LAKE BAFA - CULTURE - TRAVEL
Once, Lake Bafa was connected to the Aegean Sea and was the remotest part of the deep Gulf of Miletus. Along this gulf lay the mighty city of Miletus (protecting the gulf entrance), Priene’s harbour (Nulochos) and smaller harbour towns like Myus, Phyrrh, Heracleia of Latmos and Ioniapolis. Ionaiapolis was established before Heracleia and its harbour was once used by Miletos and also Latmos, the small town bearing the mountain’s name. Beginning in Late Antiquity (around the 5th century), alluvial deposits of the Meander River gradually silted up the entrance of the Latmos Gulf so that by the end of the Middle Ages (around the 15th century) its connection with the sea was completely cut off.
Today, we know of 224 bird species living around Lake Bafa. On the slopes of Latmos Mountain (Beşparmak Dağ) twenty different orchids and endemic plants are to be found. Lake Bafa was declared a national park in 1989. The park covers 65 square kilometres and is home to birds like the Dalmatian pelican, fish eagle, common tern, pygmy cormorant and heron while the lake itself is populated by those famous eels, Bafa grey mullet, sea bass and sea bream. Wild boar, foxes, wildcats, hedgehogs and badgers all inhabit the surrounding Latmos Mountains. The unique flora and fauna of the lake and its surrounding attract birdwatchers, botanists, painters and nature lovers; the giant slabs of rock and the ancient walking trails are a paradise for hikers and boulder-climbing, and last but not least, the Bafa lake is perfect for boat trips.