Kemer is a seaside resort and district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, 43 km (27 mi) west of the city of Antalya, on the Turkish Riviera.
Kemer is on the Gulf of Antalya, 53 km (33 mi) of sea coast with the skirts of the western Taurus Mountains behind. The coast has the typical Mediterranean hot, dry weather and warm sea. Until the early 1980s this was a quiet rural district, but today the town of Kemer and the coastal villages in the district play a very important part in tourism in Turkey.
Historic map of Kemer by Piri Reis
Kemer was the ancient Greek city of Idyros, a member of the Lycian League, which after the Ottoman era was called Eski Köy (Old Village) until a 23 km (14 mi) long stone wall was built in 1916 – 1917 to channel the mountain stream water and protect the town from flooding, which until then had been a persistent problem. The name Kemer refers to those walls.
Before the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, Greek families lived in the area with the Turks of the area peacefully coexisting. A water mill still exists in the village of Aslanbucak that used to belong to the Greeks of the village of Kemer and Aslanbucak, but the mill is currently located on a private property.
Until the 1960s there was no road connection and the district was accessible only by boat. Then a road was built and from the 1980s onwards this was followed by a great investment in infrastructure, planned by the state and funded by the World Bank, aimed at developing a large tourist industry.
The economy of the Kemer district is mostly based on tourism. In the district, which has been declared a first-degree tourism area, there are generally touristic businesses on the coast. Especially orange, lemons and tangerines are grown in the region where agriculture and fruit growing. Recently, pomegranate cultivation has also become widespread.
Tourism in Kemer
A park in the town center
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One of the major attractions of Kemer is its natural environment, including the sea, mountains, and pine forests. The shore from Beldibi to Tekirova consists of a number of beaches in bays of various sizes, mostly stoney rather than sand.
Supported by transport and communication links, and related municipal services, Kemer has a large proportion of the hotel bed capacity of the Antalya region and attracts visitors from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and in recent years families from Russia. Many of the visitors come as part of low-cost all-inclusive package deals but tourism is still the mainstay of the local economy. There are so many visitors that most shops in Kemer are set up to sell things like leather jackets to overseas visitors, and trade in the euro as well as the Turkish lira.
Moonlight Beach near Kemer
Kemer’s 320-berth marina offers several restaurants for tourists as well as being a wintering-over marina for liveaboard sailors from the US, England, and other parts of Europe.
Göynük (Goynuk) Canyon, Ulupınar, Olympos, Chimaera, Phaselis, Three Islands and Eco Park are the touristic sites of the Kemer area.
The town of Kemer has a number of clubs, bars, and restaurants, blue flag beaches, and a 320-capacity yacht marina. Coastal villages include Beldibi, Kiriş, Çayova, Aslanbucak, Kuzdere, Beycik, Çamyuva, Göynük, and Çıralı.
Annual events in the area include art exhibitions in Phaselis, boat races, WRC (World Rally Championship), Turkey Offshore Championship, Turkey Motocross Championship, Phaselis Art Festival, and Kemer Carnival. International pop stars and DJs, such as Tarkan and DJ Tiesto, give summer concerts on this coast.
The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkish: Cumhurbaşkanlığı Bisiklet Turu) is a professional road bicycle racing stage race held each spring.
In recent years[when?] there is a rising number of outdoor enthusiasts visiting Kemer for trekking the Lycian Way and for mountain biking.
Kemer has a hot Mediterranean climate with very hot, long, and dry summers with cool, rainy winters. In the height of summer temperatures frequently exceed 40 °C (104 °F).
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