Mugla is known as a place where time stands still, history and nature are kept, and the sea and pine forests are intertwined like coral reefs. It is on a narrow isthmus between the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.
Mugla, a town in the southern Aegean Region, is a tourist hotspot thanks to its beautiful location, warm weather, and pristine beaches. From ancient times to the present, the town’s rich history and culture have been kept alive.
According to the rock paintings in the caves, the first human settlement in Mugla, which has been home to many civilizations over the years, dates back to the prehistoric era.
While basking in the sun, sand, and sea in Mugla, tourists can also learn about the area’s rich history by exploring the city’s many museums and archaeological sites.
A Cultural Center in Mugla
A popular tourist destination, Mugla Culture House (Mugla Kultur Evi) is a wonderful example of traditional Turkish architecture. The House of Culture, which dates back to the 1800s and was nationalized in 1999, is a great place to view Turkish and Greek architecture side by side.
Our museum features Archeology, Ethnography, Gladiator, and Natural History Halls spread out over two stories and arranged around an open courtyard. Items such as weaving looms and tool chests can be found in the ethnography section of the museum. The Stratonikeia ancient city donated seven gladiator grave steles to the Gladiators Hall, and the Archaeology Department displays fossils of plants and animals that are 9 million years old.
Beginning in the 1940s, travelers have been staying at the Yagcilar Inn (Yagcilar Hani). In the city’s heyday, it served as a vital hub of commerce. A plane tree provides welcome shade in the courtyard of this inn, which was converted from an old oil mill (or yaghane). Have a cup of tea with us under this plane tree and take a break from your journey.
As a typical settlement, Saburhane Square (Saburhane Meydani) features a harmonious blend of the local Turkish and Greek (or Muslim and Christian) cultures, as well as a distinctive architectural character shaped by the surrounding landscape. The former prison gave the square its current moniker. Nearly one hundred streets, old inns, fountains, bazaars, squares, and mosques make Saburhane Square a model urban site. It also features nearly four hundred registered houses and nearly one hundred examples of civil architecture. When you get to a dead end, you can enter a courtyard with a gate and reach some homes. Mugla homes, like the homes in the surrounding region, are easily recognizable by their porches, patios, wooden decorations, verandas, and embedded closet-shaped bathrooms.
Chimneys and Houses in Mugla
Traditional Mugla homes are one of the city’s most recognizable symbols, and they have been shaped in large part by the city’s natural and cultural histories. Mugla homes can be roughly categorized as either Turkish or Greek. Mugla homes do not feature the haremlik and selamlik sections found in other types of traditional Turkish architecture. In Turkish homes, which typically have two stories, the floor that opens out to the garden is known as the “life” floor. In contrast, most Greek homes are two-story stone structures with clean exteriors. These homes are typically designed with storage areas on the ground floor and living quarters on the second story. There is no wall separating the homes that face the street or road, which is a clear indication of the merchant class’s social standing.
As opposed to other regional dwellings, Mugla homes are most easily identified by their distinctive chimneys. Mugla chimneys are significantly influenced by the local climate. To prevent water and wind from entering, chimneys are constructed with a covering at the top. Skilled stonemasons constructed the “Mugla Chimney” (Mugla Bacasi), a landmark in the city, using a unified design of Turkish-style tiles.
The Historical Arasta Bazaar
As Mugla was only accessible from the outside via the Izmir-Aydin-Cine, Tavas-Denizli route, all caravans traveling along that route had to travel through the city. It was along what is now Sekibasi Street that camel caravans would enter the city, and it was at the Yagcilar Inn and Kocahan Inn that they would stay. This area is still the commercial hub of the Urban Protected Area today. The caravans would set out from the Saburhane neighborhood, travel to Tavas via the “Yilanli Mountain Road” (Yilanli Dag Yolu), and then continue to Denizli. Inns such as the Yagcilar Inn (Yagcilar Hani), Ibrahim Inn (Ibrahim Hani), Bacilar Inn (Bacilar Hani), Balcioglu Inn (Balcioglu Hani), Konakalti Inn (Konakalti Hani), and the Kocahan (no longer in existence) were the hubs of city life. They were situated on a section of the ancient caravan route. The Arasta Bazaar (Carsisi) was home to numerous specialized trade associations, or “guilds,” which designated specific areas with their names.
Demirciler Arastasi and Bakircilar Arastasi are both still used today. Tabakhane, to the north of the Arasta, served as the city’s primary commercial hub. Numerous caravans stopped to inspect the leathers that were processed locally. Fabric made on hand-operated weaving looms, timber products, and high-quality lime mined from the Hamursuz Mountain are also highly valued by caravaners. Arasta, a historic commercial hub, sits at the crossroads of north-south and east-west axes on the old caravan route through Mugla, a highly commercialized area rich in architectural history.
The Gumuskesen Tombstone
The city council of Milas decided to construct this magnificent structure as a tribute to a prominent citizen and his or her family. This person may have been a ruler or a military commander. On the eastern side of Sodra Mountain (Sodra Dagi), on the outskirts of Milas, you’ll find this settlement, which was once the site of the ancient city’s necropolis (cemetery). The inclination of the land causes the tomb structure, made of marble with gray veins taken from quarries in Sodra Mountain, to rise on a flat platform. The basement, where the dead were laid to rest, the main floor, which was used for religious ceremonies and was surrounded by columns, and the upper floor, which was supported by the same columns, made up the structure’s three main sections.
The roof was made when the large marble blocks overflowed and shrank inward. It was embroidered with geometric and floral designs to show how important the person buried there was and how well the stone had been carved.
This unusual and evocative architectural style is reminiscent of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and has parallels in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Mesopotamia (South East Anatolia). It was made in the middle of the second century, based on how it was built and how it was decorated with marble.
The Mentese Balibey District is home to the historic Kursunlu Mosque (Kursunlu Cami), which dates back to the Ottoman era. It was built in 1493 by Es Seyit Sucaaddin. Architect Serif Efendi constructed the narthex in the year 1900. A similar minaret was constructed by Haci Ismail around the same time. The large, lead-covered dome of this mosque, which was once home to a madrasah with thirty rooms, sets it apart from others in Mugla. The madder colors used to process the hand-carved decorations inside the mosque came from Rhodes. The main walls are crafted from Seljuk-style smooth-cut stone.
The Seyh Mosque
Construction began in 1565, and Sheikh Bedrettin is credited with its completion. The minaret was constructed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, during one of many restorations of the mosque. Among Mugla’s oldest mosques, the Seyh Mosque (Seyh Cami) is steeped in tradition and significance. According to Evliya Celebi, who visited it in 1671, the Seyh Mosque in Mugla is a significant structure.
In the Kepez neighborhood to the east of the city walls. With its central dome, this mosque’s narthex is topped by two cross vaults. Pendentives with a lozenge shape support the dome. There is an arch in the northwest corner of the west facade that leads into the narthex (covered portico), which is surrounded by a row of tiles. Further, the mosque can be entered through a spacious door on the building’s eastern side.
Limestone was used for the pillars, door frame, and arches. The acoustics in the mosque will be provided by ceramic cubes that are concealed within the wall at the level of the pendants. The plaster cubes that were formed from the pour are mostly damaged. The piece was created in the 1300s.
Firuz Bey Mosque
Located in the heart of the Firuz PaSa District, the building dates back to 1394 and occupies the center of a spacious courtyard. To the south of the mosque, between Hisarbasi and Yeldegirmeni, is a central area surrounded by madrassah rooms. Due to the lead covering of the mosque’s dome, it is known as the “Kursunlu” mosque; however, the main walls of the structure are made of green marble, earning the building the alternative name “Gok” mosque. The courtyard can be accessed from the south, the north, or the east. This structure, inspired by early Ottoman design, features an inverted “T” layout.
Specifically, it’s in the Milas District of Mugla Province, in the village of Golyaka (Golyaka Koyu), within the boundaries of Bafa District.
It towers above the other monasteries in the area as the largest. There is a large courtyard on the eastern side of the monastery, and a smaller courtyard on the western side, both of which are surrounded by rocks. The upper castle is surrounded by walls and sits to the north of the small courtyard, while the small shelter castle sits on a single rock to the south and is fortified with loopholes.
The southwestern area probably housed a religious hub. There are two conventional chapels as well as a cave with an apse carved out of its interior. A short flight of stairs in front of the chapel’s west wall leads to the underground front room.
Some frescoes show the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the burial of Lazarus, the crucifixion of the Prophet Jesus, the empty tomb, and the Anastasis (resurrection) scene.
Haci Kadizade Suleyman Efendi, the first mayor of Mugla, and his wife, Pembe Ana, saw one similar to this on their way to the Hijaz in Damascus in 1895 and decided they wanted one for their city. In response, they hired well-known Greek architects to construct the current clock tower, which Filvarus, Mikhail Constantine’s son, designed.
Myndos Ancient City
Myndos, today more commonly referred to as Gumusluk, is one of the cities mentioned by ancient writers. Known as the “Cradle of Caria,” it was founded by King Mausole. Getting there doesn’t take much effort at all. On the ground, almost nothing remains besides some Byzantine churches, some city walls, the ruins of the fortifications on the hill mistakenly called the Lelegian wall, and the jetty and tower. Half-buried columns, mosaic remnants, and ceramic shards are, however, visible almost everywhere beneath the surface. Since Alexander the Great’s failed siege, this city has been transformed into a picturesque fishing village.
It’s one of the ancient wine-making regions. It was believed that consuming Myndos wine diluted with seawater would be beneficial to the digestive system. Indeed, this practice was common in other ancient societies as well. Formerly known as Gumusluk, modern-day Myndos is well-known for its tangerine groves. Rug weaving is part of the culture, albeit on a smaller scale.
The Koyunbaba resort, located not far from the town of Gumusluk, served as a quarry back in the time of the Mausoleum. It’s worth your time to check it out.
The Ancient Theater of Bodrum
It was constructed in the 4th century BCE, and it is a magnificent structure. Near the northern part of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, on the southern slope of Goktepe, is a cemetery known as the necropolis. All the hallmarks of pre-Roman imperial-period theater are present. From Bodrum’s Classical Period, only the Antique Theatre (Antik Tiyatro) has survived. The altar, where offerings were made to Dionysus before the games, and the holes between some of the seats, which may have been used as a canopy, are two of the more intriguing aspects of the theater. A total of 13,000 people can fit into the theater, thanks to the 40 cm between each seat.
Kadi Kalesi Church
Kadi Castle Church (Kadi Kalesi Kilisesi) has a solid foundation and is rarely visited by locals despite this. Most of the buildings are notable for being remnants of the Hellenistic period. These structures were once the meeting places for judges in Bodrum. During the Ottoman era, the Kadi Castle Church was the center of local power and religion (Osmanli Imparatorlugu). During the Ottoman era, it served as the navy’s supply port, and in later years, it was a major hub for trade with the neighboring islands of Kos and Kalymnos.
It was on this island—then called Zephyirion but now a peninsula—that the city of Bodrum, Turkey, and its namesake castle were constructed. Rhodes was the home of the Knights of St. Jean, who constructed this structure in 1406. Bodrum Castle was built during the Knights Period and still maintains its original layout and character. In terms of St. John’s Knights’ architecture, the castle is the only surviving example. It is an unrivaled piece of history and one of the world’s best-preserved medieval monuments. The castle was built with stones salvaged from the ruined Mausoleum, which was once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
From the time the St. Jean knights left Bodrum in 1523 until the early 19th century, the Ottomans used the castle as a prison. The British and French bombarded it during World War I, causing damage.
Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum
The Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum is currently located within the Bodrum Castle (Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi). Only one other underwater museum exists in the world, and it is located in Turkey; the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology is among the most significant of these institutions. In 1995, the museum won the “Special Praise” prize at the European Museum of the Year competition.
The Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of amphorae from the Eastern Mediterranean. The museum features 14 separate displays. The museum also features displays devoted to the Yassiada and Serce Limani shipwrecks. The Serce Harbour Shipwrecks Glass Debris Hall exhibits three tons of glass, both broken and intact, salvaged from the world’s oldest sunken shipwreck, which occurred in 1025. In addition, the largest collection of Islamic glass in the world can be seen here.
At the Bodrum Archaeology Museum, you can see the Karyali Princess Hall, the English Tower, the East Roman Wreck, the Turkish Bath Exhibition, the Glass Shipwreck Hall, the German Tower, the Coin and Jewellery Hall, the Glass Hall, the Hidden Museum Snake Tower, the Uluburun Shipwreck, the Dungeon, the Commander’s Tower, and the Tektas Glass Wreck.
The Amphora Collection at the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum is the largest of its kind. The Balta Tower, which houses the “Queen Island” hall, can be found right next to the cross vault.
Memorial Mausoleum Museum
The Memorial of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (a tomb built for Mausolus) is one of the most important historical places you should visit in Bodrum and is widely regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Construction began while Mausolus, a member of the Hekatomnos dynasty, who had been appointed by the Persians as Satrap of the Caria Region, was still alive (353 BCE), and it was completed by his wife and sister Artemisia after his death.
It’s likely that Mausolus, who was the most powerful ruler at the time, ordered the building of such a huge building to make sure that his greatness would last forever and that his name would be remembered.
Turkish essayist and novelist Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, also known as “The Fisherman of Halicarnassus,” is practically synonymous with the city of Bodrum. When asked about the mausoleum’s design, he penned, “Just think about it!” Innovating by discarding established norms… What a source of frustration! “Whenever I think about this challenge, a tambourine and a drumming roar inside me.”
The Mausoleum is the tallest structure on the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, standing at a height of 801 feet. This is equal to the height of a 20-story apartment building, or roughly 50 meters.
Historical accounts place the building’s design credit with Pytheos, who is also credited with designing the Athena Temple in nearby Priene. According to Vitrivius, the greatest sculptors of the fourth century BCE toiled here. Bryaxis, one of the sculptors, was originally from Caria; he was responsible for the four-horse chariot statues of Mausolus and Artemisia that sit atop the Mausoleum.
Despite its longevity of 1500 years, the monument was destroyed by an earthquake in 1304. Among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Mausoleum has endured.
The ancient city of Stratoniceia was established in the third century BCE. Seleucus I of Syria had his son Antiochus marry his daughter-in-law, Stratonice. After marrying his stepmother, Stratonice, Antiochus named the city after her. Strabon, a famous travel writer, reported that the city was full of stunning architecture. Archaeological finds of coins date the city’s transition from using Rhodes’ currency to minting its own until the reign of Gallienus in 167 BCE (253-268 CE). The city’s acropolis can be found atop the southernmost mountain. A wall encloses this hilltop. The Emperor’s small temple stood on a terrace on the slope to the north, just below the modern highway.
The Ruins of Heracleia in Latmus
In Greek, we have the word “latmos.” Due to the presence of the Mother Goddess Lada, this area was referred to by this name in the past. The ancient Greeks renamed the river Lada the river Latmus when they founded the city there. During the ten years that Pleistarchus of the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled the city at the turn of the third century BCE, the city on the coast of Latmus was known as Pleistarcheia; later, Lysimachus changed the name to Alexandreia. Neither of these names, however, stuck. Although the city’s foundation date is unknown, it was mentioned in the 2nd-century BCE Battle of Miletos-Magnesia. When it finally broke away from Roman control, its status skyrocketed. Many churches and monasteries were established during its time as an episcopal center in the 7th and 9th centuries. The Hellenistic era was the height of glory for Heracleia on Latmus. Lysimachos extended the city walls in 287 BCE, and their total length increased to 6.5 kilometers.
Following the abandonment of Heracleia, the first half of the eighth century saw the construction of monasteries and churches. 170 examples of rock art show the change from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic.
Kaunos Rock Tombs
Even though it is now known as one of Turkey’s most fascinating destinations thanks to its rock tombs, Kaunos was once a thriving port city, but the gradual accumulation of alluvium in the sea caused it to lose its strategic location. The city’s acropolis, located on top of a 152-meter-tall hill, serves as its beating heart. Some of the city walls in the north date back to the Middle Ages. From its beginning on the northern side of the harbor, the long wall winds its way south, past Dalyan Village, and up the cliffs that lie beyond. In the time of Mausolus, the well-known Satrap of the Caria region, where Kaunos is located, the northern section of the wall was constructed. His tomb in Bodrum, Turkey, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World (Halicarnassos). The walls running northwesterly date to the Hellenistic Era (323 BCE–30 BCE), while those running southeasterly towards the harbor date to the Archaic Era (750–475 BCE). The ancient city’s theater is located near the base of the Acropolis. Among the city’s surviving structures, one belonged to a basilica-style church that stood to the west of the theater; the others were the foundations of a Roman bath and temple. From Dalyan, you can see rock tombs that have been used since the 4th century BCE and were later repurposed by the Romans. Giant fires were lit in the rock cavities visible from the pier, which guided ships carrying goods to Kaunos into the ancient harbor.
One of the most significant coastal cities in Western Anatolia, Knidos is part of the Rhodes Regional Unit. Tucked away at the very tip of the Datca Peninsula, where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet, is where you’ll find it: Tekir Cape. Knidos’ prosperous economy was in large part due to its wine exports. The city had two harbors, one for military use and one for commerce, and was protected by walls topped with round and angular towers. The Doric Temple, the Temple of Apollo and the Altar, the Round Temple and the Altar, the Assembly Building, the Corinthian Temple, the sundial indicating the season and the time, the Theatre, the Temple of Dionysus and the Slope Houses, the Odeon, the Sacred Place of Demeter, the Necropolis, and the Krio Peninsula are all important buildings and areas at the archaeological site. “If there is Helios, the tiny town of Knidos, also likewise there is a statue of Aphrodite that he can be proud of; it is the statue that Nikomedes, King of Bithynia (north of the Aegean region), reveals all the income,” wrote British archaeologist Charles Newton in his diary while working at Knidos in 1858. The pedestal of Praxiteles’s unclad Aphrodite statue for Knidos is still there, but the statue itself has been lost to time.
Tlos Ancient City
Tilos joined the Lycian Union around the second century BCE. Tlos, was one of the few ruins to survive into the 9th century because it continued to operate during the Byzantine period. Transportation was arranged along the Fethiye-Korkuteli highway through the Kemer neighborhood, 13 kilometers past the Yaka village castle quarter. There is evidence that Lycian urban centers have been inhabited since the 5th century BCE. Nothing before the 2nd century B.C.E. has been found, so we don’t know exactly when these cities were founded, but life in Lycia begins. An axe that was discovered by chance in Tlos also lends credence to this argument. It is believed that Tlos, then known as Talaw, existed in the second century.
The Mausoleum of Hekatomnos
Mugla, one of the most important cities in the Caria Region in southwest Anatolia, is home to the Hekatomnos Mausoleum and Sanctuary (Hekatomnos Anit Mezari ve Kutsal Alani). The Temenos Wall, Menandros’ Honor Column, the Sanctuary’s Podium, and the Tombs themselves make up the said Memorial Complex (Carrier Room, Tomb Room, Sarcophagus, and Dromos). The monuments are special for many reasons: they are the only structures of their kind to survive to the present day, they date back to an earlier time than the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, they are the monument of Mausoleus’s father, and they share the same dimensions as the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. The work is of high quality in terms of architecture and other important forms of art, such as sculpture and wall painting. This makes it the most important grave monument of the ancient world and the symbol of the cult of the dead. The “Sarcophagus with Frescoes” stands out because it is the only known example of its kind from classical and Hellenistic Anatolia, and it was built for a particularly prominent individual.
Ancient Settlements in Xanthos and Letoon (UNESCO Heritage List)
Xanthos is found within Antalya province, 46 kilometers from Fethiye, and close to the village of Kinik. Before falling under Persian rule in 545 BCE, it served as the de facto capital of ancient Lycia. About a century after that, it was destroyed by fire. The city was destroyed, but it was rebuilt and became the Lycian Union’s capital in the second century BCE. The city was subsequently conquered by the Romans, then by the Byzantines, and remained under Byzantine control until the Arab invasions of the 7th century. As a cultural hub that shows the influence of Lycian, Hellenistic, and Roman cultures, as well as those that came before and after, this location was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.
Letoon, located within modern-day Mugla province and only 4 kilometers from Xanthos, served as the religious center of ancient Lycia. The temples of Leto, Apollo, and Artemis stand on this holy ground, along with the remnants of a monastery, a fountain, and a Roman theater. The Leto Temple, dedicated to the mother of Artemis and Apollo, is the largest of its kind in the western part of the city. Designed after a peripteros, this structure measures 30.25 by 15.75 meters. Located to the east, the Apollo temple was also constructed in the Doric style, but it has not been as well preserved as the Leto temple and measures only 27.90 by 15.07 m in size. The temple to Artemis, the smaller of the two, stands in the geographical middle and measures 18.20 by 8.70 m. Letoon and Xanthos are two of the many places on the UNESCO World Heritage List (UNESCO Dunya Miraslari Listesi).
A ruin on Sedir Island (Sedir Adasi), with an estimated height between 0 and 15 meters, can be found on the island. From Mugla Province’s Ula District, Akyaka District, and Camli Village in the Marmaris District, boats leave every day to bring tourists to the area.
The island was once home to a community known as Kedreai, and it’s located in Keramos Bay. Formerly known as Sehiroglu during the Turkish era, the island is now known as Sedir. Although cedar trees may have once flourished on the island, modern-day Cedar Island has no cedar trees.
This triangular island and the nearby islands Orata and Kucuk Ada have a coastline that is 800 meters long. The eastern side of the isthmus (isthmus) that separates the two halves of Sedir Island is where the population first settled. This area is walled in and contains the city’s theater, religious centers, royal residence, port, and other important civic and religious structures. Necropolis, a part of the mainland’s ports and other civil structures, can be found to the east.
Anciently, Rhodos was thought to own all the land in the area, including Sedir Island. Historically, Rhodos had the most control and dominance over the Bozburun Peninsula, which is part of the Rhodos Peninsula. The city is home to the Apollon Sanctuary, the Great Basilica, the Kistak Church, and the Agora, in addition to a theater that can seat 2,500 people.
Located in the northeast corner of the Gulf of Gokova, the town of Akyaka is home to the 2,500-year-old city of Idyma. The ruins of Idyma’s city can be seen today from Gokova village to the base of Kran Mountain (Kiran Dagi). Remains of the city’s acropolis (upper city), dating back to the fourth and third centuries BCE, can be found on the hill rising just to the north of Gokova village. One can visit a necropolis (cemetery) that has seen tragedy on the hill’s eastern slope. The tombs, carved out of the rocks that lined the hillside, were constructed in the style of homes so that the dead could keep living after death. Some of the rock tombs were built in a more lavish fashion than others, mirroring the design of temples found in many of Anatolia’s ancient cities. This was done to highlight the disparities in wealth at the time. Located between Akyaka and the village of Gokova, Nisdibi is home to a monumental rock tomb that is the best-preserved of its kind. The Byzantine fortress of Azmak, located on a nearby hill, can be seen from this very road.
Aminthas Rock Tomb
In Fethiye, there are many rock-cut tombs hewn out of a steep rocky slope; three of these are temples, and others show off civil engineering at its finest. The “King’s Tomb,” one of the three temple types, has survived relatively intact compared to the other two. This Ionic Regular in antis (temple type with two columns between the antes) is the projected form of the front facade of a temple on the rock; it was named Aminthas Tomb (Aminthas Mezar) because of the inscription “Aminthas son of Hermapias” on the central part of the east ante walls and is dated to the 4th century BCE. The other tombs, the city’s symbol, are located on the same steep slope to the east, and they are the best examples that give information about the metal and woodworking of the Lycian Region.
In the panel leading to the tomb, a door with four main panels is depicted. There are three lines and a ceiling that alternates between smooth and rough on the inside of the room.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, a lot of people went to Telmessos Ancient City (Telmessos Antik Kenti), and the rock tombs nearby.
Located just 8 kilometers (km) south of Fethiye, the village of Kayakoy was formerly known as Karmilissos. Philological evidence suggests that the village was established in the third century BCE; however, no artifacts older than the fourth century BCE have been uncovered. All of the clusters of buildings on the town’s hillside were constructed by Greeks who moved there in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, taking advantage of protections afforded to minorities by the Ottoman Empire. Since the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the town has been abandoned. Due to natural factors, the village looks like a ghost town because the wooden doors, windows, and exteriors of the houses have decayed. Before the town was deserted, its estimated 350–400 homes were constructed so as not to interfere with one another in terms of sightlines and lighting. The total floor area of these 50-square-meter buildings was split between two stories. Cellars were typically located on the ground level. Rainwater was collected from roofs and stored in underground cisterns adjacent to the front door of each home. There are many chapels interspersed among the homes, as well as two large churches, a school, and a customs office.
Sea Turtles, specifically the Loggerhead variety (Caretta caretta), on Iztuzu Beach
In addition to being one of the last places on Earth where loggerhead sea turtles can be found, Iztuzu Beach (Iztuzu Plaj) is also only the second beach in the world to have been left in its pristine, natural state. The gentle Caretta carettas that call Iztuzu Beach home stand between 1 and 1.5 meters tall and weigh around 150 kilograms. These adorable creatures swim to shore, where they use their hind legs to dig holes in which to lay their eggs. After dark, the hatchlings follow their natural inclinations, guided by the moonlight, to make their way toward the ocean. It’s not an easy task because the baby carettas take their time getting to the water. They have to keep moving until the sun comes up and things warm up a bit. Those who don’t protect themselves from the sun and the birds die. There is still risk even after they reach the ocean. They are doomed to become fish food until they reach a certain size. Following their instincts, the few carettas that survive to adulthood and become giants eventually make their way back to the beach where they were born.
No fires or lights are allowed on this beach during the hatching season, as they confuse the young and lead them away from the sea. No permanent structures are permitted on the beach, and eggs are collected in a safe environment. Environmentalists from all over the world gather on the beach to set up camp during spawning, and they occasionally rally behind a march to the shore.
Discovering Ancient Routes
Mugla has a lot of potential for different kinds of tourism besides the typical beach vacation. Trekking is a popular alternative form of tourism, and many famous trails have been set up, such as the Lycian Way (Likya Yolu), the Carian Way (Karia Yolu), and the Kanuni Trail (Kanuni Yolu).
One of the 10 best long-distance walking routes in the world is the Lycian Way, which spans 540 kilometers and links 19 ancient cities along its route.
The Lycian Way, which has been used by nomads for thousands of years, begins in Fethiye and continues to Antalya. Lycian Way travelers can expect to encounter a mix of Roman roads, ancient paths, and mule roads as they make their way between the coast and the mountains. There are natural wonders like Kabak Bay (Kabak Koyu) and Cennet Bay (Cennet Koyu), as well as historical sites like Antiphellos, Sdyma, Letoon, Limyra, Simena, Xanthos, Patara, Apollonia, Chimera, Myra, Olympos, and Phaselis, and places to stay like settlements, accommodation facilities, or tents along the way.
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