For thousands of years, melted snow, rain and river water are seeping through the cracks of the lime stone in Cebel-i Reis Mountain in Alanya. Slowly but effective, these drops and streams hollowed out the rocks, creating a hole under the ground. Simplified, this is how the Dim Cave in Kestel originated. Once it was used by local shepherds as shelter. Now it is now an impressive touristic attraction.
When entering the Dim Cave, immediately the typical damp air rises up to meet you. We descend by a steep staircase and soon all the light and sounds from the outside world have disappeared. The cave feels comfortably warm (it’s January). Then what really hits you, is seeing the size of this hidden hole in the mountains. It is huge.
On the inside, the cave is 360 metres long and about 10-15 metres high and wide. Its temperature, as we find out, is always around 18-19 degrees which is comfortably warm in winter and nicely cool in summer.
The local villagers have always known the cave. Parts of it were used by hunters and shepherds for shelter. But it was not until 1986 that the first speleologists started investigating the cave. In 1998 is was opened for visitors. The Dim Cave is exploited by MAGTUR S.A and is the first cave in Turkey that is operated by the private sector.
As soon as our breathing has adjusted to the damp atmosphere, a feeling of peacefulness sets in. It’s quiet within the cave and you can hear water dropping everywhere. The soft lighting everywhere creates a surreal scene. Maybe even spooky….This is intensified by the many stalagmites and stalactites. With a little imagination you can see the weirdest shapes in them.
Just like in the – albeit much smaller – Damlataş cave at Cleopatra Beach in Alanya, the air and humidity in the Dim Cave is beneficial for diseases and respiratory problems. But to see effect you have to spend many hours of many days inside the cave.
To us, the Dim Cave shows perfect that nature is not in a rush. It’s amazing to realize that whole civilizations have come and gone while water and tectonic movements were slowly shaping this magnificent space inside the rocks. A process that has been going on for thousands of years and is still continuing now, here, in a mountain called Cebel-i Reis in Kestel.
After climbing up en down stairs through this hole beneath the surface, at the end of the cave, we reach a small lake. We pause for a while, looking at the rock formation in the middle of the lake. It is called Mother and Child and when you take a sharp look, it really resembles a mother holding her baby…
Coming out of the cave, there is something almost equally impressive: the view. The Dim Cave lies at a high of 232 meter from the sea level on the western slope of the 1691 metres high Cebel-i Reis mountain. From the lookout area you have a amazing sight to the Dim River down in the valley, Alanya castle and the Mediterranean Sea and the tops of the Taurus mountains which are covered with snow in the winter.
Route: The Dim Cave can be reached from Kestel, following the signs Dim Cave.
Opening hours: The cave is open for the whole year. More info about times can be found on the website www.dimcave.com.tr
Entrance: 15 TL
Accessibility: The cave is only accessible by descending steep stairs and also inside the cave climbing stairs is necessary to see all there is to see. Unfortunately this attraction is therefore not easily accessible for people with physical impairments.