Assigned to Turkey in 1932 on its northern side are the sunken ruins of an ancient town called Dolchiste which was destroyed in the 2nd century by an earthquake. There are also ruins of an ancient dockyard to the northwest of the island.
In the beginning of 1990, the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forest declared the Kekova region as protected. The prohibition has now been lifted from all areas other than the sunken ruins.
The Kekova region spans over 100 square miles and includes Kekova Island and the villages Kalekoy, Ucagiz and four ancient towns, Simena, Aperlae, Dolchiste and Teimloussa. 260km squared of Kekova was declared as a Specially Protected Area in 1990 and this was to protect the natural and cultural geographic richness of the island and the surrounding coast. This area is still managed by the Ministry of Environment today.
Kekova is a must see and very enjoyable place to visit because of the total beauty and tranquillity. Popular with the yachts and cruise boats, the cruising yachts will often stay here for weeks at a time. It is a place of peace and steeped in history with the additional benefit of clear blue waters, sun, nature that is unspoilt and fantastic swimming.
The ancient sunken city is well worth a visit and you will see a charming mixture of ancient, medieval and modern history which is very interesting as well as picturesque. The ancient city was a tiny fishing village that was divided into two parts. The island and the coastal part, the charming fishing village Kalekoy is still there today with its buildings being amongst ancient and medieval ones. On the highest point of the village stands the castle which is well preserved and would have been built by the Knights of Rhodes. In the castle you will see the tiniest amphitheatre of Lycia.
To the east and at the end of the village is an ancient Lycian necropolis with a cluster of sarcophagus surrounded by the olive trees overlooking the sea. Close to the harbour is another sarcophagus emerging from the water.
Over the bay along the island are the half sunken ruins emerged in the waters and these would have been the residential areas. Several of the houses are under the water with the staircases also descending into the water. The foundations of these buildings and the ancient harbour can still be seen from the sea.
Whilst this may seem an unlikely choice of attraction, you should make a point of visiting during your holiday as it is a fascinating area that contains all types of architecture that you are unlikely to ever see again.
This is a really worthwhile way to spend a day and historically interesting too.