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Manavgat is a district of Antalya in Turkey as well as being the name of a town on the Manavgat River. The town has over 100,000 inhabitants and the atmosphere is typically Turkish with an informal style and relaxed atmosphere.
Tourists have discovered the area in the last couple of decades and this is hardly surprising because it is stunningly beautiful and unspoilt. Fortunately the Turkish government has had the foresight to protect much of the countryside from development as they realise this is what people come to enjoy.
The area is situated between the balmy Mediterranean coast to the south and the Taurus Mountains to the north. Much of the area is a flat, green fertile plain with farming and agriculture as the main occupations here. Many crops are grown including sesame and grains. The area's rich soil is ideal for cultivating vegetables as well as fruit including olives. Greenhouses dot the countryside and flowers are grown in many of them.
The mountain sides are covered with typical Mediterranean shrubs and lush forests. Higher up in the mountains there are small plains traditionally used by Yoruk nomads for summer grazing.
To the south of Manavgat is the Sorgun Forest in which stands the beautiful Lake Titreyengol, originally formed by alluvial silt that filled the River Manavgat delta.
Quite when Manavgat was founded is unknown but is estimated to be around 200BC. Early documents show cargo and human transportation on the river dating from early centuries.
In the Taurus Mountains is the Lake of Oymapinar Dam which has its own unique beauty. Jeep Safaris can be taken in the region which is a fertile plant where cotton can be seen growing as well as barley and wheat. These type of safari holidays are proving extremely popular as they are a great way in which to see the countryside without having to hire a car.
To the east of the town, many gardens grow their own crops including bananas. There are trout and shrimp farms on the river too which help supply many local restaurants. The Manavgat river is vital to the local economy as its waters irrigate the whole area and there are two dams on the river which create hydro electricity for the town and the surrounding area.
The climate of the region is dry and hot during the summer months. The winters are warm and wet and freezing temperatures are hardly ever experienced. This makes Manavgat a popular destination throughout the year mainly with those trying to escape the harsh Northern European winters. The area has over sixty kilometres of white sandy beaches. Together with the lovely river, a stunning waterfall and hundreds of sunny days per year it is no wonder the area is popular for overseas visitors as it has so much to offer everyone.
The coastline has plenty of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets from smart hotels to tiny bed and breakfast establishments. There are many historical sites, caves, rivers and streams. People enjoy swimming in the river and it is a rather unique experience to swim in fresh water into the river mouth where the water is salty. It is no surprise that the local cuisine includes many Mediterranean fish dishes.
Manavgat can be said to be a typical Turkish town. There are cafes, tea gardens and parks along the river banks and there are local street markets several times per week. The town has a good selection of restaurants and shops and bicycle hire is popular because the area is flat. In fact this is a great way to see the town. Local people are friendly and welcoming and English and German are widely spoken.
Manavgat has its own street market on a Thursday. Turkish markets are always lively affairs and it is an experience not to be missed. Haggling over prices is considered quite normal and once you get the hang of it, it can be fun and great bargains can be had.
Tourism has changed the area and continues to do so. There are discos, bars and plenty on offer for young people and families. The nearby coastal villages of Ilica and Kumkoy are very lively. The region is gearing up for further tourist attractions and plans are afoot for several golf courses in the area. The government has been quick to respond to the needs of tourists whilst at the same time appreciating it has to preserve what they come to see. Although the area is no longer a hidden secret, it is certain that its beauty and uniqueness are in safe hands and will be there for all to enjoy for many centuries to come.