Marmaris Tourist Attractions
Southwest coast (Mediterranean)Position of the holiday resortThe port town of Marmaris lies 60km/37mi south of the provincial capital Mugla at the head of Marmaris bay, an inlet sheltered from the sea by a number of rocky islets. Owing to its beautiful situation in lush green surroundings and pine woods, its sheltered harbor and long beautiful beaches around the shores of the bay, Marmaris has developed into a popular holiday resort with modern hotels, guest-houses and holiday homes, some of which are a long way from the town. It is easily accessible via the regional airport at Dalaman 100km/60mi to the east.HistoryThe modern town's predecessor was Physkos, a dependency of Rhodes. A few traces of the old Hellenistic town can be detected on the Hill of Asartepe outside the built-up area. During the 14th century under the Seljuks, Marmaris was ruled by the Emirs of the Mentese dynasty from Milas and then later incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. Many of the present inhabitants are the descendants of Turks from Crete.
The half-timbered houses of the old town of Marmaris huddle round a medieval castle on a peninsula projecting into a bay. At the foot of the hill lies the well-equipped harbor with berths for yachts, landing-stages for car ferries to Rhodes, boat trips to Kaunos in the Dalyan delta, Datça Knidos or Bodrum. Restaurants, cafes and the tourist information bureau can also be found in this quarter. There is a lively bazaar in the old town.
The main trunk road from Marmaris to Izmir passes well to the west of Mugla, so many travelers miss this picturesque town with its steep alleys and delightful bazaar. The sparkling white houses in the old quarter are noted for their huge overhanging roofs and must rank as the finest in Turkey. The town lies to the northeast of the fertile Mugla Ovasi basin on the edge of the Ikizce Dagi. Mugla is overlooked to the north by a medieval castle and the 800m/2,625ft acropolis of the ancient Carian town of Mobolla.For a superb view of the town and the surrounding region leave Mugla to the east along an old winding track which is generally not suitable for motor vehicles. The road ascends first to a plateau and then beyond to Kale (Kale Tavas) passing through some impressive, secluded mountain woodland. Sights of interest here include relics dating from the town's Islamic past and in particular from the Mentese emirs who once resided in Mugla. Worth seeking out are the Sey Camii, the Üçerenler Camii (Mosque of the Three Saints) and the oldest building in Mugla the Ulu Camii which was founded in 1344 by Ibrahim Bey Menteseoglu. Most inhabitants live off the land or work in the nearby opencast brown coal mine at Yatagan 25km/16mi to the northwest.
Near the village of Dalyan some 30km/20mi east of Marmaris as the crow flies lies the site of ancient Kaunos. The road to the site runs north to Gökova at the head of the long Gulf of Gökova and then east via Köycegiz. The Köycegiz lagoon is linked to the open sea by the River Dalyan.Roughly half-way between the lagoon and the sea is the village of Dalyan, where a boat plies across the channel, flowing here through a marshy plain, to the monumental rock tombs of Kaunos on the west side. The fourth century B.C. tombs hewn from the steep rock face can be seen from a considerable distance. Investigations of the site by Turkish archaeologists since 1960 have suggested a dating in the first millennium B.C.NoteIn the 1980s Turkish and German environmental groups succeeded in preventing the construction of a luxury hotel in Dalyan Bay which was to be paid for with German development aid. This area is one of the last breeding grounds in the Mediterranean for the loggerhead turtle (caretta caretta) and it has since been designated as a protected area by the Turkish government. Nevertheless, in high season thousands of tourists still descend on the area by boat and by bus and their presence alone is endangering the existence of these rare creatures. It is therefore advisable to avoid the area.
On the ancient site of Stadeia and in Datça Bay 80km/50mi west of Marmaris lies the growing holiday resort of Datça (marina). It can be reached either by boat or on a winding hill road which runs along the narrow Resadiye Peninsula known in ancient times as Cnidian Chersones. Both sides of this road offer beautiful views over the sea and the splendid bathing beaches with their adjacent campsites.A regular car ferry service to Bodrum (Halikarnassos) operates from the port of Körmen on the peninsula 10km/6mi northwest of Datça.
Visitors looking to get out on the water can venture out on a fishing trip. The "Finding Nemo Boat" offers charters out of Marmaris.