Azmak is the name of a short but deep stream which joins the sea in Akyaka and is formed by ice cold springs. Its depth allows boats to ascend it for a considerable distance and the richness of its underwater fauna has made it a favourite spot for daily boat tours around Akyaka and for scuba diving. The water is cold and slightly salty due its level course with the sea across the plain, but watercress and celery thrive in the Azmak and restaurants along its course make the stream a symbol and an important point of attraction for Akyaka region.
The word "azmak", sometimes used to describe a river, means "running wild" in Turkish, in a reference to the stream's strong, rather than violent, current, especially in winter. Akyaka's azmak is also referred to under the fuller name of "Kadın Azmak", qualifying it with female attributes and distinguishing it from azmak of Akçapınar at the opposite side of the same plain, or from namesakes in the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Akyaka is a coastal township with its own municipality in the Ula district of Muğla Province in southwestern Turkey. The town is situated at the far end of the Gulf of Gökova, at the start of the fertile Gökova plain.
It is the first coastal town encountered on the busy road from the provincial centre of Muğla to the better known resort of Marmaris, and it comes into sight, along with a spectacular view of the gulf and the plain, some thirty miles from Muğla at Sakar Pass, a favourite paragliders' spot where the road descends from an altitude of 670m to sea-level in the space of a dozen kilometres along very sharp curves.
Erroneously, the township of Akyaka is sometimes referred to as Gökova, after the name of the gulf and the plain, but there is also an inland township of Gökova neighbouring Akyaka.
Gökova is the location of the historic city of Idyma, some of whose remains reach back at least to the 4th century BC, when it was founded as a Carian city. Idyma may have extended as far as the area between the immediate east of Akyaka well beyond the village of Kozlukuyu, a dependent neighborhood of the town of Gökova, 3 km away. The acropolis, city walls 200 meters in length and around fifty rock tombs are located along the steep climb (sea level to 400 meters) of Kucuk Sakar at Kozlukuyu. The Acropolis was explored by the French archaeologist Louis Robert in 1937.
In 546 BC, the Persian armies under the command of Harpagos conquered the area, but the Carian customs and the religion remained unchanged. The Delian League took over between 484 and 405 BC and Idyma is mentioned in the tax lists for the years 453-452 BC, the earliest written document on the city. The same reports mention a local sovereign by the name of Paktyes, whose descendants may have founded a dynasty which governed Idyma and to whose members the rock tombs could be attributed. A mint city, Idyma produced its own coins, one side of which was marked with the name Idimion, and the other side with the head of Pan, hinting at a shepherd's cult.
From 167 BC to at least the 2nd century AD, Idyma, together with the entire region south of Muğla (Mobolla) was part of Rhodes's mainland possessions (Peræa Rhodiorum). A Byzantine castle also stands on the slopes of Sakar and an underground tunnel leads to the bank of the stream of Azmakdere or Kadın Azmak, possibly named Idymus in ancient times.
Because of the extent of the ancient site, in terms both of its area and longevity, some of its archaeological finds are associated with Akyaka, while many with Gökova and particularly Kozlukuyu.
Music: Atmospheres and Soundscapes 2 by ERH