Olu Deniz is Turkey’s most famous and most photographed beach. A blue lagoon sweeps around on its seaward side into a vast crescent of coarse pale sand and pebble beach, all framed by a spectacular backdrop of pine forests and mountains.
The sheltered lagoon is made of thousands of tiny pebbles and the warm calm waters are ideal for children who delight in chasing shoals of fish through the shallows. There is a natural park for which a nominal fee is charged.
The legend which led to the name Olu Deniz meaning ‘dead or calm sea’ is quite melancholy. In the Medieval Age, ships setting off from Syria and Egypt to carry goods to Greece used to pass by and take water from the inlets of Olu Deniz. One day the handsome son of an old sea captain met Belcekiz, a beautiful young girl, at the bay where he stopped to fetch water. It was love at first sight and thereafter Belcekiz awaited the young man on the hillsides, and the lovers met frequently. One day the father and son were caught in a terrible storm on the open sea. The son knowing the area well, suggested they take shelter in the calm, protected waters of the inlet, but the old captain objected, believing that his son might be endangering the ship just to meet his beloved.
Their argument turned into a violent quarrel and the old captain pushed his son into the sea with his oar at the frightful moment when he thought they would hit the rocks. He then noticed the calm waters of the inlet opening up front of him, but it was too late.
Belcekiz, who was waiting for the return of her lover, saw that he died and she threw herself from the hillside. Hence the place where the young girl killed herself is called Belcekiz and the other inlet that became the son’s grave is called Olu Deniz.