After the Italian occupation of Kastelorizo, Kekova — which at that time was temporarily inhabited during summer because of wood harvest — was disputed between Italy and Turkey. The 1932 Convention between Italy and Turkey assigned it to Turkey.
On its northern side there are the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste/Dolikisthe, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Tersane is at the northwest of the island.
The Kekova region was declared a specially protected area on 18 January 1990 by Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forest. All kinds of diving and swimming were prohibited and subject to special permits from governmental offices. In later years the prohibition has been lifted except for the part where the sunken city is.
The Kekova region is 260 km2 and encompasses the island of Kekova, the villages of Kaleköy and Üçağız and the four ancient towns of Simena, Aperlae, Dolchiste and Teimioussa.
Kaleköy is a Lycian site on the Turkish coast. It is a small village with the partly sunken ruins of Aperlae and a castle. Access to the village is possible only by sea.
Üçağız is a village one km from Kaleköy, north of a small bay by the same name, with the ruins of Teimioussa to the east. The name "Üçağız" means "three mouths", referring to the three exits to open sea.