Kalkan is located only 17 kilometers away from the beautiful yayla (high mountain valley) village of Bezirgan, elevation 700 metres. Historically, many locals of Kalkan have owned land both in Kalkan and in Bezirgan. Today many still follow the pattern of their ancestors, spending summers in the coolness of the mountains and winters near the warm coast. During the summer months about 650 people live here and this number drops to about 150 in the winter when the population moves back down to the coast.
Bezirgan is a completely different environment from what you see on the coast. It is an authentic working Turkish village and the people living here live much as their ancestors did 100 years ago. The village is nestled on an ancient lake bed of rich soil which supports a luxurious coat of fertile fields yielding grains and chickpeas, lush orchards and grazing land for sheep and goats.
One reaches the village after an lovely 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.
There’s 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. You can take walks about the village and observe Turkish country life with its slow pace or alternatively, walks in the mountains encircling the village. There are also several Lycian ruins to be seen within the village itself. Or sit outside and have a cup of tea at the tea house in the central grassy “square” and watch the local men play the game “OK”, tavla (backgammon) and dominoes.
Don’t miss the large cluster of ambars in the southwest corner of the village. These are traditional wooden grain storehouses with a construction method carried over from the ancient Lycians. You can read about themhere (see the bottom of this page for a photo). If you take the trail leading past the ambars, you can hike to the top of the mountain and get a fantastic view over Kalkan and the sea.
A trip to Bezirgan is an opportunity for a glimpse into a very different way of life than most of us are used to, a visit back in time. The most beautiful time of the year to visit is in May when the valley is covered in sweeping fields of crimson poppies.