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Manavgat is estimated to have originated in 200-150 B.C. The name of the town is believed to come from the word "Munouwa" in the old language of Luwi, meaning "temple of the matrilineal goddess." Manavgat was founded on the plain that lies on both sides of the River Manavgat. It became a village of the Turkish Republic in 1924.

Manavgat lies 47 miles from the province of Antalya. The city center is two and a half miles from the shore of the Mediterranean; the northern part of the town is bordered by the Taurus Mountains and their beautiful forests. The River Manavgat, which flows through the town, originates in the eastern slopes of the Taurus, passes over hard conglomerated strata, forms the Manavgat Falls, then enters the coastal plain (rendering it rich and fertile) to empty into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Manavgat Waterfall and its delta are the most important natural resources of the town. The Falls are crescent shaped, and although they are not tall, they are fairly wide. There are many trees providing plenty of shade, and there are souvenir shops and places where you can buy a drink or something to eat. There is a great deal of agriculture in the area, with October being the time for harvesting such produce as cotton, wheat, barley and 45 different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Fruit, vegetable, and flower growing in greenhouses is an important form of farming in the region. Trout are bred in some parts of the river.

Other natural features of the region include the pine-treed Sorgun Forest, Lake Titreyengolk, and many caves. The most interesting of these is the Altinbesik Cave. Annual explorations have extended the known part of this cave to 7,218 feet, revealing fascinating lakes, stalactites and stalagmites.

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