Bafa Lake & Herakleia

Lake Bafa ( Bafa Gölü ) is 25 km from the town of Söke in the province of Aydın. A serene and tranquil place, you really do feel that you have managed to escape from the stresses of life when you arrive here. The lake is actually a National Park and benefits from some stunning landscapes with the backdrop of the Latmos mountains behind it.

This is a bird waters paradise. Hikers also gravitate to the lake to see the prehistoric rock art or explore the historic sites. The lake is often referred to as Lake Çamiçi or Çamiçi Gölü. It never used to be a lake. This was once a gulf on the Aegean coast but as with the archaeological sites at Priene, Miletus and Didyma, the land was silted up by the Meander River.

Most people head for the village of Kapıkırı which seems to be the centre of activities for the lake but more importantly for the fact that it is built among the ruins of the ancient town of Heraclaea, a castle with rock tombs and ancient city walls. There is a restaurant with some stunning views of the lake. You can drive around and find a number of lookout points which are popular with photographers and bird watchers.

One thing to mention. Do not park near the ruined theatre. There are bands of village women who are particularly agressive at trying to extract money from the tourists or for acting as unecessary tour guides. They will direct you down a dirt track until you are hemmed in and chase your car like a gaggle of geese trying to sell you anything from honey to woven crafts that they want extortionate money for. Avoid them at all costs. They are a nuisance.

Bafa Lake was declared a nature reserve in 1994, the Lake Bafa Nature Park, or Bafa Gölü Tabiat Parkı, reaches a depth of up to 25 metres and gets its water from the Meander River. There are also underground sources of water that find their way to the lake from the mountains.

The ruins of Myus are not that well known and do not get very many visitors. They can be found by the village of Avşar Kalesi. Although there is not much to see there now, Myus was once an important city state of the Ionian colonies.

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