A TREKKING PARADISE IN THE LAKES REGION: EĞİRDİR

THE WEATHER IS PLEASANT IN SUMMERS IN EĞİRDİR, THE MOST FAMOUS LAKE OF THE LAKES REGION, BECAUSE IT IS 914 METERS ABOVE THE SEA LEVEL. YOU CAN SWIM IN ITS WATERS UNTIL SEPTEMBER.

The lake is completely frozen… The surface is covered with a thick layer of soft snow… A yörük (Turkish nomadic people), which is going from Beyşehir to the town over Gelendost, is advancing through the snow along with his loaded camels, unaware that they are all walking on thin ice. Finally, they arrive in the center of Eğirdir and he joins the Friday prayer at the Hızırbey Mosque. People ask the yörük where he is coming from and which way he is headed. As he answers, “I came through the plain,” he realizes the danger that he just had been through unaware of it. He thanks the God for his life. He sacrifices his two camels. So, the old legend says…

A striking geography
Eğirdir, the most famous lake of the Lakes Region of Turkey, is more silent than any other time of the year in winters. Apple trees begin to blossom in April and apples are picked in September and October. Because of its 914 meters of altitude, Eğirdir’s summers are very pleasant. It is possible to swim in its waters until September. The landscape captures you as you travel through the end of the road from Isparta to Eğirdir. Eğirdir, which stretches between the Taurus Mountains and the second largest sweet-water lake of Turkey, is situated charmingly. The peninsula that is connected to Eğirdir via one-kilometer long road was created by filling a part of the lake and connecting the two close islets, named as Yeşilada and Canada, to the land. This section of the region offers many charming and neat hostels, and restaurants that are settled on the pebbles along the banks.

A trekking paradise
Eğirdir’s geography harbors enough different courses to become the trekking center of the Lakes Region. Daily walks can be taken at many parts of St. Paul Way, which is the second longest course in Turkey. Climbing, walking, or canyoning is much easier in this region compared to Kaçkar or Aladağ Mountains. Climbing to Barla or Davraz, as well as Dedegöl that its altitude reaches 3 thousand meters, are tougher, but the natural life offers wonders at those places. Daily walks are organized to Sivri Mountain that faces the splendid landscapes of Eğirdir. Yörüks who come to these mountains and set their tents add color to this nature in summers.

Young tourism ambassador
Most of the hostels in Eğirdir organize boat tours at the lake. Some of them, the ones that are managed by families with a second income through fishing, take their guests to fishing trips or lend their boats free of charge. You can receive the best information from İbrahim Ağartan who is the owner of Lale Pension. İbrahim has created a backpacker’s paradise in here with the help of his mother and father for over twenty years. İbrahim offers his time and knowledge about the vicinity for free whether you stay at his pension or not. You can go fishing every morning and have the catch of the day cooked and brought to your table for dinner. If you are wandering about ‘how tourism is done?’ we have one word for you that is valid for this place: ‘faithfully.’ If you’d like to see an Apollo Butterfly or Kasnak Oak, which is found only in Canada and Turkey in the world, talk to İbrahim for the right time and location.

Natural life goes on nonstop
Kovada National Park, which is located 29 km south of Eğirdir, is the natural habitat of many animals such as wolf, boar, snake, weasel, and badger. Surrounded by the pine forests, the lake is not suitable for swimming. Having a picnic along the banks might be pleasant. 30 km away from here, you can take a walk in the canyon at the Yazılı Canyon Natural Park located in Çandır, which is 10 km away from Sütçüler district; you can pass the bridges that stretch above the falls, and the best-preserved parts of the King’s Way. You can have trout at the dining facilities watching the spectacular view of the chilly waters.

Following the footsteps of history
You can arrive to the Ancient City of Psidia Antiocheia, which is 80 km away from Eğirdir, passing through the apple orchards located at the east banks of the lake or working your way around the lake over Barla. The city is 2 km to Yalvaç. The city, which had been the capital of the region once and had been settled during the Hellenistic period, harbors ruins from the Roman and Byzantine periods. An important city during the Roman period, Yalvaç had been the sister city of Rome. The most interesting part of the ruins is the Emperor Augustus Temple, which is located at the highest point of the ancient city that had lost its importance completely in the 11th century. Roman baths, receiving water through aqueducts, memorial fountain, and colonnaded way that were able to come until today are from the 2nd century. A church dedicated to St. Paul that is among the first Christian churches is also located in here. The archeological findings that have been found since 1833, which is when the city was discovered, are exhibited at the Yalvaç Museum.

Not much information exists in the history books about the ancient city of Adada, which is 65 km away from Eğirdir and built out of grey face stones. It has been determined by studying the ancient coins that the ancient city of Adada used to be an important city of the Byzantine Empire. You can see a temple built in Corinthian style and a forum, which are in good condition, and an amphitheater, a church and a structure with inscriptions from the Hellenistic period, which are in bad condition. The extension of the King’s Way can be seen from a large part of the city. The Zindan Cavern, which is 27 km to Eğirdir, takes place on the same route. It is known that the cavern, which is 760 meters long, used to be used as a shelter and a temple during the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. The atmosphere is chilling with the bat colonies that radiate strange odors and noises, stalagmites, and stalactites. The ruins of the holy open air temple that was dedicated to Eurymedon is situated at the entrance. The Eurymedian statue that used to be located at the temple is at the Isparta Museum today.

Time for a fair
It would be useful to stop by at the traditional fair, which is held between August and October at Pınar Bazaar. This is the last opportunity to meet and shop for the people of Eğirdir and the yörüks before winter falls. It is a 600-year-old tradition. Yörüks sell whatever they produce and buy whatever they need for winter. During the tenth Saturday of the fair, a bazaar for women only is set. By then the villagers sell their apples, and receive their earnings. They dress up their daughters and bring them to the bazaar. They eat pitas, salted fish, halvah, stuffed grape leaves, and drink together. Mothers of the young men, who are at the age of marriage, give embroidered handkerchiefs to the girls that they like. This place is where the seeds of many marriages are planted.

TASTE STOP
Some specialties that are unique to the Lakes Region are salted carp, stuffed carps, sour carp, sea bass, crawfish on the clay tile, tartar sauce made with carp roe.

ACCOMMODATION
Lale Pension & Guesthouse in Eğirdir is among the reliable addresses that touring agencies choose.