Turkey has not only a beautiful coastline, but is also home to inland water life. North of Antalya is the Anatolian Lake District, consisting of three main lakes; Lake Burdur, Lake Egirdir and Lake Beysehir. There are also many other smaller lakes throughout this district. The main town in the area is Isparta, famous for its rose oil, however it is Egirdir that is the most interesting and astonishingly beautiful.
Egirdir is a town situated on the southern tip of Lake Egirdir, overlooking Mount Davraz. Lake Egirdir is the fourth largest lake in Turkey, with an area of 482km². Egirdir was previously known as Egridir, unfortunately this means ‘it’s crooked’, so to remove the negative connotations, the name was changed to Egirdir, meaning ‘she is spinning’. Opposite the town centre are two small islands, connected to each other and the mainland by a cause way. They are known as Canada and Yesilada and are good places to base yourself to view the natural and historic sites of Egirdir.
Egirdir was originally founded by the Hittites and was a regular stop on the King’s Way, between Ephesus and Babylon. It was this position on the trade route, that made the city flourish. In 1200 BC Egirdir was taken by the Phrygians, then the Lydians, before being captured by the Perisans and conquered by Alexander the Great. In Byzantine times the town was known as Akrotiri, meaning ‘Steep Mountain’. The Ottomans finally took control in the 14th century, but the population of the island of Yesilada remained mainly Greek, until the population Exchange in 1923.
SIGHTS AND ATTRACTIONS
The sights of Egirdir can easily be visited in just over an hour. The sights include the ruins of a castle, which was thought to be built in the 5th century, the crumbling walls of an old han, the remains of the ancient city of Prostanna and the Turkish army’s commando base. Other more worthwhile sites are;
HIZIR BEY CAMII
Hizir Bey Camii was originally built as a Seljuk warehouse in 1237, but transformed into a mosque in 1308. The mosque is simple in design and structure, with a simple row of windows above the central hall and new tiles around the mihrab. The doors are finally carved in wood and notice should be taken of the blue tiling on the minaret.
DUNDAR BEY MEDRESESI
Located opposite the Mosque of Hizir Bey Camii, is Dundar Bey Medresesi, a seminary. Originally built as a caravanserai by a Seljuk Sultan in 1218, it was transformed into a Medrese in 1285. It is no longer used for religious reason, and operates as a bazaar. A notable feature is the walk through minaret, with an arch in its base and connects it to the mosque.
DAVRAZ DAGI / MOUNTAIN DAVRAZ
Davraz Dagi is 2635 metres or 8645 feet high and a great recreational feature in both summer and winter. In summer it is a great place to hike, and in winter the ski season begins around mid-December until March, depending on the season. There is a five star resort on the mountain, or regular dolmuses between Egirdir and Mt Davraz.