NORTH OF ANTALYA
Renowned for its unspoilt landscape and flora and fauna, the Goller Bolgesi (Lake District) lies in a mountainous area 150 km north of Antalya. Burdur is known throughout Turkey for its beautiful lakes, as well as for its carpets and kilims. The city preserves ex cellent examples of Ottoman regional architecture, in particular the Tasoda, Kocaoda (also known as Celikbas), and Misirlilar Konaks, or mansions. Dating back to the 17th century, both the interior and exterior decorations reveal much of the Ottoman aesthetic. The Burdur Archaeological Museum houses some very important artifacts from around the region.
Burdur Lake, with nice beaches for swimming, is a superb location for water sports. A climb to the top of Susamlik Hill gives you a panoramic view over the city and lake. The Insuyu Cave, 10 km south on the road to Antalya, is 597 meters long, with nine distinct pools, and chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
A hundred kilometers southwest of Burdur, in Golhisar (Cibyra), are ruins, mostly from Roman times, of an important ancient northern Lycian city with a stadium, lower and upper agora, theater, necropolis and large aqueducts. Also in the region, trapped in the mountains 1050 meters above sea level, is beautiful Lake Salda, an ideal location for retaxation and cooling off on the sandy beaches or in the lakeside cafes, hotels and restaurants.
Between Burdur and Isparta, hear the town of Aglasun, is the ancient site of Sagalassos, a Pisidian city with ruins from Roman times including a monumental entrance gate, colonnaded street, agora, temple and magnifient theater.
Isparta, high in the Taurus Mountains, is a city of lakes with lovely coastal areas overgrown in the spring and summer with an exuberance of wild flowers. In the city you should stop at the Ulu Mosque, built in 1417 by the Seljuks. The Bedesten, or covered bazaar, dates from 1561. Firdevs Pasa Mosque was built in the 16th century by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Be sure to see the 14th century Isparta Castle. Rose gardens that produce rose oil for the cosmetic industry surround the city and fill it with their sweet scent. Other souvenirs include a thickly piled Isparta carpet. In the nearby hills, the districts of Kirazlidere and Sidre are popular with visitors who want to relax and enjoy the view. South of Isparta, Golcuk Lake, encircled by aromatic pine forests, rests at an impressive 1405 meters above sea level.
Egirdir, at the southern end of Lake Egirdir, is set in idyllic natural surroundings. Among the man-made monuments, Egirdir Castle built by the Lydian King Croesus shows the additions and renovations of the Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks. The Seljuk Kemerli Minare has felt the changes of the modern world today it stands in the middle of a road. In the lakeside restaurants you can sample white bass, the local speciality. A boardwalk connects the shore to Egirdir Island where weavers erect their looms and work outside their houses.
On the western side of the lake, up in the hills, Barla's guest-houses provide a wonderful opportunity for relaxation. Kovada National Park, 30 km south of Lake Egirdir, surrounds Kovada Lake, a pristine and cool mountain getaway.
Northeast of Isparta, Yalvac stands near the ancient city of Pisidian Antioch, This area was visited by St. Paul and St. Barnabas in 46 A.D. Among the ruins be sure to see St. Paul's Basilica, the aqueducts, Augustus Temple, the theater and public baths as you walk along the city's marble streets. The Archaeological Museum in Yalvac itself displays several important regional artifacts. Tourists will find not only leather clothing but many interesting traditional souvenirs made of animal hide. East of Yalvac, atop Karakuyu Hill, is the sanctuary of the Moon God, Men, and the view from it is breathtaking. Giant cedar trees grow in Kizildag National Park, south of Yalvac, amid one of Turkey's most splendid landscapes.