the main road. Continue across the bridge and you'll come to a junction in the road disfigured with innumerable sign-boards. Go straight on for the pensions nearest to the path up to the Chimaera. Turn right for the pensions closest to the beach and the Olimpos ruins.
The Standard price for a pension double room here - actually more like a one-star hotel room, with private bath and breakfast in Çıralı village, Orange Pansiyon (242-825 7128) is quite nice, as is Aygün Pansiyon (242-825 7146) beyond it (not to be confused with the neighbouring Grand Aygün). There are six other decent places here as well.
An even better location is down by the beach. Follow the signs to Fehim Pansiyon (it 242-825 7250), an older place with more spacious, shady grounds and a full restau-rant. Adjoining it are Sima Peace Pansiyon (242-825 7245), a tidy collection of little honey-coloured pine cabins; and the slight-ly cheaper, family run Emin Pansiyon (n 242-825 7155), an excellent choice. Otel Odile ftr 242-825 7163, fax 825 7164) next door is a bit fancier and slightly more ex-pensive. Ali these places are barely l00m in from the beach, shaded by lofty pines.
The small and friendly Rüya Pansiyon (242-825 7055), tucked away behind a school, is another good choice. Mini Pansiyon (242-825 7066) has good little cabins right on the stream by the Çıralı market just up from Garden Pansiyon.
Walking along the beach tovvards the Olimpos ruins you'll come to the delightful Olympos Lodge (242-825 7171, fax 825 7173), PO Box 38, Çıralı, a beautiful lodge and villas set among citrus orchards and well-tended gardens near the beach. The management is German, everything is well maintained, and the price, at US$80/120/180 a single/double/quad suite, breakfast in-cluded, is well worth a splurge.
in summer there are plenty of small beach restaurants serving up simple kebap meals but most close by the end of October.
Along the road leading to the Olimpos ruins are several rustic restaurants which allow camping as well. Kadir's Yörük Top Tree House (242-892 1250, fax 892 1110, firstname.lastname@example.org) is the funki-est and best of several similar establishments (Olimpos, Olimpos Şerif, Türkmen, Çamlık) with rustic ramshackle charm and Internet connections. Kadir charges about US$10 per person for a bed in a tree house (communal showers and toilets) with breakfast and dinner included. Kadir's Yörük Top Tree House is 700m inland from the Olimpos ruins.
Adrasan/Çavuşköy (Cavus), Adrasan Hotels
South along the coast from Olimpos about 10km is Çavuşköy, more commonly called by its historical name of Adrasan, a tiny little-known coast-al resort with a grovving collection of beachfront hotels and pensions. Like Çıralı, Adrasan is a farming village, but turn in the main square and follow the sign pointing east 5km to the Adrasan Turistik Tesisleri (Tourism Facilities).
Adrasan Hotel Turkey, Adrasan Pension and Restaurant
The relatively clean, unpolluted beach is lined with little pensions and hotels, in-cluding İkizler Pansiyon - Restaurant (242-883 5227), Atıcı Motel & Pension, Çizmeci Hotel and Gelidonya Pension. The fancier Sözen Motel (242-883 5153), Koreli Motel (242-883 5413) and the adjoining Hotel Ford (242-883 5121, fax 883 5097) all charge about US$60 for a double room with bath and breakfast and perhaps air-con. These three places ha ve swimming pools, and ali are only a few steps from the beach.
Getting There & Away
Unless you have your own transport getting to Olimpos is tricky because no dolmuşes run to Çıralı, the most obvious place to base yourself. Buses plying up and down the main road linking Antalya and Fethiye will drop you at either of the road junctions leading to Çıralı or Çavuşköy/Adrasan. Taxis usually wait at the Çıralı junction, charging US$10 for the short run.
in summer boats run from Adrasan beach to Demre and Kaş.On Friday there are dolmuşes from Çıralı to Kumluca market.