Aynalıgöl Mağarası

Gilindire Mağarası

Useful Information

Location: From Aydıncık take Antalya-Mersin yolu east, turn right at sign.
(36.1310710, 33.4024889)
Open: All year daily 8-19.
Fee: Adults TRL 7.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=555 m, VR=46 m, A=50 m asl, T=25 °C, H=80 %.
Guided tours: self guided, VR=76 m, St=560.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Vedat Atasoy (2013): Karanlıklar içinde bir harika, Radikal. Türkçe - Turkish
Address: Aynalıgöl Mağarası, Aydıncık, Tel: +90-531-782-31-49, Fax: +90-324-841-25-87. E-mail:
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.


1965 Gilindire city renamed Aydıncık.
1999 a shepherd grazing his goats saw a hedgehog disappear into a bush near the sea and discovered the entrance to the cave.
2002 two Turkish photographers from the magazine Atlas come to the cave by sea and take photos both in the cave and underwater in the lake.
2011 show cave development project submitted to Çukurova Development Agency by Mersin Special Provincial Administration.
2013 declared a Natural Monument under the name Gilindire Cave Natural Monument.
2013 show cave opened to the public.
2019 diving record by Şahika Encümen.


Aynalıgöl Mağarası (Mirror Lake Cave) is actually named Gi̇li̇ndi̇re Mağarası (Gi̇li̇ndi̇re Cave). The cave is located at the coast, at the southern tip of a small peninsula. The road off D400 coastal road ends at the parking lot. The cave is located below, close to sea level, so there are numerous steps down and back up. The cave is a river cave and has several lakes. As it is so close to the sea, the salt water enters the cave through the submarine spring and the lower section of the cave river and lakes is brackish. The tourist cave was named after one of the lakes, which is said to have a special mirror effect, and so the lake was dubbed Aynalıgöl (Mirror Lake) and the show cave Mirror Lake Cave. The lake is 18-30 m wide, 140 m long and up to 47 m deep.

The city Aydıncık 4 km west of the cave was founded by the Phoenicians 3,000 years ago and named Kelenderis. Over time, this name turned into Gilindire, and the cave was thus named Gi̇li̇ndi̇re Mağarası (Gilindire Cave). But this was quite recent, the oldest remains from the cave are ceramics from the late Neolithic period. It was also visited during the antique, probably by sailors which came here to get fresh water. Then it was forgotten, there is actually no village nearby, and it is hard to reach from land. It was re-discovered in 1999 by a shepherd grazing his goats who saw a hedgehog disappear into a bush near the sea. He discovered a narrow opening, the entrance to the cave. He later reported his discovery to the authorities. The official exploration was done by the state-owned Mineral Research and Exploration Co. (MTA), which is a typical thing in Turkey. Their caving scene is rather young and small, but the engineers of the MTA have some cave experience. And after some discussions and planning, the Mersin Special Provincial Administration decided to open a show cave. They submitted the actual development work to Çukurova Development Agency in 2011. Despite the numerous staircases which were necessary, the cave was opened as a show cave in 2013.

The cave was declared a Natural Monument under the name Gilindire Cave Natural Monument in 2013. In the same year, the show cave was opened to the public. Since it was always difficult to access, the cave is in a very good state. It has speleothems like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, rimstone pools, curtains, and cave pearls. As a result of the rise of the sea since the last ice age, many speleothems can be found under water.

The development of the show cave was obviously not made by specialists. The local craftsmen used the same material they would use above ground, so the iron railings have already rusted after only ten years. Unfortunately, they thought coloured light was a good idea.

The car park is located above the coastal cliffs about 80 m asl. Here is the ticket office and a café. A trail along the edge of the cliff offers a great view and leads to a high staircase which leads down to the cave entrance. This cave entrance is still 50 m asl. From here the trail descends inside the cave until finally the cave lake is reached. It is only a little above sea level and contains brackish water. There is no cave river flowing through, no current in the lake, which explains why it is so calm and mirrors so well.

Many visitors criticize the sweating on the tour. Actually, it is a rather harmless stroll downhill, but when you return to the entrance you have to climb almost 80 m inside the cave at a temperature of 24 °C and a high humidity. And outside it might be warm too. So most people are actually a little exhausted when they are back. On the other hand there are definitely no difficulties, only a basic level of physical fitness is required. Just walk slowly on the way up, make enough pauses, bring a small bottle of water, and bring a dry t-shirt to change afterwards.