Beysehir Tourist Attractions
Western Taurus (Isaurian-Pisidian lake district)Situation and CharacteristicsThe district town of Beysehir, attractively situated at the southeast corner of Beysehir Gölü at the point where the canalised Beysehir Çayi enters the lake, is a busy market town, the economic center of a sizable agricultural basin. Lying at the junction of two ancient routes (Konya to Izmir and Konya to Antalya), it combines remnants of an old town (northwest on the lakeside) with a new town to the east. Stretching away northeast of the new town is the intensively cultivated Beysehir Ovasi, mainly given over to horticulture.Beysehir (Princely Town) was established in the 13th century by a high official of the Seljuk imperial administration, the Emir Esref, who made it his feudal seat. It probably occupies the site of ancient Parlais.
This seven-bay mosque is one of the loveliest wooden mosques in Anatolia. Endowed in 1296 by Esrofoglu Süleiman Bey, son of Esref, Beysehir's founder, it has a most striking forest-like interior with 48 closely spaced pine trunk columns with elaborately carved stalactitic capitals, and a prayer niche with fine tiles. The joinery of the beams supporting the flat wooden roof, enhanced in typical fashion above the center aisle, is of the highest order. The carving on the staircase pulpit is equally outstanding, as is that on two other pulpits, one large and one small. The founder's türbe (1301) stands beside the east wall.
Lake Beysehir, also called Kireli Gölü after a village which stands a little way back from its northeast shore, is 45km/28mi long and 25km/15mi wide, making it the third largest lake in Turkey (roughly the size of Lake Constance). The turquoise blue waters, teeming with carp and other fish, have a slight soda content and so should not be drunk. On the southwest side there are a number of karst chasms into which the lake drains underground. In contrast to the low-lying eastern shore, on the west side rise two massifs, the Dedegöl Daglari (2,980m/9,780ft) and Anamas Dag (2,992km/9,819ft), steep rock walls separating the basins of Lakes Beysehir and Egridir. Here, beneath the 2,397m/7,867ft-high Ciçekdagi, is found the Pinargözü cave (1,550m/5,087ft up) from which, as at the Kazanbüvet karst spring near Yesildag and the Pinarbasi spring near Adaköy (southwest of the lake), a considerable volume of water flows. There are about 30 islands in the lake, the largest being Mada Adasi in the northwest. It was at one time inhabited by settlers from Russia and became known as Kasak Adasi (Cossack island).The rather inaccessible north and west sides of the lake are now a National Park (the Kizildag Milli Parki). Further south only a low sill of land separates Lake Beysehir from Lake Sugla which geologists assume formed part of a single basin in the late Tertiary.
Bozkir (Isauria Vetus)
Above Ulupinar, a village on the southwest side of the Belören/Karaman road about 10km/6mi east of the small town of Bozkir, lie the ruins of Isauria Vetus, chief town of the Roman province of Isauria and described by Strabo in his time as a well-fortified village. The site, also known as Zengiba Kalesi, was excavated in 1984 by Ilhan Temizsoy. Extensive remains were uncovered, including the acropolis wall with an entrance gate to the south and ruined towers once up to 15m/49ft high. On the acropolis are the remains of the agora, an Arch of Hadrian and two churches. Further north stands an octagonal centrally-planned church with an apse and eight pillars. To the north and the southwest are necropolises, their rock tombs handsomely carved with reliefs.
Near the village of Çamlik, about 45km/28mi south of Beysehir and 9km/6mi west of Akseki, there is an interesting cave system, unfortunately not easily accessible to the average holidaymaker. A little below the village is the Körükini cave through which the Uzun Su flows for 1200m/¾ mile, widening out at intervals into thirteen small and not so small lakes. It then re-emerges to rush down the Degirmendere (Mill Valley) before disappearing again into the Suluin cave, 300m/328yds long with two more underground lakes. There is another cave (Balat cave) in a side valley a bit lower down on the right, and 6km/4mi higher up near Hasan Köprüsü are several more large sink-holes.
Eflâtun Pinari is situated some 4km/2.5mi east of the Beysehir to Egridir road, the turn-off being about 15km/9mi north of Beysehir. This important Hittite shrine dating from the New Kingdom (1460-1200 B.C.) stands beside a karst spring, its abundant waters forming a pool. The shrine itself consists of a 7m/23ft-long altar-like structure of stone blocks, presumed to have come from an earlier complex, decorated on the front with a relief depicting deities (left and right) beneath two small winged suns. Below them are figures of several mythical beings and another larger winged sun. There is no agreement among archeologists as to the significance of the relief. Behind the structure are the base of a lion and lower part of an enthroned god.
At Fasilar, a village about 10km/6mi east of Beysehir, a large stone statue, 7.5m/25ft long, lies fallen on the hillside. The village has so far defied classification and experts are yet to agree the exact age of the figure, placing it somewhere between the Old and New Hittite periods. One theory links the figure, assumed to be that of a god or a king, to the shrine at the Eflâtun Pinari sacred spring 40km/25mi away. Near the village is a rock tomb with a relief depicting a horse.
Near Gölyaka, a village on the west side of Lake Beysehir reached by only moderate roads, are the excavated remains of a Seljuk palace, summer residence of the Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad (1219-36). Remnants of tiles from the walls of this once luxuriously appointed complex, originally consisting of at least sixteen buildings, can be seen in the museum at the Büyük Karatay Medresesi in Konya. The tiles are of considerable art historical interest on account of their portrayal of living creatures, a practice forbidden according to the hadith (the seventh-ninth century corpus of Mohammedan lore and tradition supplementary to the Koran). Despite this prohibition the Seljuk princes apparently continued to adorn their palaces with such images right up to the 14th century Hundreds of examples of figurative art were recovered from Kubadabad Palace, depicting, for example, Seljuk noblemen, beautiful women with almond-shaped eyes, long hair and small mouths, animals, double-eagles and fabulous and mythical beings. They show clear evidence of Iranian-Central Asian influence, as well as echoing Shamanistic beliefs.