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Göksu River
051 Göksu.07.2006 resize.JPG
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Basin countries Turkey
Length 260 km (160 mi)

The Göksu (Turkish for "blue water" also called Geuk Su, Goksu Nehri, Saleph, Calycadnus) is a river on the Taşeli plateau (Turkey). Both its sources arise in the Taurus Mountains—the northern in the Geyik Mountains and the southern in the Haydar Mountains. Their confluence is south of Mut.


The river is 260 km long and empties into the Mediterranean Sea 16 km southeast of Silifke (in Mersin province). The delta of the Göksu, including Akgöl Lake and Paradeniz Lagoon, is one of the most important breeding areas in the Near East; over 300 bird species have been observed. Among others, flamingos, herons, bee-eaters, kingfishers, gulls, nightingales and warblers breed here. The endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) lays eggs here.

Due to demand for summer vacation apartments by the locals, and since necessary precautions are not taken and public attention is minimal in this part of Turkey, the ecosystem around Akgöl Lake and Paradeniz Lagoon is in heavy danger.


In 1190, while on the Third Crusade, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned in the river, then known as Saleph within the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Having defeated the forces of the Sultanate of Rum at the Battle of Iconium, the emperor continued his campaign to the Holy Land and arrived on the banks of the river on June 10. Several contradictory statements reflect the circumstances of his death, which have not been conclusively established. According to some sources, he was lost in the current when he tried to cross the water near Silifke; other chronicles report he wished to cool down from the heat of the day and suffered a heart attack while taking a bath.

Once without a leader, his crusader's army dispersed, the remnants later joined the Siege of Acre. A monument in Barbarossa's honor was erected on the road from Silifke to Mut.