Cornucopia’s travel guide

Lake Beyşehir


The New York poet John Nash was drawn to Lake Beyşehir by stories of the Seljuk's summer palace of Kubadabad, on the royal road between their capital of Konya and their winter residence in Alanya. Although the ruins are one of the few surviving major Seljuk sights, Nash was surprised that friends in Istanbul had never heard of it. Writing in Cornucopia 11 about his visit to Turkey's largest freshwater lake, he observed, "I have never seen so large a lake so absolutely still." The lake is 45km long and 20 km wide and is protected within the Beyşehir National Park. Its substantial reed beds attract thousands of birds every autumn and the lake is important for wintering wildfowl. Surrounding hamlets such as Gölyaka and Yeşlildağ have attractive timber Ottoman houses, some of them thatched, many with ornate bay windows.

The Palace of Kubadabad on the southwest shore was built to the designs of the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad and completed in 1237, the year that he died. Protected by the towering Anamas mountains, the palace had gardens, terraces and fountains. Tiles that decorated its 16 rooms had figurative decorations that included a portrait of the Sultan. Some are displayed in the Karatay Madresi museum in Konya. Ruins of a Seljuk fortress stand on Kızkalesi (Maiden's Tower), one of 30 small rocky islands in the lake.
Hittite and Greek remains in the Fasillar valley include  a monumental 70-ton Hittite carving of a mountain god with lions, a replica of which can be seen in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara. A Hittite shrine lies to the east of the lake at Eflatun Pınar.

On the opposite side of the lake to the palace is the Hittite monument of Eflatunpınar, first photographed by the American John Henry Haynes in 1887. His pictures can be seen in John Henry Haynes, a book of his travels in the Ottoman Empire in the 1880s

Connoisseur’s Lake Beyşehir

Sightseeing