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For thousands of years the Dalaman River thundered out of the mountains to the North East of here, then took a great sweep to the West to meet the sea where today the famous tourist town of Dalyan is located in the SW of Turkey. Over many millennia fertile alluvial flood plains were created that attracted early settlers and herders. Then, some two thousand or so years ago an earthquake changed the course of the Dalaman River to roughly where it is today. Prone to seasonal flooding, these plains were unsuitable for settlement, but all around at the foot of the mountains, communities sprang up. The most famous is Caunos at Dalyan, but here, in what is now Okçular it is possible that an earlier settlement took root. . .

 

Just a few years ago our village emerged from a year long battle to prevent outsiders from turning Kocadere Valley into a  quarry and cement fabrication. Without consultation with us they had obtained licenses that were a death sentence to many of our orchards, our beautiful valley and our way of life. With determination and guidance from professionals we have succeeded in saving Kocadere Valley, our farms and our livelihoods. . .

 

For those who love rambling and nature there are some stimulating walks to be had especially during springtime which here begins early January. You may be dodging the odd deluge, or truly spectacular thunderstorm, but in this mild region everywhere will be carpeted with flowers in colours to die for. . .

 

Anemones thrive here in every colour from white to pink to deep red, blue to purple with all shades in between. Orchids abound together with cyclamen and in late spring, tulips, the national flower of Turkey will be found. Here too is critically endangered Alkanna muglilae. One local flower lover photographed hundreds of different varieties of flowering plants over a two month period in and around Kocadere. Because herbicides are almost unknown here, fields and hedgerows are a riot of colour and variety in flora and fauna. . .

 

Sit quietly at many a beautiful spot around our “rocky island” as evening draws in and you’ll have every chance of seeing Mr Brock the badger as he pokes his nose cautiously out of his set and sniffs the air before setting off for a night of foraging. Everywhere you look there’ll either be something to fire your imagination or your curiosity, or else a spot to relax and let the cares of the “daily grind” wash right away. . .

 

As you walk these quiet trackways through orchard, valley or mountain, keep your eyes open - on the ground, around and above you. There are buzzards, bee eaters, rock nuthatch, red squirrels, fire salamanders (don’t handle), badgers, foxes, wild pig (keep clear), hawks and harriers (the list is endless), flocks of goats and the odd local. How many different sorts of flowers will you see? Remember your camera so you can take a picture and not the flower. . .

 

Just a few extracts from ‘Okçular Village - a Guide’

© 2010 The Okçular Book Project

Walking in Paradise

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