Kalkan History

Kalkan, known as Kalamaki in ancient times is thought to have been founded 150 - 200 years ago by traders from the Greek island of Meis or with the Greek name of Castellorizo, which is a couple of miles away from Kas town.

Their success encouraged other settlers of both Turkish and Greek origin particularly from Rhodes. In those days all were of course subject of the Ottoman empire.

The influence of the settlers from Meis can be seen in the similarity of the architecture between Meis and Kalkan. Having the only hospitable harbour between Fethiye and Kas also encouraged the development of the village.

In the old town there are two mosques now, one of them which is opposite of Akin pansion was originally Greek orthodox church and you can still see a small cross on the roof .

During the Ottoman Empire period over 500 years Turks and Greeks lived until the early 1920's in kalkan. Today you can see lots of smilarities between Turkish and Greek culture , cuisine and lifestyle.

The main occupation of the Kalkan people was trade. Produce was brought to the village from the high lands and the fertile Patara plain by camels and loaded , via small boats , onto large ships in the bay. From here the produce was taken east to Syria , Lebanon , Egypt , Cyprus and Rhodos , all members of the Ottoman Empire.

During the early 20th century, Kalkan appears to have been quite a prosperous port. There were 17 restaurants, a goldsmith and several tailors. There was also a customs house which was restored and has been used as a family house since. Other thriving industries were charcoal, silk, cotton, olive oil, grain, sesame (a trip to Bezirgan village in the summer will reveal fields of sesame), grapes and timber .

The first changes started to occur in the early 1920's with the founding of the Turkish Republic and exchange in the Greek and Turkish populations.Greeks who lived in kalkan and other parts of Turkey moved to Greece, Greek islands and Australia.Turks who were living in Greece and Greek islands moved to Turkey.

The first coastal road linking all the southern coastal towns opened in the early 1960's . At this time many people left Kalkan to make business in larger towns such as Antalya and Fethiye.

Kalkan's resurgence came in the late 1960's with visits from wealthy yachtsmen. Tourism received a large boost with the asphalting of the road between Kalkan and Fethiye in 1984 which change destiny of Kalkan.


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