Mugla, the capital of the province, is a charming town whose characteristics from the past have been well preserved. A stroll in the center helps discover traditional Turkish houses and the regional way of life: old houses, squares, mosques, fountains, shady traditional cafés, workshops, hans and the bazaar. Mugla is one of the oldest cities in Caria but located rather far from the sea, it could not benefit from the naval trade and was therefore not so affluent as its contemporaries Halicarnassus and Mylasa. Following Alexander the Great’ s conquest and his withdrawal from the region, Mugla went through a dark period of tumult. In 188 B.C., with the aid of the Romans, Mugla fell under the control of the Pergamum Kingdom. When Attalus III bequeathed all the kingdom to the Romans in 133 B.C., the city became part of the Roman province of Asia. After a long Byzantine period, in 800, when the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid arrived in the region, the Islamic influence became predominant. Following the Manzikert Battle in 1071, the Seljuk Turks spread widely in Anatolia. During the decline of the Seljuks in 1284, the region was called “Mentese”, due to the domination of Mentese Bey (Beg). During the rule of Ilyas Bey, the last Chief of Mentese, in the end of the 14th century the region was conquered by Bayezit I, but following the invasion of Tamerlane, it was only definitively taken by the Ottomans in 1424. One should not miss to pay a visit to Mugla Museum established in 1986 in the restored 19th century old prison. The museum, located in the old town, consists of :
- the Natural History Section : in late 1992, the excavations carried near Özlüce village revealed numerous animal and plant fossils which have been displayed in the museum since 1994. These creatures lived in a vast area between Eastern Asia and Spain before they became extinct. As these fossils were first discovered in the region of Teruel in Spain, they belong to the period called Turolian. These fossils are 5 to 9 million years old.
- the Archaeological Section displays objects from the ancient sites of the region including the statues, reliefs and all other findings uncovered during the excavations led in Stratoniceia and Lagina (see below). Interesting ceramics from Ceramos are also displayed here. Ceramos (Keramos) is located in Ören on the shore of Gökova Bay. “Ceramos” means pottery or ceramic in Greek.
- the Ethnographical Section is most interesting to learn about the life, habits and customs of the locals and their ancestors.

The ancient city of Stratonicea is located 8 km/ 5 miles west of Yatagan on the main Milas-Mugla road.
The remains of Stratonicea are surprisingly strewn among the houses of the former village of Eskihisar, which was evacuated in the 1970s because of the surrounding coal mines. A few families are still living here in their lovely houses.
The city was named after Stratonice, the wife of Seleucus Nicator who forced the old king to divorce in order to marry his son Antiochus I Soter who founded the city in honor of his erstwhile step-mother and present wife.
The most significant Hellenistico-Roman vestiges are the Entrance Gate, the Gymnasium, the Bouleuterion located at the center of the city, the Theatre.

The entrance gate

The gymnasium

The bouleuterion

A house still inhabited in the village

An 11 km/ 7 miles long Sacred Road, lined with tombs and starting from the entrance gate, connected Stratoniceia, which was the political center, to Lagina Sanctuary, the prominous religious center of Caria dedicated to Hecate. This Anatolian goddess was Leto’s twin sister. She reigned over the air, earth and sea, and she was present at funerals to take care of the deads’ spirits. Oracles and witches were her priests. During religious festivals, a splendid ritual procession carried the key of the Temple of Hecate from Lagina to Stratoniceia.

The Temple of Hecate

Earthquakes produced significant bends on this side of the temple

The Temple of Hecate and pediment

The propylon (entrance building)

The propylon

Statue of Hecate found at Lagina


Located at the bottom of Gökova Bay, the Island of Cedrae (the ancient city of Credrae) is a site of both archaeological and geological interests.
Coming from Mugla, the place can be reached by boat either from Gökova-Akyaka or from Çamliköy. It can also be visited while on a blue voyage cruise.

Several towers in regular ashlar, the temple of Apollo succeeded by a church, a well preserved theatre, an agora and the remains of the harbour can be seen on the island.

The sand on the shore of the island is worthy of notice. The carbonate in the spring waters flowing into the sea envelops the fine sand particles, forming what is called oolite or pisolite, according to their size. Within the region of Ula, the calcium carbonate accumulates on fine particles with each movement of the waves, and the intake by these particles of carbonate increases. This phenomenon is unique within the climatic zone around Turkey and in the surrounding seas.
It is said that Cleopatra owed her beauty to these sands. That is why the island is also called the Island of Cleopatra.


A scenic road overlooking the Gulf of Hisarönü connects Marmaris to Datça and leads to the ancient city of Cnidos.
Located at the far end of the Datça Peninsula (Cape Krio) in a beautiful natural environment, Cnidos, a city of Dorian origin in Caria, belonged to the Dorian confederacy together with Halicarnassus, Cos on the island of the same name, Camirus, Lalysus and Lindus on Rhodes Island. Together they formed what used to be called the Hexapolis, in Greek "the six cities". Yet it became the Pentapolis, "the five cities", when Halicarnassus was excluded from the confederacy because one of its citizen, Agasicles, neglected to make the offering of the tripod he won during the games of the hexapolis, to Apollo. The cities had a common sanctuary, a temple to Apollo named the Triopion, on the promontory on which Cnidos was located. In the 6th century BC, Cnidos became a rich city and in the 4th century BC it was a major metropolis with a cosmopolitan apearance. It was during this time that the famous sculptors Skopas and Bryxias worked on the embellishment of the numerous temples of the city. Spared by the Persians , contested by the Athenians and the Spartans, the city was occupied by Alexander the Great in 333. It was during the Hellenistic period (330-31 BC) that the city reached its cultural, artistic and commercial apogée.

Around 350 BC, Praxiteles sculpted two statues, one draped and one nude of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Praxiteles' model was Phryne, one of the greatest “hetaerae”, or courtesans, of his time. The city of Cos prefered the more decent draped version while Cnidos purchased the rejected one, the Nude Aphrodite, the first female nude statue in classical sculpture, whose renown immortalized the city. However the statue of the goddess, which was exhibited in her temple, is known only through copies. The following description from the “Amores”, attributed to rhetorician, satirist and traveler Lucian (Samosata/ Commagene ca. 125 – ? ca. 192), praises vehemently the statue:

“We stopped in Cnidos, at the Temple of Aphrodite (Venus), where stands her famous statue made by Praxiteles. When we entered the precincts we felt the caressing breath of the goddess coming towards us. The walled space was not made sterile with pavements but was devoted to fertility as suits Aphrodite. The fruit-trees towered all over the place, forming a dense vault. The myrtle, her favourite species, unfolded its branches, laden with berries..... In the midddle of the temple stood the goddess – a most beautiful statue of Carian marble - smiling just a little haughty with a grin that slightly parted her lips. Draped by no garment, all her beauty was uncovered and revealed, except in so far for her private parts hidden unobtrusively with one hand. So great was the power of the craftsman's art that the hard unyielding marble did justice to every limb....The temple had a door on both sides for the benefit of those who also wished to have a good view of the goddess from behind, so that no part of her be left unadmired. It was easy therefore for people to enter by the other door and survey the beauty of her back. And so we decided to see all of the goddess. Then, when the door had been opened by the woman responsible for keeping the keys, we were filled with an immediate wonder for the beauty we beheld."

Eudoxus, the great astronomer and mathematician pupil of Plato and inventor of the horizontal sundial, Ctesias the physician who stayed at the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes was the author of the “History of the Persian” and “History of India”, and Sostratus the architect of the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) were all native of the city. Like Cos (the birthplace of Hippocrates), Cnidos was the location of a famed school of medicine.
In 129 BC, Cnidos joined the Roman Province of Asia and had the status of "free city". During the Byzantine period, Cnidos suffered from Arab raids and later of a number a devastating earthquakes.

The city was built partly on the mainland and partly on the Island of Tropion which anciently were connected by a causeway and bridge, and now by a narrow sandy isthmus. The channel between island and mainland was formed into two harbours. The southern and larger harbour was further enclosed by two strongly-built moles.
The Hellenistic walls, both insular and continental, can be traced in many places, especially round the acropolis.
The main ruins of the city which rose in tiers on the hill slopes, consist of the agora, the upper and the lower theatres, the odeon, the Round Temple (Temple of Aphrodite), the Temple of Dionysos, the Temple of Appolo, the Temple of Demeter. The Statue of Demeter, discovered during the excavations executed by Sir Charles Newton in 1857-1858, was sent to the British Museum, as well as the colossal Statue of a Lion, carved out of one block of Pentelic marble, which crowned the pyramid roof of a mausoleum located 3 km/ 1.9 miles south-east of the city.

Main commercial harbour

The Hellenistic lower theatre was overlooking the large harbor,
while the another theatre was located in the upper city.

The city was established on terraces that slope down to the sea

Ruins of the Temple of Apollo and the altar.
Military harbour in the background.

The Round Temple housed the statue of Aphrodite.
The cella of the Round Temple (Tholos) was encircled
with columns topped with Corinthian capitals.

Along the shops at the agora was a stoa,
a long and roofed walkway or portico.


Late hellenistic (1C BC) Nude Aphrodite
found in the Tumulus of Dardanos
(Çanakkale Museum)


Datça is a small harbour and holiday resort located south of the Datça Peninsula, which provides a natural boundary between the Aegean Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The town, which is located 75 km /47 miles away from Marmaris, can be reached by a scenic winding road overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Hisarönü where the beautiful beaches of the confortable holiday villages are washed by crystal-clear waters. Around Datça marina, bars, cafés, restaurants and shops keep the tourist’s interest, but old Datça with its restored houses should not be missed.
Datça is the nearest town (38 km/ 24 miles) to the ancient site of Cnidos located at the end of the Peninsula.
A daily ferry line links Datça (from Körmen Harbour located 10 km /6.2 miles of Datça, on the northen coast of the peninsula) to Bodrum, and hydrofoils link Datça to Rhodos via small Greek Symi island located at a short distance.

Gulf of Hisarönü


Marmaris is a major and attractive holiday resort located in a very beautiful scenery bay surrounded by mountains which dip into the blue waters and are covered with pine-tree forests. Local pine scented honey, called “Çambali”, is delicious and renown.

The ancient city of Physcus was an important stage on the Anatolian-Rhodes-Egypt trade route. Modern Marmaris developed around the Ottoman fortress built by Süleyman the Magnificent most probably after the Rhodian campain he led in 1522. At the entrance of the narrow street with steps leading up to the fortress, there is a caravanserai from the same period bearing an inscription dated 1545. The fortress was partially destroyed by cannon balls launched from a French warship in 1914 during the First World War. The fortress was restored between the years 1980-1990 and opened to the public as the Museum of Marmaris. The museum has an archaeological section displaying objects unearthed during the excavations at Hisarönü, Cnidos and Burgas near Datça, an ethnographical section and an art gallery. The old houses within the fortress have also all been restored.

The International Marmaris Yachting Festival takes place every year in May, the Marmaris Festival in June and the International Marmaris Yacht Race Festival in November.
Marmaris has a domestic and international airport.
Hydrofoils link Marmaris with Bodrum and the Greek island of Rhodes. Ferries link Marmaris with Venice.

Marmaris is a good starting point to explore the region, which is full of archaeological sites (of which Saranda, Erine, Castabus, Amos, Bybiassos, Thymnus, Burgaz, Loryma), and the beautiful bay with its sandy beaches and the village of Turunç (which can either be reached by road or by sea) with its fish restaurants. The port of Marmaris is also an excellent starting point for the “Blue Voyage” to the the east towards Ekincik, the Gulf of Fethiye and Göcek, Fethiye and further along the Lycian Coast, or to the west towards the Bozburun Peninsula, the Gulf of Hisarönü and the Datça Peninsula.


Located at the bottom of Gökova Bay, the Island of Cedrae (the ancient city of Credrae) is a site of both archaeological and geological interests.
Coming from Marmaris, the place can be reached by boat either from Gökova-Akyaka or from Çamliköy. It can also be visited while on a blue voyage cruise.

Several towers in regular ashlar, the temple of Apollo succeeded by a church, a well preserved theatre, an agora and the remains of the harbour can be seen on the island.

The sand on the shore of the island is worthy of notice. The carbonate in the spring waters flowing into the sea envelops the fine sand particles, forming what is called oolite or pisolite, according to their size. Within the region of Ula, the calcium carbonate accumulates on fine particles with each movement of the waves, and the intake by these particles of carbonate increases. This phenomenon is unique within the climatic zone around Turkey and in the surrounding seas.
It is said that Cleopatra owed her beauty to these sands. That is why the island is also called the Island of Cleopatra.


Dalyan is a small and lovely resort town located on the left bank of the Dalyan River (Dalyan Çayi), a stream that meanders through the reeds from Köyçeyiz Lake down to the sea. The lake narrows into a channel, flowing into the Dalyan river which empties into the sea at Iztuzu beach, one of Turkey's most spectacular beaches. This beach has been made a protected area as the breeding-ground of the Caretta Caretta which are a species of sea turtles. The best way to enjoy the whole site is to take a pleasant boat ride from Dalyan down to the sea (or the other way round for those on a cruise). On the right bank of the river stands the ancient city of Caunus with Hellenistic fortifications, beautiful rock-cut Lycian tombs, a well preserved theatre and some other minor ruins.
According to Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, the story of the founding of Caunus goes as follows: Miletus, the son of Phoebus (Apollo) and founder of the city of Miletus, loved the nymph Cyanee, the daughter of the river god Meander, who gave birth to the twins Byblis and Caunus noted for their beauty. Byblis fell incestuously in love with her brother Caunus and declared her love to him in a letter. Caunus, horrified, rejected her. Fleeing his sister, he came to this part of Caria and founded the city of Caunus. As for Byblis, she pursued him as he fled her but could not find him. She was weeping so much and was about to die from grief and exhaustion when she was turned by nymphs into a fountain.
Caunus was a wealthy city but gained an unhealthy reputation because the locals contracted malaria which was rife due to the proliferation of mosquitoes. The decline of Caunus, which was once upon the sea, was caused by the progressive silting up of its harbour which made it dangerous for ships. The population gradually reverted to village life and fishing as it has remained to the present day. The Turkish word “Dalyan” means “fishery”. The river is studded with wooden structures stretching accross it, to trap the grey mullets as they return to the sea after spawning in the fresh water of Lake Köyçeyiz.
Dalyan and Köyceyiz Lake are also reputed for their therapeutic mud baths and hot sulphur pools used since Hellenistic times and believed to cure rheumatism, skin, liver, spleen and bowel complaints, as well as being beneficial for nervous and digestive disorders. It also cleanses and beautifies skin.


Fethiye is located 50 km/ 31 miles from Dalaman airport, in a region that has become very popular for beach holidays and yacht tourism. The town itself is a nice holiday resort with a lot of accomodation facilities and an important marina on the shore of a superb bay where small islands are strewed. The bay is itself located in the Gulf of Fethiye where there are twelve islands and countless inlets each more beautiful than the other, and which are ideal shelters for yachts during a “blue voyage”. These islands can also be reached by boats that start from Fethiye and Göcek for daily excursions.

Gulf of


Fethiye was established on top of ancient Telmessos which was named after Apollo’s son. The town was captured by Persian King Harpagos and annexed to Caria. In the 4C BC, Lycian ruler Pericles besieged the Telmessians and reduced them to terms. The city, which was not part of Lycia, made a peace agreement with Alexander the Great and passed into the hands of his successors, the Ptolemies and Lysimachus’ descendants. In 189 BC, Telmessos was given by the Romans to Eumenes until the Kingdom of Pergmum came to an end in 133 BC. The city was then included in the Roman Province of Asia. Towards the end of the 1st C BC, Termessos finally became a member of the Lycian League and shared the fate of the other Lycian cities. Following the Arab raids, in the 8 C the city’s name was changed to Anastasiupolis in honor of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius II. The city, taken over in 1284 by the Menteseogullari, received the name Megri or Makri. In 1424, it was incorporated to the Ottoman lands. In 1934 the town was finally called Fethiye to commemorate the Turkish pilot, Fethi Bey who lost his life in 1914 during the first accident in Turkish aviation history.
Not much has survived of Ancient Telmessos. The theather, located near the quay of new Fethiye, and the Temple of Apollo, which according to Charles Texier, could be seen in the 1850’s, were destroyed by two earthquakes (1856 and 1957). The medieval castle, situated on the acropolis, was used by the Knights of Rhodes. It is surrounded by a wall whose bottom part is Roman and upper part medieval.
Among the 20 Lycian tombs cut into the cliff-face above the town, the most beautiful is that of Amyntas, one of Alexander’s lieutenant left behind to govern the region, which dates back to the 4C BC. It is of a temple-type with two Ionic columns between the pilasters. Most of the tombs are of the house-types reminding the Lycian wooden houses. Within the town there are also a number of Lycian-type sarcophagi.

The Archaeological Museum of Fethiye displays the important findings made in the numerous ancient cities of the region. One of the most significant pieces is the trilingual stele from Letoon, bearing inscriptions in Greek, Lycian and Aramaic, which is crucial in the deciphering of the Lycian language.

Amyntas Tomb

Lycian tomb in the middle of the street

Kaya Köy is a ghost village located about 18 km/ 11 miles in the south of Fethiye near Hisarönü. The village (ancient Karmylassos) was deserted in 1925 by its Greek inhabitants after the great exchange of population following the establishment of the Turkish Republic. The Turkish people who came from Greece didn’t get used to the houses, and they built new houses in the lowland, so that the village was abandoned by both Greeks and Turks in a few years time. The church of the village, which is thought to have been built in the 17th century, was restored in 1888. The frescoes were covered by the Turkish people who used the building as a mosque during some time.

Fethiye is a departure point for various boat tours like for example to:

- the Twelve Islands: Sövalye Adasi, Kizil Ada, Deliktas Adasi,Tavsan Adasi, Katrancik Adasi, Göcek Adasi, Yassica Adalari, Haci Halil Adasi, Seytanli Ada, Tersane Adasi, Domuz Adasi.

- the village of Kargi, famous for its trees.

- Katranci cove.

- the Butterfly Valley is an interesting canyon with steep cliffs where, among others, a species of butterflies called “Jersey Tiger” is seen here from July to September.

- the Dead Sea or Blue Lagoon (Ölü Deniz) can be reached either by sea or by road (17 km/ 11 miles from Fethiye). This sheltered lagoon with incredible hues of blue and green, is almost totally cut off from the sea. Next, stretches the beautiful and well equiped wide sandy beach of Belcegiz. Nice hotels are nestled among the surrounding lush greenery. The place is ideal for water sports and paragliding off the top of Mt Babadag which towers above Ölü Deniz at a height of 1,975 m/ 6,480 ft.

Those getting to Ölü Deniz by sea should drop anchor at Gemiler Island also known as St nicholas Island, from one of the churches named after the saint who came or lived here for some time. The place is, like Karacaören Island, full of Roman and Byzantine remains. Owing to the fact that an earthquake caused the island to sink a little into the water in the year 240 AD, some of the remains, like those of a quay and warehouse, are partially submerged. Until the 12th century, the island was an important port of call especially for the pilgrims sailing to the Holy Lands in Palestine. The remains of various churches, tombs, small houses, mosaic floors and a long tunnel can be seen on the island. From the top one will enjoy the spectacular views on the surroundings.

In the surrounding area of Fethiye, there are lots of ancient cities such as Krya, Cadyanda, PinaraTlos, Xanthos, Letoon and Patara.
(Yakaköy), located 36 km/ 22.5 miles south of Fethiye, was one of the six major Lycian cities. An axe found in Tlos and belonging to 2000 BC, makes it one of the oldest cities in the Lycian region. At Tlos, one can see the Temple-type tombs cut into the face of the acropolis hill. The most interesting tomb features a relief of the hero Bellerophon riding Pegasus: according to the mythologic legend, the king of Lycia wanted to punish gallant Bellerophon who had been involved in an uncertain love affair. He sent him to kill the Chimaera, the daughter of Echidnae and Typhoon who was a three-headed creature with the front section looking like a lion, the middle section looking like a goat and the tail looking like a dragoon. The Chimaera spat fire and terrorized the region. Helped by Athena, Bellerophon captured Pegasus, mounted the winged horse and attacked from above. He drove the lead tip of his spear into the mouth of the monster, where the lead melted and choked the creature. Thus he drove her back into the earth where she still spits fire on top of Olympos.
Crowning the top of the acropolis is a fortress which was inhabited in the 19th century by “Kanli Ali Aga” or "Bloody Chief Ali", a notorious Turkish lord.The view from the top is spectacular. The lycian sarcophagi are contained within the walls that encircle the acropolis, while almost all the main buildings of the city are situated outside: the remains of the stadium, the palaestra and the gymnasium near the magnificent baths with a circular terrace, the Byzantine basilica, the agora, the theatre and a Roman tower and sarcophagi of various periods.

44 km/ 27 miles away from Fethiye, high in the Akdaglar mountains is Saklikent Canyon. This 18 km/ 11.2 miles long canyon with its rushing torrent is a cool and wonderful place on hot summer days, where one can trek and have lunch in one of the rustic restaurants serving freshwater trout. In the village of Arsa (ancient Arsada), Lycian tombs and sarcophagi can be encountered.