Hiking to Yediler Monastery: chasing silence in Turkey

Some places you keep going back to. Yediler Monastery – and by extension – the entire area around Lake Bafa – is one of those places for us. We love to hike. And hiking in Turkey is always rewarding, and sometimes challenging. The hike up to Yediler Monastery, a Byzantine-era monastery located in the sacred Latmos Mountains, is short and sweet with otherworldly views from start to finish. Otherworldly? Well yes, we feel that this is the most suitable description for the boulder-dotted Latmos Mountains with Lake Bafa and its monastery-islands as a backdrop. You’ll see why in this article.

Click here to read more about Lake Bafa

Yediler Monastery, Perched On The Boulders Of Mount Latmos

Yediler Monastery, Perched On The Boulders Of Mount Latmos

Yediler Monastery – hidden in plain sight

Once you’ve arrived at Yediler Monastery, or Kellibaron Monastery as it is also referred to, you’ll notice that it offers an open view down to Lake Bafa below. Still, trying to spot it from the shore, is virtually impossible. Yediler Monastery almost completely disappears into the landscape. The material with which it was built, as well as the construction methods used, largely contribute to that. And even once on-site, you may overlook the boulder that houses the frescoes!

Yediler Monastery Is Finally In Sight!

Yediler Monastery Is Finally In Sight!

The 'cave Of Yediler' Standing Strong

The ‘cave Of Yediler’ Standing Strong. Can You Spot The Frescoes?

Yediler Monastery is considered one of the most significant monasteries of the area. Located east of Latmos in the rocky landscape of the mountainside, you can easily reach the monastery from Gölyaka village via a well-signposted route. The term ‘easily’ refers more to the comparison with the paths to other monasteries in the area, than to the journey itself. While the walk is short in distance, it is relatively defying at times, when the paths seem to turn into a sequence of hollowed-out rocks shaped by the water that comes pouring down from the mountain slopes during the wet season.

Still, nothing impossible, unless you have mobility issues, in which case, you’ll have to settle for the pictures in this article instead.

Quite A Setting, Isn't It?

Quite A Setting, Isn’t It?

The precise construction date of Yediler Monastery is unknown to this day. The building techniques were simple, using rubble stonework. Despite the lack of precise information, it is accepted that the monastery complex was established before 960, somewhere in the late 10th century, with more structures added at a later date. The entire complex must have been completed in the 13th century. Researchers agree that the origin of the monastery belongs in the Late Byzantine Period based upon the use of cloisonné masonry and ornamented brickwork.

Admiring The Surroundings From The Upper Castle

Admiring The Surroundings From The Upper Castle

Easy To Spot In This Photo, But Impossible To See From Afar

Easy To Spot In This Photo, But Impossible To See From Afar

The Yediler Monastery complex was enclosed by walls, some of which are still standing today. You’ll notice that plenty of structures and walls have included the rocks and natural features of the landscape. Even today, there are still two distinct courtyards within the complex. They are divided by a wall and sometimes large rocks. The refectory in the eastern part of the large courtyard had a rectangular ground plan and was also home to a small bath. This dining room was an elongated hall with an apse, with the kitchen and the cellar buildings situated in the south of the refectory.

Yediler Monastery And Its Horse, It Was There The Last Time We Visited Too

Yediler Monastery And Its Horse, It Was There The Last Time We Visited Too

Absolutely Beautiful!

Absolutely Beautiful!

You will find the remains of two chapels and a cave with an apse, probably also used as a chapel in the southeastern side of the big courtyard. The upper castle is located in the north of the western court. The upper castle is extremely well-protected with an almost impenetrable, rocky access refuge. Don’t forget to make the climb up to check out the vaulted cell rooms! Nowadays, they offer a great view, but back in the days, the ‘window’ wouldn’t have been larger than the size of a cannonball.

The Current View From One Of The Cells

The Current View From One Of The Cells

The Niche In The Cells Used To Contain An Icon To Pray To

The Niche In The Cells Used To Contain An Icon To Pray To

Site surveys revealed a painting in a chapel in one of the courtyards. It represented Jesus, and two saints, one of which was Arsenios. Arsenios was buried here, and he was the Abbot of Kellibaron Monastery, now Yediler Monastery. You can find more paintings, or frescoes, in this case, on the ‘ceiling’ of one of the boulders. The boulder even got a name and is known as the Cave of Yediler, although, since it’s above ground, it hardly qualifies as a cave. The well-preserved frescoes are the gems of Yediler Monastery and represent the ceremonies of the churches. You’ll see Jesus depicted from his birth to his death, and also the resurrection of Lazarus, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

If This Isn't Spectacular, What Is?

If This Isn’t Spectacular, What Is?

Isn't This Divine?

Isn’t This Divine?

How to get to Yediler Monastery

To find Yediler Monastery, head over to Gölyaka, from where the monastery is signposted. If you’re driving, you can continue by car until you’ve reached the upper part of the village. Yes, the roads are VERY narrow, but cars do drive there. At the top of the village, where the road loops back down to the village, there’s another sign to the monastery that says: Yediler Manastırı 2km. This is where you park your car, and the hike starts. Keep following the red and white markings throughout your walk. You’ll notice them on both rock and trees, and from time to time, an additional signpost with the remaining distance until you reach the monastery.

For another hiking gem nearby, check out this article about Gerga.

Lake Bafa And Some Of The Ruins Of Herakleia

Lake Bafa And Some Of The Ruins Of Herakleia

Walking The Rocky Water Bedding

Walking The Rocky Water Bedding

As mentioned, while this is not a rock-climbing expedition, it isn’t a walk in the park either. People with mobility issues shouldn’t attempt this hike. Despite the short distance, the terrain is challenging at some points. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes and carry plenty of water to get you through the day. If you like the look of the area, and you prefer to explore it even more, without having to carry around a heavy backpack, check out these ‘Donkey Trekking’ experiences. They look like the perfect way to explore this part of Caria without doing the heavy lifting.

For more practical information, head over to the TABS below.

✔️ Have you been to Yediler Monastery? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the place to your bucket list.
Comment on Facebook
113 Shares
Source: Interpretation & presentation of the Byzantine heritage at Herakleia ad Latmos by Merve Aslı Hetemoğlu

If, like us, you prefer to hear things from more than one source, check out these reviews on TripAdvisor! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

This is a great area of relatively untouched Turkey to explore. Head over to Lake Bafa, go hiking to Gerga, check out Miletus, or pay a visit to the colorful women of Çomakdağ: where nomadic traditions are kept alive.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

If you need a hotel, make sure it is located in the Kapıkırı area. You will find hotels on the other side of the lake as well. Those are situated along the main road and may offer a splendid view, but you will be isolated from anything else Bafa Lake has to offer.

These are our top picks:

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Lake Bafa is easy to reach by car. Just follow the sign to the lake and to Herakleia or Kapıkırı from the D525. Alternatively, if you are relying on public transport, there are regular minibusses from Milas to Bafa. Click here for a current timetable in Turkish.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

If, like us, you prefer to hear things from more than one source, check out these reviews on TripAdvisor! Just know we’ve visited each place personally and all photos are our own. So, basically, what you see is what you get. If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

This is a great area of relatively untouched Turkey to explore. Head over to Lake Bafa, go hiking to Gerga, check out Miletus, or pay a visit to the colorful women of Çomakdağ: where nomadic traditions are kept alive.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

If you need a hotel, make sure it is located in the Kapıkırı area. You will find hotels on the other side of the lake as well. Those are situated along the main road and may offer a splendid view, but you will be isolated from anything else Bafa Lake has to offer.

These are our top picks:

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Lake Bafa is easy to reach by car. Just follow the sign to the lake and to Herakleia or Kapıkırı from the D525. Alternatively, if you are relying on public transport, there are regular minibusses from Milas to Bafa. Click here for a current timetable in Turkish.

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Hiking To Yediler Monastery Chasing Silence In Turkey
Hiking To Yediler Monastery Chasing Silence In Turkey
Hiking To Yediler Monastery Chasing Silence In Turkey
Hiking To Yediler Monastery Chasing Silence In Turkey
Hiking To Yediler Monastery Chasing Silence In Turkey

You may also like these posts:

You may also like these posts:

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US

Hiking to Yediler Monastery: chasing silence in Turkey