After years of isolation, Turkish Lakeland has been discovered by birdwatchers, trekkers and skiers, and many tourists now stop off en route from Cappadocia and Konya to the south coast around Antalya or Fethiye. Facilities are quickly improving, especially in Eğirdir, but the area as a whole remains unspoiled by tourism, making it ideal for quiet, unhurried holidays away from the seething coastal resorts. As well as the eye-catching lakes themselves, it holds the remains of Pisidian cities (notably at Sagalassos and Antioch ad Pisidiam), and the provincial town of Afyon, a popular winter destination with its acclaimed thermal spa hotels.

Brief history

Despite Lakeland’s inhospitable nature, it has been populated as long as anywhere in Anatolia. In early Paleolithic times, the lakes provided a livelihood for primitive hunters and fishermen, and during the Bronze Age, the Hittites, a race who once rivalled the Egyptians, chose the plateau as their homeland.

By the early historical period, northern Lakeland had been settled by the Pisidians, mountain people who sold their services as mercenaries throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Their strategically situated settlements were difficult to subdue, and Xenophon described them as perennially obstinate troublemakers, who succeeded in keeping their towns independent despite the continuing encroachments of the Persian Empire.

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