About Turkey and Us
Turkey's Aegean shores are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. The magnificent coastline, lapped by the clear waters of the Aegean Sea, abounds in vast and pristine beaches surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pine woods. Dotted with idyllic fishing harbours, popular holiday villages and the remains of ancient civilisations attesting to the inheritance of more than 5,000 years of history, culture and mythology, this region. offers a holiday with something for everyone - nature lovers, sun worshippers, photographers, sports-enthusiasts, sailors and archaeologists. Along the whole length of the coast, accommodations to suit every taste and price range can be found.
Situated on a bay, backed by rugged pine-clad mountains, Marmaris is one of the most attractive maritime parklands, ideal for water sports and sailing. It makes an excellent starting point for the "Blue Voyage" tour of the Aegean coastline. In May, the Marmaris Yacht Charter Show provides an opportunity to meet the yachts' captains and crews. With plenty of provisions aboard, you set sail in the craft of your choice and languidly explore the spectacular beauty of southern Turkey.
In Marmaris, sample the typical Turkish cuisine in one of the marina restaurants and drink rakı, anisette, the traditional Turkish way, over ice and diluted with water. Later stroll along the brightly lit and palm-lined promenade and indulge yourself at one of the ice cream vendors. Energetic entertainment at a lively bar or dancing until dawn at a sophisticated disco can end a perfect day.
There are many good buys in Marmaris' boutiques, colorful bazaars and markets. You can find excellent leather and suede goods, copper and brassware, jewellery and objects carved of onyx. Turkish carpets, textiles and embroidery make good handcrafted souvenirs, and the locally produced pine -scented honey called çambalı is superb.
Ancient Marmaris, Physkos, was an important stage on the Anatolia-Rhodes-Egypt trade route. In the 16th century Süleyman the Magnificent had a citadel built on a hill, the remains of which can still be seen today.
Swimmers should not miss Atatürk Park, to the east of Marmaris, where a shallow beach, extending to the bay leads to safe waters. The clear sea is warm enough for swimming from early May until late September. Marmaris also has horseback riding and tennis centres for the sports enthusiast. This is one of the few places in the world where you can delight in the heady aroma of the frankincense tree. Weekly ferry lines run between Marmaris and Venice during the summer season.
Near Marmaris at Içmeler, the hazy mountains of the interior slope down to sandy beaches. Under blue skies, the clear sea is ideal for all types of water sports. Many find this area so irresistible that they stay longer than originally planned. And there are some excellent accommodations here, in which you can prolong your contact with nature. As you drive down from the high mountains into the village of Turunç, the scene opens out onto the spectacular blue waters beyond the natural harbour. The village itself is small and scattered around the bay: Most of the restaurants border the beach. A few bars and restaurants farther back from the water's edge offer fresh fish and superb views. Kumlubük, a turquoise paradise, lies on the southern side of the bay. On the northern side, above the water, stands the ancient Rhodian city of Amos. Loryma, at the tip of the Bozburun Peninsula, where the ruins of the ancient harbour and castle remain, can only be reached by boat. Natural quiet bays and scattered islands punctuate the northern shore of the peninsula, ideal for those who want to get away from it all.
Sedir Island, in the Gulf of Gökova, is the ancient Cedrai. Its old city walls, theatre and temples can be visited by driving from Marmaris north to Gelibolu Bay and then crossing by boat. This voyage also offers an unforgettable panoramic view of the mountain scenery across the bay. At the head of the gulf is the village of Gökova Whose houses seem to cascade down the mountainside. Restaurants built over bubbling, fresh water streams that fall from the highlands create an ,unforgettable setting. The towering pines and cool breezes of Gökova Park are often a welcome respite from the hot sun.
The Datça Peninsula provides a natural boundary between the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Gökova to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Hisarönü to the south. Along all the 75 km from Marmaris to Datça, the road winds among trees and hills, permitting lovely views over the expanse of blue. Campers have many perfect settings to choose from; the less adventurous can stay in one of the many comfortable holiday villages. 25 km to Datça is the beautiful Aktur beach. In Datça white-washed buildings hung with bougainvillaea decorate the town. The marina is on the southern bay; while swimmers prefer the northern bay. Around the marina bars, cafes and a wide selection of shops keep the tourist interested. Some shops remain open well into the evening. Relaxing over a pre-dinner drink and then a delicious meal in a welcoming restaurant is a popular way to spend the evening hours. Of course, the local eateries offer both fresh fish and classical Turkish cuisine. With any remaining energy, take a stroll and find a disco to your liking to while away until the early morning hours. 10 km north of Datça, the Körmen Harbour is connected to Bodrum by a daily ferry line.
As you travel out of Datça, either by road or by boat, you will find unspoilt bays and golden sandy beaches. Kargı is one of the most popular bays in the region.
At the end of the peninsula (38 km from Datça) stands the ancient Carian city of Knidos, described by Strabo as "a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas." Famous as a center of art and culture in the fourth century B.C. the city had two harbours: one on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. The remains of a circular temple dedicated to the goddess of love overlook the two harbours; the arcaded way was built of white marble, heart-shaped columns. The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles' statue, one of the most beautiful sculptures of antiquity, once graced this temple.
The town of Köyceğiz lies at the northern end of a lake of the same name and Is joined to the Mediterranean by a natural channel. This unique environment is being preserved as a nature and wildlife sanctuary. A road shaded with aromatic frankincense trees leads to the tiny village of Dalyan on the inland waterway. The maze of channels is easily explored by boat as you immerse yourself in this tranquil dream world. The restaurants which line the waterways specialise in delicious meals of fresh fish. High on the cliff face, at a bend in the river, above the fascinating ancient harbour city of Caunos, magnificent tombs were carved into the rock. The Dalyan Delta, with a long, golden sandy beach at its mouth, is a nature conservation area and a refuge for sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) and blue crabs. At Ekincik, a delightful yacht mooring, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this area. Only a half hour's drive from Dalaman Airport, Sarigerme has wonderful sandy beaches, and a pleasant holiday village discreetly situated in a pine forest. The Dalaman River is the best for rafting and the best time for rafting is between May and October. The road to Fethiye winds up and down hills through a heavily forested region that offers occasional glimpses of the sea and an islet or two basking in total seclusion. The Gulf of Göcek and its friendly marina is one of the Mediterranean's best sailing spots. Dotted with islands and indented with many coves, its land and seascapes are irresistible. The ruins of Arymaxa, an ancient city at the southern tip of the guff, lie at the edge of the azure waters. Opposite, on Tersane Island, stand Byzantine ruins, including those of the ancient shipyards.
The popular resort Fethiye, 135 km southeast of Marmaris, boasts an important marina at the head of a beautiful bay strewn with islands. A hill crowned by the ruins of the crusader fortress built by the Knights of Rhodes overlooks the little port. Above the town, (called Telmessos in antiquity), numerous Lycian rock tombs, reproducing the facades of ancient buildings, were cut into the cliff face. The Tomb of Amyntas, which probably dates from the fourth century B.C. is the most remarkable.
Swimmers head for the popular Çaliş Beach, four kilometres west of town, or to Şövalye Island, opposite the harbour, which blazes with flowers in the spring.
The road to Belceğiz Bay takes you through the mountains where cozy guest houses cater to those seeking mountain scenery. Ocakköy is the mountain village that is a must see, stay in one of the lovely guest houses, and enjoy the numerous trekking possibilities. Hisarönü, also in the mountains, has very nice hotels. 4 km from Hisarönü, Kayaköy is a picturesque ghost town of old houses and churches - all empty. Explore the bay and the beautiful Blue Lagoon, Ölü Deniz, where the calm, crystal clear water is ideal for swimming and other water sports. The Blue Lagoon is one of the best places in the world to do absolutely nothing except soak up the sun amid stunning natural surroundings. At Mt. Baba (1,969 m), you can paraglide into the Blue Lagoon. For those who' prefer accommodation facilities, Belceğiz beach is recommended. Intoxicating scenery surrounds Kıdırak's beach and shady park. On Gemiler Island (St Nicholas's Island), Byzantine ruins lie tucked among the pines. South of Kıdırak beach, Kötürümsü Bay is reachable only by boat. Beyond the idyllic beach, a forest, waterfalls and a valley filled with hundreds of varieties of butterflies await the explorer. High in the mountains above Fethiye rushing torrents cut a narrow gorge through the mountains, creating Saklıkent (Hidden City). A cool refuge on hot summer days, Saklıkent is a favourite picnic spot, with rustic restaurants serving delectable fresh trout. 36 km south of Fethiye, Yakaköy (Tlos) is the Oldest city in the Lycian region. The home of the Lycian Hero Bellerophon, visitors can see the remains of a castle, agora, necropolis, theatre, Roman baths and a good view of Eşen Valley. 2 km east of the villages is Tlos Park, ideal for picnicking. Pınara, 49 km south of Fethiye, is another ancient mountain city; it is ideal for trekking and visitors can see the remains of a theatre, agora, rock tomb, baths and ancient brothels.
About 65 km from Fethiye, to the southeast, near Kınık, are the ruins of Xanthos, an important Lycian capital in a splendid natural setting. Letoon, nearby, was formerly an important religious cult center where three temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo stood in ancient times.
Back along the coast, Kuşadası, or Bird Island, is a lovely port built along the shores of a glittering bay. The terraced town overlooks the most beautiful inlet of the Aegean and seems to have been created purely for the delight of the holiday-maker. Be sure to visit the famous and popular Kuş shopping center in the Kaleiçi quarter, where there is nightlong entertainment. A large, modern marina facilitates life for visiting yachters. Tusan-Kuştur Beach, north of Kuşadası lies one of the cleanest beaches and 23 km south of Kuşadası is the charming holiday-resort town of Güzelçamlı. West of Güzelçamlı and 30 km from Kuşadası, is the Dilek Peninsula National Park, and a visit is a must for those with the time. Here amidst incredibly beautiful surroundings are some of the most wonderful views and some of the rarest wild animals in Turkey, including the Anatolian cheetah and some of Turkey's last wild horses, The park is a wildlife preserve and a haven for many species of animals and birds.
The exquisite Menderes River valley, known in the West as the Meander, has been the cradle of many civilisations. Set amidst pine, olive and oleander trees, the magnificent Çamiçi (Bafa) Lake is a lovely place to stopover. Tourists can choose between guest-houses or campsites. To the east of the lake rise the five peaks of the Besparmak Mountains. The Iconoclastic priests who came here to live, from Constantinople, built monasteries, churches, and chapels around the base of the mountains and on the lake's islands. The ruins of the ancient city of Heraklia lie close to the lake, while the remains of Alinda are found on the eastern slopes of the Beşparmak Mountains. The valley has witnessed the rise and fall of several great cities, notably Priene, Miletos, Didyma, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis. This peaceful national reserve is an excellent place for bird-watchers, trekkers, nature-lovers and photographers.
Güllübahçe (Priene) was one of the most active ports of the lonian Federation. The gridlike system of streets introduced in the fourth century B.C. by Hippodamos of Miletos is a superb and early example of town planning.
Milet (Miletos), like Priene, was a great lonian port and the birthplace of several philosophers and sages. The theatre justifies a visit, and be sure to see the well-preserved ruins of the Faustina baths and the Archaeological Museum.
Although Didim (Didyma) can only boast of a single monument, it is nevertheless a marvellous site. The Temple of Apollo was one of antiquity's most sacred places. Many times looted and burned, the sanctuary still impresses with its elegant beauty. A portico of double colonnades surround the colossal temple. Not far from the archaeological site, the beautiful beach of Altınkum tempts with its many guest houses. Akbük is another holiday resort in the region with nice beach hotels.
Although the history of Geyre (Aphrodisias) stretches back in time, the city, which was dedicated to Aphrodite, goddess of love and fertility, rose to prominence in the first century B.C. Some of the richest treasures of ancient times were uncovered in the excavations of this city. The public buildings are handsomely adorned with marble that was carved with astonishing skill, producing remarkable temples, monuments, baths, a theatre and a magnificent stadium. The reputation of the city's craftsmen for the exquisite finesse of their statuary and marble sculpting spread through the civilised world, and Aphrodisias became the center of the greatest sculpting school of antiquity. Many of its marvellous works of art are now housed in the local museum. The theatre and bouleuterion are among the city's best-preserved ruins.
About 35 kilometres east of Aydın lies Sultanhisar, host to an Art and Culture Festival every spring. Nearby, in the quiet of the olive trees, are the ruins of ancient Nysa, famous in the second century A.D. as an educational centre
An impressive medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum's dazzling blue bay, in which the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas meet. The town's charm is well-known, attracting a diverse population of vacationers who stroll along its long palm-lined waterfront, while elegant yachts crowd the marina.
Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers, especially, will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters offer up multicoloured sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopi and an immense variety of other aquatic life.
The reputation of Bodrum's boat yards date back to ancient times, and today, craftsmen still build the traditional yachts: the tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the gulette with a broad beam and rounded stern. The latter, especially, are used on excursions and pleasure trips, and in the annual October Cup Race.
The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged small entrepreneurs to make shopping in Bodrum a delight. Leather goods of all kinds, natural sponges and the local blue glass beads are among the bargains to be found in the friendly little shops along the narrow, white-walled streets. Charming boutiques offer kilims, carpets, sandals and embroidery as well as original fashions in soft cotton. Bodrum has gained the reputation as the center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and Bohemian atmosphere and many small galleries. This community has encouraged an informal day-time lifestyle and a night-time of excitement. The evenings in Bodrum are for sitting idly in one of the many restaurants, dining on fresh seafood and other Aegean specialities. Afterwards nightclubs (some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going until dawn. Bodrum, known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of King Mausolus's Tomb (4th century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the harbour, the Bodrum Castle, or the medieval castle of St. Peter, is a fine example of 15th century Crusader architecture, and has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, with remains dating as far back as the Bronze Age. The stunning panoramic view from Göktepe, nearby, is much photographed by visitors to the museum's second-century theatre.
The beautiful Bodrum Peninsula suits holidaymakers interested in a subdued and relaxing atmosphere. Enchanting villages, with guest-houses and small hotels on quiet bays, dot the peninsula. On the southern coast, Bardakçı, Gümbet, Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent Yalısı, Karaincir, Bağla and Akyarlar have fine, sandy beaches Campers and windsurfers enjoy Gümbet, and at Bitez colourful sailboards weave skilfully among the masts of yachts in the bay. On shore, you can enjoy quiet walks through the orange and tangerine groves bordering the beach. Ortakent has one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in the area and offers an ideal place for relaxing in solitude. One of the most beautiful beaches on the Bodrum peninsula, Karaincir, is ideal for lively active days by the sea and relaxed, leisurely evenings with local villagers. Finally, Akyarlar enjoys a well-deserved reputation for the fine, powdery sand of its beach.
Turgutreis, Gümüşlük and Yalıkavak, all with excellent beaches, lie on the western side of the peninsula and are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. In Turgutreis, the birthplace of a great Turkish admiral of the same name, you will find a monument honouring him. In the ancient port of Myndos (Gümüşlük) you can easily make many friends with the hospitable and outgoing local population. In Yalıkavak, white-washed houses with cascading bougainvillaea line narrow streets. Small cafes and the occasional windmill create a picturesque setting. See the north coast of the peninsula - Torba, Türkbükü, Gölköy and Gündoğan - by road or, even better, hire a boat and crew to explore the quiet coves, citrus groves and wooded islands. Little windmills which still provide the energy to grind grain, crown hills covered with olive trees. Torba, a modern village with holiday villas and a nice marina is located 8 km north of Bodrum. Gölköy and Türkbükü are small and simple fishing villages with a handful of taverns overlooking a lovely bay.
After a boat trip to Karaada, half an hour from Bodrum, you can bathe in the grotto where the warm mineral waters flowing out of the rocks are believed to beautify the complexion.
The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf of Gökova, on the southern shore of the Bodrum peninsula vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline is thickly wooded with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, and at night it shimmers with phosphorescence. You can take a yacht tour or hire a boat from Bodrum for a two, three or seven day tour of the gulf.
The Gulf of Güllük, and harbour of the same name, lie north of the Bodrum peninsula on the Aegean. The mythological Dolphin Boy is said to have been born a little farther to the north at Kıyıkışlacık (lassos). South of Güllük, Varvil, ancient Bargilya, sits at the end of a deep narrow inlet surrounded by olive covered hillsides.
Inland from Güllük is Milas, ancient Mylasa, known for its beautiful carpets - a century old tradition which continues today. The weavers rarely mind a visitor watching them at work. Plenty of old Turkish houses with carved timbers and latticed windows provide examples of the vernacular architectural style. Gümüşkesen, a monumental tomb, thought to be a small copy of the famous Halicarnassus Mausoleum, stands in the west of the city.
The ancients built Labranda, a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, high in the mountains. Today, tourists have rediscovered this mountain retreat and escape to its exhilarating air and breathtaking scenery.