Damlataş Mağarası

Damlatas Magarasi - Dripstone Cave


Useful Information

Location: In the city center of Alanya, at the harbour, at the western foot of the Fortress of Alanya.
Open: All year daily 10-18.
[2004]
Fee: Adults TRL 2,750,000.
[2004]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. ExplainSpeleotherapy Permian metamorphic limestone.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=22°, H=95%, L=40 m.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Damlatas Magarasi Yani, Damlatas Cad., No:1, Alanya, Tel: +90-242-5131240, Tel: +90-242-5135436, Fax: +90-242-5135438
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1948 discovered during blasting work for the construction of Alanya Harbour.
1987-1988 explored by the Maden Tetkik ve Arama Genel Müdürlüğü (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration).

Description

Damlataş Mağarası (Dripstone Cave) is a small cave with beautiful calcite formations, located right in the center of Alanya. It is also one of the town's most popular attractions, which is probably because it is located right at the beach. The city of Alanya was built around a peninsula which protrudes from the coastal plain. The peninsula is a huge block of limestone and Alanya Kalesi (Alanya castle) was built on top. On the eastern side of the peninsula is the harbour of the city, because this side is protected from bad weather by the peninsula. On the western side is the popular beach of the city.

According to the guidebooks, the cave was discovered by engineers during blasting work while quarrying limestone for the construction of Alanya Harbour in 1948. However, at this time it was obviously not opened to the public, it was more or less forgotten. The cave was fully explored in 1987 and 1988 by the Maden Tetkik ve Arama Genel Müdürlüğü (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration). The Jeoloji Etüdleri Dairesi Başkanlığınca (Department of Geological Studies) explored caves in the area and published the report Isparta-Beyşehir Yöresinde Mağara Araştırmaları (Cave Research in Isparta-Beyşehir Region). For the Damlataş Cave they suggested it to be opened to the local people and other visitors by a simple descent ladder and a lighting system working with bottled gas. As Turkey lacks caving groups, the cave exploration is always done by the government agency for resources. And they suggest the use as a show cave which is now and then realized by someone with the intention to earn a lot of money. In this case this did not happen, despite the great location at the beach.

The cave is entered from the beach, where the ticket office was built only a few meters above the beach. A 50 m long tunnel leads into the limestone and then down a huge staircase in the middle of the single huge chamber. The cave is only this single chamber with a size of 13 x 10 m and a height of 15 m. The floor is flat and covered by white sand, the walls are full of speleothems. There is a short passage at the other end, which is only slightly above sea level and the floor is sand. The direction of the passage is toward the beach, though not very far, it is lowering and finally filled with sand to the ceiling. There seems to be a connection to the beach which is blocked by sand. When for some reason the flood is higher than usual, the cave is flooded too. The cave is actually subject to regular flooding.

The cave is a relict of a much older karstification. Today it is located in the foot of the castle hill, and only this hill could probably be its catchment area. Obviously this does not explain its existence. So it was formed before the castle hill became a peninsula and was separated from the rest of the limestone by a coastal plain.

Like always in Turkey, the cave is quite interesting, but the interesting facts are not told. Instead they tell the two basic nonsensical myths, that it is the first cave opened in Turkey's tourism and that the cave cures asthma. They don't dare claim that this is the biggest cave in the world, it's really too tiny for that. But this cave is actually used for speleotherapy. The doctors at Alanya prescribe this treatment regularly, and every morning before tourists enter the cave there are some hours reserved for patients. The patients pay only a nominal fee of TRL 0.30 for such a visit. The patients sit in the cave for a certain period of time under the control of a doctor and apply a 21-day treatment course.

We have seen speleotherapy in other caves and mines, and the important factors are the carbon dioxide and the lack of dust in the air. We guess that this cave, because of its small size and the huge amount of visitors, lacks in both aspects. That's why they do it only in the morning.

The use for speleotherapy was promoted by Galip Dere, who lived in Germany and learned there how speleotherapy works. He put a great effort in the use of this cave for speleotherapy and organized the chemical analysis of the cave air and finally he developed the cave with the entrance tunnel mainly for its use for speleotherapy. He promoted speleotherapy in Turkey by sending pictures to newspapers. So in a way he is responsible for the multiple show caves in Turkey, which claim to have speleotherapy, but do not have any of the necessary infrastructure. The cave owners read the articles and thought, what a fine idea to promote my cave, the stupid tourists will believe it, when I show the newspaper article...

The nearby harbour is the right place for even more cave visits, as a boat can take you to three sea caves. They are located in the limestone of the castle rock, and the trip takes only half an hour. Fosforlu Mağarası (Phosphorus Cave) is named after the phosphorescent colour of the light inside. However, this is a so called Blue Grotto, where the sunlight shines through water into the cave and is thus filtered blue. Kizlar Mağarası (Girls' Cave) is the place where pirates according to legend imprisoned their female captives. It is also called Korsanlar Magarasi (Pirates Cave). Aşıklar Mağarası (Lovers cave) has a sort of Romeo and Juliet legend to offer, which is definitely told by the skipper.