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Akbuk

A Personal Memory from Erica Gutowski

I am a retired German lady, over the last 22 odd years I have lived mostly in Akbuk, I was one of the first foreigners if not the first to buy & live here.

As Akbuk is growing so very quickly from sleepy fishing village as I first knew it, into a main town, I would like to share with you some of the memories I have of Akbuk before they are lost in history.

After the war, I married and settled in Duisburg to bring up a family. Trying to make ends meet as one did, I found myself working in a factory where I made friends with a very nice Turkish women.

This newly found friend invited me to go with her over to Turkey for a holiday to the virtually unknown town of Akbuk.

To give you an idea at this time in Altinkum had just 2 bars near the beach a few fishing shacks and just a dusty track going back up from the beach to Didim.

In the old times the Didim - Akbuk road ended (as it is now) near Tansas, a donkey track led from here along the beach to Akbuk village, by the time I arrived a new road was being built, but we still had to use this old beach route - The silk road.

Akbuk village had a main mini-market Akguller, the original shop was a little up the road heading to Kazikli , it has since moved to its present site on the main road, and the shop was enlarged & extended in 2009.

There was a small harbour and a small harbour bar, mostly frequented by fisherman.

Surprisingly because of a newly built French holiday resort, Akbuk had 3 discos or bars that provided dancing music for the French holiday makers, one set back from the sandy beach, near the now Garden restaurant, a second at the Sumer Cafe and a third at the Castle looking pub near the harbour.

Starting from the far left of Akbuk's beach looking out to sea, there is the French holiday resort built in 1995 ish completely rebuilt 2014 and renamed

In the corner is the fresh water Lagoon, I understand it was always there, acting as a water sump from the mountains, the little wooden bridge over this, has been renewed a number of times and the pond edging was made nice, for a swimming lake if you like very cold water.

A council building by the lagoon in wood was constructed 2011 but at the time of writing I still don't know what its use will be, in 2015 it was demolished.

The water park belonging to Ramada hotel was built & opened 2014.

The long beach to the right I remember was original natural soft white sand, but not so wide as it is now. The Council add sand every year to replace that which has washed away in the winter making the beach wider and the sea shallower.

Further to the right behind this white sandy beach, and around today's Garden Restaurant a few existing buildings can still be seen, these were restaurant/bars, one of which was the resorts main bar and a disco bar next door to it.

The Kulture Centre was built & opened in 2010.

Further right comes Pizza Hatti opened about the time I came, around 1994/5 and is part of the Pizza Korfes family. Finally taken over with new owners keeping the same name in 2016.

Next along the beach came the Liberty bar, even back then it was a beach bar, albeit a small shed in front of its own sandy beach and a concrete jetty which served as an extra harbour and for the bar owner's own fishing boat. (the main Harbour at this time was not much longer than this).

The Akvaryum bar was not yet built, constructed 2008/2009 and first named Jokers 2.

Next was the Sumer Restaurant which still exists today, Still with the same owners since I first came and was another disco.

Then came a French run boutique and souvenir shop (changed in 2012 to a garden bar) behind this souvenir shop was an ice cream parlour, a cake/bread shop, and various other shops, some are now improved but still may be seen.

The pub looking like a Castle near the harbour was another bar/disco, since improved and renovated once called Jokers.

Next came the harbour bar (now called Liman cafe/bar) this bar stood alone opposite the harbour used locally by fisherman and the odd drinker looking for an inexpensive beer.

The harbour itself has been extended and improved over the years in line with the many boats, yachts and pleasure boats now operating day trips. The council band-stage was set up in 2008/9 and the promenade was paved in 2008, soon after a sellers market was set up along near the Ataturk memorial and for 2 years in 2012 along the promenade itself.

Further along from the harbour the Greek Church was a ruin, it was restored in 2007. Along side this is a Turkish cay house where it can still be seen.

From here along the beach was a fish restaurant, next door to the famous Korfes Pizza, which was in its heyday the in place to eat and was also on the main road into Akbuk - The Silk Road.

There was/is a camp site further along between the Derby hotel and a new council run tea garden complex.

Returning to the town centre the petrol station had not been built, nearest petrol was on the Soke Road just after the main Didim turn off, no cash machines, no big supermarkets, & at time of writing (2016) Akbuk still does not have a Bank.

The post office (you had to pick up your own mail) was beside/behind the Belediye, In 2010 it moved opposite into the newly built parade of shops and beside new cash machines.

Back in the main town street, going South after Aguller, on the right side the existing parade of unit shops can still be seen. Around the back of these units opposite the entrance to the Liman bar is Akbuk's old village a collection of little shops, they can still be seen, selling fresh fish & essential goods, these have not changed very much, only the commodities they sell.

In 2012 new shops were built opposite on the left hand side of the main street. Where Kipa is now, cows grazed and chickens and ducks ran around.

Opposite Kipa across the road is now a furniture shop and an Emlak this building was the original Akbuk Belediye and a police station.

Further south along the main street, new shops are springing up virtually overnight.

At Akbuk's bus station entrance, on the left is a building, originally it was the Gendarme barracks using the bus park as a parade ground, they moved to their present position overlooking the town around 1999, this building was then used for various women’s groups for get-togethers but now they have use of the council's newly built Kulture Centre where they sometimes put on exhibitions of their work. The market was paved and covered around 2010.

I liked the village of Akbuk very much and thought it would be nice idea for my family with growing children to all share a holiday home here, so between us all we scraped enough money in 1994 to buy a house on the edge of town 300 Metres from the beach, fields were behind and at the sides, most of our furniture was brought over by van from Germany as beds, furniture electrical shops were almost impossible to find even in Didim.

So here I am over 20 years later, but finding myself now virtually in the middle of town, with supermarkets & shops that sell almost everything.

Over the years Akbuk has been discovered, and with it comes change, the green mountains & forests are gradually disappearing, turning the once green hills into white apartments and villas, transforming the natural landscape forever.

I remember once upon a time everyone knew everyone else by name, the village was that small, but with its progress this also has been lost.

One of the things I personally miss is seeing the Milky Way in the night sky, but because of light pollution in Akbuk the Milky Way is unfortunately no longer visible, but you can still see the occasional shooting star and passing satellite.

If you look hard enough you can still see the old Akbuk, its village, its mountains, its charm, seeing for what it once was, which was not so very long ago.

Now I cannot remember every detail from many years ago and may not have mentioned an essential item shop/bar and the exact dates, I am sorry if it has been missed, but Akbuk changes so very quickly even day to day, this is just some of my personal memories put to ink for your information over the past few years of Akbuk.

Akbuk Graham.
Written for and on behalf of Erica Gutowski.
For AkbukTurkey.com