Bezirgan and Islamlar
Bezirgan is located in the mountains behind Kalkan, and is a completely different environment from what you see on the coast. Nestled in the ancient lake bed on a plateau, the rich soil is ideal for growing grains, fruit and grazing land for sheep and goats. It is an authentic working Turkish village and the people living here live much as their ancestors did. Being cooler in the summer and colder in the winter, you will find that many of the families of Kalkan have properties in both locations, choosing the warm summer months to reside in the village, while the colder winter months are spent on the coast where the weather is considerably warmer.
There is a lot to see in Bezirgan, charming village houses and gardens and depending on the season you will see planting, animals being shorn, wool processed, grain winnowed and fruit and vegetables laid out for winter use. Bezirgan is a relaxing place and its friendly people are full of traditional Turkish hospitality. The village makes an interesting daytrip and you can walk about the village, observing Turkish country life with its slow pace or alternatively, walk in the mountains encircling the village. There are also several Lycian ruins to be seen within the village itself.
The village is reached after a scenic drive high above Kalkan with a spectacular view of the Mediterranean below as well as a look into the depths of the Kaputaş Gorge. A remarkable change in vegetation is seen before one reaches the crest of the mountain valley where Bezirgan lays below in all its beauty.
Islamlar is in the opposite direction of Bezirgan, and is scattered among the hillside. Originally of Greek origin and called Bodamya, on the way to the village square you will pass a number of trout restaurants. From these you will hear and see the fresh flowing mountain water, which has made the area famous for the fresh fish in the region and all the ingredients are locally grown and sourced, from the trout that is raised in the natural water to the rocket that is picked fresh from the garden, this really is eating from the source and with a zero carbon footprint.
Again you will notice in the summer how much clearer and cooler the air is compared to the coast, there is no humidity here and often in August this is the ideal place to come for a traditional Turkish breakfast or to while away the hours over lunch.
Once you reach the village square you will see many of the older style houses and there is even a watermill where the grain is still ground for the locals to make bread. As with Bezirgan, village life is slow, and you can watch the local men playing backgammon or talking about politics in the local coffee house, or the women looking after the children while sitting in the shade and drinking tea.
Both the villages of Bezirgan and Islamlar are worthy of a visit, even if it is to just escape the coastal heat for a few hours.