Ancient Simena, known as Kaleköy today, is a small Lycian coastal city. It has the characteristic of being a strategic point that has been inhabited since the 4th century. The ruin that reflects this feature most vividly is the castle, which has remained intact until today, from which it is possible to watch the most perfect views of Kekova and its surroundings. Simena is one of the rare settlements in Turkey that can only be reached by sea. The ancient city of Simena, located in the Kekova Special Environmental Protection Area covering an area of 260 square kilometers, is registered as a first degree archaeological site.
Kekova, which gave its name to the region, is both the 7.4-kilometer-long island, 500 meters from the coast, just opposite Simena, and the general area of the region, which also includes Simena, Teimiussa (Üçağız), Aperlai (Hot) Pier, Aquarium Bay, Gökkaya Bay. is the name. The northern shores of the island, facing Simena, are full of traces of civilization that was partially submerged in earthquakes in ancient times, such as stone stairs, house ruins, pier ruins, half of which is in the water and half outside, extending to 4-5 meters deep into the sea. Simena is located on the peninsula opposite Kekova Island. Üçağız, known as the port city of Teimiussa in ancient times, which was the first entrance to the Kekova Region by land, was the safest corner to protect sailors against the heaviest waves of the Mediterranean, located next to the neighboring Simena. Between Kaleköy and Üçağız, it is possible to observe the remains of roads and piers that were submerged under water, among the small islets that were used as a quarry for sarcophagi.
Although the name of the ancient city of Simena was mentioned for the first time by Pilinius (1st century AD), as it can be understood from the Lycian inscription and the silver coin found in Aperlai, its history dates back to BC. It goes back to the 4th century. The city was a member of a federation that included Apollonia and Isinda under the presidency of Aperlai. It was represented by the city of Aperlai in the Lycian league. It is understood that Simena lived as an independent city after the region joined the Roman Empire.
The first building that stands out when approaching the shore is the remains of the Roman bath complex, which is thought to have been built in 79 BC, with the inscription "It was gifted to Emperor Titus by the people of Aperlai and its council and other cities of the union". While reaching the castle with the help of a steep path from the beach and occasionally ancient steps, two sarcophagi attract attention. One has a small exedra and the other has an inscription that it is dedicated to Mentor, son of Idargus. When you reach the castle, the first thing that stands out is the theater, one of the most important ruins of Simena, with 7 rows of seats and a capacity of 300 people, built by carving into the natural rock. Water cisterns, rock tombs and traces of the religious building, which was first used as a temple, then a church and lastly a mosque, are among the other ruins of the castle. Lycian sarcophagi, moles and building ruins can be seen easily in still weather. To the northeast of the castle lies a large necropolis area consisting of sarcophagi and rock tombs. An inscription in Lycian language is remarkable in one of the house-type tombs.
"To get to Simena Panysion, you will have yo be picked up from Ucagiz village by boat. It was a short ride but certainly a memorable start to a pleasant stay. The hotel staff were warm, friendly and welcoming, always ready to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Although not located by the water, there’s always a sun bed for you at Kale Panysion, same owners. I had my meals at Kale Panysion and it was lovely home cooked Turkish food. In the evenings, I could sit peacefully on my balcony with lovely views of the sea. I had a lovely stay."
"Very cozy and stylish family-run pension with the view over the haven. They also provide boat transfer to/from Ucagiz, have they beach facilities (together with Kale pension). I would imagine how let's say Orkhan Pamuk wrote his novels at such a place - very picturesque and tranquil."
"We took a boat trip from Ucagiz to Kekova two years ago and promised ourselves we would return and stay a couple of days. In the event we stayed for a week enjoying the most peaceful week ever. Yasin and Hatice were outstanding hosts and the accommodation was simple, comfortable and great value. We had read that the restaurants were a little expensive but they seemed to be very reasonable with good choices, tasty fresh food and very adequate wine. The views from Simena Pansion were lovely and the early morning canoe trips, walks around the castle and over the hill to Ucagiz all enjoyable. Recommended without hesitation! The transfers to and from Antalya were also efficient and comfortable. Just go there and try it, you'll love it."
"The place is absolutely amazing. The food, the view, the atmosphere. I have stayed in many hotels and this is by far one of the best. The water is like in Maldives and in Sardinia, you can see everything! Yasim and his family was so friendly and the best hosts that I could imagine! His daughters were so polite. The whole family made a great impression on our family by their hospitality, warmth and kindness. The people on the island are likewise. This is the perfect place if you just want to enjoy the nature, views and have an amazing vacation. We will definitely come back!"