The Dalyan River and The Byblis Myth
night view of dalyan

Wide, deep and calm the Dalyan plain is bordered by a natural channel, one which passes in front of the rock -tombs, skirts jested Acropolis, then moves on to reach the sea… The life’s blood of the Koycegiz-Dalyan Ecosystem.

Spread out all along the river banks, and dotting the Delta like an archipelago, the tall plumes of reeds whisper a very old story in the soft breezes. This is the tragic tale told by Ovid in his masterpiece “The Metamorphoses”, about the birth of the Calbis River and legendary King Caunos, who founded the ancient city named after him.

According to this legend, Caunos and Byblis, twin children of King Miletus, were very attached to each other. However, when they reached puberty Byblis fell in love with her brother and made her passion known to him in a letter. Upset and angry, Caunos fled Miletos in order not to see his sister again and founded the city bearing his name at the Caria-Lycia border. Devastated by her impossible love, Byblis tore off her clothes in despair and wandered off. As her life unravelled in scandalous gossip, she watered the forests with her unceasing tears. It is said that the Naiads dug out a canal through which Byblis’s tears flowed. Byblis withered away crying, but the spring created by her endless lament flowed through the Calbis River to meet the sea. To this day, any similar tales of unrequited love have come to be called “Love for Caunos”. The story is melancholic, but Calbis’ calm green water and the habitat around it have been blessed with nature’s fervent embrace.

TIP: You can read the original story from English translation of Ovid’s “The Metamorphoses” here, including link to downloadable full script.

After a short journey on the Dalyan River you will come across a wooden pier on the right bank, to which many boats are tied. This leads to the mud bath of the Horozlar Thermal Spring. This open air pool in the lap of nature, which emits sulphurous steam, is the second curative centre of the region after the Sultaniye hot springs and is a popular destination for tourist groups.

The mesmerizing views leading you through the river’s labyrinthine course suddenly brings you to the impressive sight of the Dalyan’s town and to rock tombs lining the steep cliffs right across it.

dalyan area ecosystem

Source: Koycegiz – Dalyan A Journey Through History Within The Labyrinth of Nature, (pages: 42-43), Altan Türe, 2011, Faya Kültürel Yayınları

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Murat Deniz

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