The Aegean Region
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.
İzmir - Birth Place of Homer
Known in Turkish as "Beautiful Izmir", the city
lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf furrowed by ships
and yachts. The climate is mild and in the summer the constant
and refreshing sea breezes temper the sun's heat. Behind
the palm-lined promenades and avenues which follow the shoreline,
the city, in horizontal terraces, gently ascends the slopes
of the surrounding mountains. The third largest city in
Turkey, Izmir's port is second only to Istanbul's. A cosmopolitan
and lively city all year round, during the International
Arts Festival (June/July) and the International Fair (August/Sept),
Izmir bursts with an added vibrancy.
original city was established in the third millennium B.C.
(at present day Bayrakli), and at that time shared, with
Troy, the most advanced culture in Western Anatolia. By
1500 B.C. it had fallen under the influence of Central Anatolia's
Hittite Empire. In the first millennium B.C. Izmir, then
known as Smyrna, ranked as one of the important cities of
the lonian Federation; during this period - one of the city's
most brilliant - it is believed that Homer resided here.
The Lydian conquest of the city, around 600 B.C., brought
this period to an end, and Izmir remained little more than
a village throughout the Lydian and the subsequent 6th century
B.C. Persian rule. In the fourth century B.C. a new city
was built at the instigation of Alexander the Great on the
slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale). Izmir's Roman period,
from the first century B.C., gave birth to its second great
era. Byzantine rule followed in the fourth century and lasted
until the Seljuk conquest in the 11th century. In t415,
under Sultan Mehmet Çelebi; Izmir became part of the Ottoman
Places of Interest
The Archaeological Museum , near Konak Square, houses a
superb collection of antiquities including the statues of
Poseidon and Demeter which, in ancient times, stood in the
Agora. Neighbouring the Archaeology Museum, the collection
in the Ethnography Museum contains folkloric artifacts,
which includes a fine collection of Bergama and Gördes
carpets, traditional costumes and camel bridles.
Situated on Atatürk Caddesi, in an old Izmir house
used by the founder of the Turkish Republic, the Atatürk
Museum exhibits photographs of the leader as well as some
of his personal effects.
The Fine Arts Museum, located in Konak, displays the works
of famous Turkish painters.
The Selçuk Yasar Art Museum is a private museum
on Cumhuriyet Bulvari with a collection of 20th-century
Turkish art. The Natural History Museum in Bornova attracts
as a natural reserve of the Aegean Region landscapes' historical
The Ödemis Archaeological Museum is about 60 km east
of Izmir and displays regional artifacts. The Tire Archaeological
Museum is about 50 km east of Izmir.
Historical Sites and Monuments
The excavations at Bayrakli have unearthed a temple dedicated
to Athena, and the wall of the lonian city which flourished
here between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C. Pottery
dating to the third millennium B.C. has also been uncovered.
On Kadifekale, Mt. Pagos, stands the impressive ruins of
a castle and its walls, built by Lysimachus in the reign
of Alexander the Great, which still dominate Izmir today.
The castle offers an excellent vantage point to enjoy the
magnificent view over the Gulf of Izmir.
The Agora, or marketplace, in the Namazgah Quarter was
originally constructed during the rule of Alexander the
Great. What remains today, however, dates from the rebuilding
under Marcus Aurelius after a devastating earthquake in
178 A.D. The Sirinyer and Yesildere Aqueducts , two examples
of Roman engineering which span the Meles River, supplied
Izmir's water throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
me Saint Polycrap Church remains are of the oldest church
in Izmir, and symbolise the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse
community. Saint Polycarpo was martyred at Kadifekale by
the Romans in 155 A.D. According to legend, when they tried
to bum him, the flames wouldn't touch him and they finally
stabbed him to death. The church was reconstructed in 1620
by Süleyman the Magnificent.
An 18th century Ottoman inn, the Kizlaragasi Han, a fine
example of the architecture of the period, is being restored
to its former glory.
The symbol of Izmir, the Saat Kulesi, or Clock Tower, stands
in Konak Square - the heart of the city. A gift from the
Sultan Abdülhamid, and built in 1901, it is decorated
in an elaborate; late-Ottoman style.
Restored old houses fill the old Asansör quarter,
also known as the Jewish quarter. In this quarter, Dario
Moreno Sokagi is the main pedestrian street to the Asansör,
an elevator from the 19th century which is fifty-one meters
in height, and provides access between the lower and upper
streets. Situated on the upper side, the Asansör restaurant
offers a beautiful view of Izmir.
If you find yourself on Havra Sokak in Kemeralti, notice
the old buildings and synagogues.
In the center of Cumhuriyet Meydani, or Republic Square,
stands the Atatürk Monument, an impressive statue of
Atatürk sitting on a horse and facing the sea. Erected
in 1933, the Monument commemorates the liberation of the
city by Turkish Forces.
Standing in Karsiyaka, The Flying Dolphins is a monument
that symbolises friendship and brotherhood.
Hisar Mosque is the largest and oldest in Izmir. Built in
the 16th century, with restorations in the 19th century,
it has a delightful interior with an interesting mimber
(pulpit) and mihrab (attar).
Other mosques in Izmir are Salepçioglu (20th century),
Sadirvan (17th century with 19th-century restorations) and
Kemeralti (17th century); all are situated close to the
Kültürpark, the main park of the city, offers
many different activities. ft is the site for the International
Izmir Fair and contains an amusement park, zoo, restaurant
and quiet gardens.
Olaf Palme Park, situated in Karsiyaka, is a relaxing place
to stop. It also offers some sports facilities. Next door,
Adnan Saygun Park, a center for artistic activities, contains
an amphitheatre for concerts and theatrical productions,
and also the Open-Air Museum Park, which has statues scattered
throughout the grounds.
Insan Haklari (Human Rights) Park has lovely modem statues,
including the huge Flying Dolphin Monument. Muammer Aksoy
Park is a lovely seaside park with a nice view of Izmir
Turgut Özal Recreation Park, located in Bayrakli,
offers a number of recreational and sporting activities.
Art, Culture and Entertainment
Izmir has for many years enjoyed a reputation as a cosmopolitan
and cultural city. The Izmir Cultural Center hosts performances
of opera, ballet and musical concerts, and the city is home
to the Aegean Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a thriving
theatrical scene. During the annual Izmir International
Festival, international and Turkish artists perform at various
venues in the city and surrounding area, including the theatre
at Ephesus. Alsancak (Punta), with traditional restored
houses, has been converted into a pedestrian entertainment
walkway, with bars, cafes and restaurants.
Izmir International Fair, which is an international amusement
and industry show, opens each year in August.
Take a horse-drawn carriage along the promenade during
the day; afterwards spend the evening absorbing the lively
atmosphere of the bars and cafes around Passport Pier.
In the streets of the Kemeralti Market area, it is possible
to find fascinating antiques, both fine and fun jewellery,
a great variety of clothing, and the dried figs and sultanas
for which Izmir is famous. The fish restaurants in this
colorful area serve up local specialities; trança
and çipura, two types of sea bream. The best modern
and most elegant shops line the Kordon Promenades in Alsancak,
Karsiyaka and Cumhuriyet Avenue.
The Environs of Izmir
Balçova, on the road to Çesme, is one of Turkey's
largest thermal spas, with excellent facilities for guests.
Çamalti, 15 km west of Karsiyaka, is an area of
coastal marshes and salt fields that is preserved as an
important bird sanctuary - the Izmir Bird Paradise. Enthusiasts
can spot many species, including flamingos and pelicans.
The Yamanlar Çamligi, a pine forest near the lovely
Karagöl Lake, 40 km northeast of Karsiyaka, is a popular
picnic spot that also provides restaurants and a swimming
A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpasa
(20 km from Izmir) which lies in the Karabel Pass.
On the highest point above Izmir, Belkahve overlooks the
Gulf of Izmir and is a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of Turkish
coffee. A favourite haunt of Atatürk's, it is now the
site of the largest statue in his honour.
The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned by St.
John in the Book of Revelations, formed separate and distinct
communities, and are all found in Turkey : Izmir (Smyrna),
Efes (Ephesus), Eskihisar (Laodicea), Alasehir (Philadelphia),
Sart (Sardis), Akhisar (Thyatira), and Bergama (Pergamum).
Tours of one to four days can be arranged to see several
or all of the churches.
The Çesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the
Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir. The name 'Çesme',
meaning fountain, refers to the many springs found in the
area during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is one of Turkey's
most beautiful stretches - surrounded by clear blue sea,
with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame
and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In the unspoiled
bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find
excellent holiday accommodations, restaurants, sports and
A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged
by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small
port of Çesme, 80 km from Izmir. Today the town is
a popular holiday ' resort with excellent accommodations
and restaurants. The 16th century caravanserai near the
fortress, built by Süleyman the Magnificent, has been
converted into a hotel, while the 19th century Church of
Hagios Haralambos has been restored as the Emir Çaka
art gallery. Thermal baths offer a health-oriented escape
from modern life. Excellent shopping - the finest quality
carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items are available.
At night, a lively, fun atmosphere pervades, especially
in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade.
Yachts can be hired to explore the Peninsula's splendid
coastline. Çesme hosts an annual International Song
Contest in the summer. Also, weekly ferry lines run from
Çesme to Venice. ·· The very popular
holiday centre of Ilica boasts an excellent white, sandy
beach, and the outstanding facilities of the Altin Yunus
Marina and Holiday Complex. The bay here is ideal for water
sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal
baths around Ilica are very popular; the best being located
on Sifne Bay; Paça Limani has a campsite which offers
campers comfortable facilities. In Ilica Bay, the colorful
International Çakabey Optimist Yacht race is held
every year in July.
Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Çesme,
was ancient Erythrai. Those who climb up to the Acropolis
at dusk are rewarded with beautiful views as the sun sinks
over the bay and islands. Nearby Gerence Gulf is a pristine
inlet northeast of the Çesme Peninsula which can
be reached by yacht or car.
The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the bay
is ideal for water sports. In Dalyan, a fishing village
built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Çesme,
some of the region's best fish restaurants border the quay
of the lively marina. Tourists are attracted by the variety
of Çiftlik's accommodations, and by a long, sandy
beach (Pirlanta Plaj), just outside of town to the southwest.
Camping facilities are available to the south, and nearby
stretches one of the area's best beaches, the Altinkum Plaj
Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive
restaurants, dot the hill above Alaçati, a delightful
and typical Aegean town. Alaçati lies to the south
inland from Ilica and the coast; a couple of kilometres
to the south is a good beach. Many lovely bays, accessible
only by yacht, are to be found along the coast southeast
of the town and ensure peaceful and relaxing anchorage in
this popular sailing region.
Known in ancient times as Clazomenae, Urla Iskelesi offers
a marina as well as plentiful accommodation in all price
ranges. Restaurants on the top of Güvendik hill afford
a marvellous view of the bay and its islands.
The prosperous little fishing village of Çesmealti
is notable for its simple yet excellent fish restaurants.
As you drive along the panoramic Karaburun Peninsula coast
road you pass several peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages:
Balikliova, Mordogan and Karaburun. At Karaburun, pleasant
hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the
beautiful mountain backdrop and the clear, clean water.
From Manastir Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view
of the Karaburun coast, the Foça coastline opposite,
and the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir.
On the southern side of the Çesme Peninsula, near
the town of Seferihisar, is the small picturesque marina
of Sigacik. This important yachting centre is surrounded
by fortifications dating from the Genoese period and is
a good point from which to visit the Temple of Dionysus
at the antique site of Teos as well as the lovely Akkum
Gümüldür has excellent tourist facilities
- beautiful beaches, restaurants and hotels. Near Ahmetbeyli
(Claros) to the east, stands the Apollo Temple and the remains
of the colossal statue of Apollo; here you can also enjoy
a good fish meal or a swim at the town's wide beach. A winding
panoramic coastal road leads from Ahmetbeyli south to Pamucak
The Northern Aegean Region
The ancient Phocaea, Foça once formed part of the
lonian Federation. Today it is a modern, lively holiday
town on two deep bays. The pleasant accommodations, clean
beaches and inviting restaurants make it an attractive holiday
spot. Those seeking the perfect tan can find it on the natural
rock terraces of Siren Islands.
Bergama (Pergamon), once a great center of culture, survives
as one of Turkey's finest archaeological sites. In the Acropolis,
on a hill above the modern town, are the remains of the
celebrated library, a steep and impressive theatre, the
temples of Trajan and Dionysus, the monumental altar of
Zeus, the sanctuary of Demeter, a gymnasium laid out on
three terraces and the Agora. The Asclepion, located to
the southwest of the lower city, was a sanctuary dedicated
to the god of health, Asclepios. In town, visit the Archaeological
and Ethnographical Museum; nearby, is the site of a temple
dedicated to Serapis, becoming one of the Seven Churches
of the Apocalypse, and subsequently converted by the Byzantines
into a basilica.
Dikili, frequented by cruise liners bringing visitors to
Pergamon, is Bergama's harbour town. It offers a relaxing
atmosphere with many pleasant restaurants lining the Kordon
Promenade. A stop at the little port of Çandarli,
the ancient Pitane, is recommended in order to see the Genoese
fortress, one of the best preserved in Turkey.
Ayvalık is a charming port, situated amid beautiful pine
woods. Nearby, the Seytan Sofrasi (Devil's Table) offers
a splendid panorama of the archipelago along the Gulf of
Ayvalık and the little island of Alibey (Cunda), where there
are pleasant seafood restaurants. Sarmisakli Beach is one
of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
The Gulf of Edremit
The Gulf of Edremit, also known as the Olive Riviera, has
a number of charming seaside resorts: Küçükkuyu,
Altinoluk, Akçay (a thermal center with numerous
springs), Edremit and Ören, all with beautiful beaches,
ring the Gulf of Edremit and offer visitors a wide choice
of hotels and guest houses with views of the sea. Also,
situated here is the beautiful Kaz Dagi National Park ,
with magnificent landscapes, restful green areas and several
hot springs. According to mythologies it was in this area
that the world's first beauty contest was held. Under the
shadow of Kaz Dagi (Mt. Ida, 1.774 meters) in Pinarbasi,
west of Akçay, Paris gave the golden apple to Aphrodite
in the famous "Judgement of Paris".
87 km south of Çanakkale in Ayvacik Province is Assos,
the famous teaching center of antiquity. Aristotle, Plato's
most famous student, was invited to Assos and spent over
three years living and teaching there. He married the niece
of Hermeia, founded a school of philosophy and conducted
his early exploratory work in zoology, biology and botany.
The acropolis of Assos is 238 meters above sea-level, and
the Temple of Athena was constructed on this site in the
6th century B.C. This Doric temple is being restored to
its former glory and role as guardian of the Biga Peninsula
and Edremit Gulf. Linger to see the moonlight scattered
through the temple ruins, or rise early for the gentle awakening
of dawn over the acropolis, from the top of which you can
take in the magnificent vista of the Gulf of Edremit; and
you will appreciate why this heavenly location was chosen.
On the terraces descending to the sea are agoras, a gymnasium
and a theatre. From the northern comer of the acropolis,
you can see a mosque, a bridge and fortress, all built in
the 14th century by the Ottoman Sultan Murat I. Below lies
a tiny and idyllic ancient harbour. Assos has gained the
reputation of being the center of the Turkish art community
with its lively, friendly and bohemian atmosphere. This
may be the holiday you will remember for years to come.
The city of Çanakkale lies at the narrow, 1,200-meter entrance
to the Çanakkale Strait that connects the Sea of Marmara
and the Aegean. Passenger and car ferries run daily between
Çanakkale, on the Asian side, and Eceabat and Kilitbahir;
on the European side. Yachts navigating the straits stop
at the well-equipped Çanakkale Marina to allow tourists
more time in the area. Hotels, restaurants and cafes along
the promenade offer a place to enjoy the comings and goings
of the harbour, and views of the Kilitbahir Fortress and
the Çanakkale Archaeology Museum.
1451, Sultan Mehmet II, later the conqueror of Istanbul,
built one fortress on the European side of the Çanakkale
Strait, at Kilitbahir, and one on the opposite shore at
Çimenlik, to control the passage of ships through the strait.
Today the Çimenlik fortress serves as a military museum
dedicated to the Çanakkale Battle of 1915, one of the most
celebrated of World War I.
To honour the 500,000 soldiers who lost their lives at
Gelibolu (Gallipoli), the peninsula was made into the Gelibolu
Historical National Park. It includes memorial monuments,
the Ariburnu Cliffs and Tuz Lake. The beauty of the green
hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an honoured
resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died
in this historic battle. You cannot help but sense the heart
of the Turkish nation, in the special spirit of this place.
Homer immortalised Truva (Troy) in the stories of King Priam,
Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. Archaeological excavations
have revealed nine separate periods of settlement and the
ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre.
A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the legendary
As you approach Bozcaada Island, the Venetian castle commands
your attention. Then, your eyes are drawn to the glistening
white houses and the restaurants and cafes which line the
promenade. Wine seems as plentiful as water on this island;
a circuit reveals many vineyards and wine cellars. There
are good, sandy beaches at Ayazma, Poyraz and Igdelik.
The largest of the Turkish islands, Gökçeada,
is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills, covered in the
contrasting greens of pines and olive trees, are dotted
with sacred springs and monasteries. Regularly scheduled
ferryboats make the trip from Çanakkale and Kabatepe.
In August, islanders and tourists gather for colorful local
fairs. The town of Biga has lent its name to its whole peninsula
in Bayramiç, 60 km from Çanakkale, is the
18th century Hadimogullari Mansion, (Ottoman House).
The Interior Aegean Region
Inland from the Aegean sea, the fertile soil has endured
the passage of many important early civilisations. Today
the remains of these cultures can still be seen in the countryside
as well as in the cities, towns and villages. The more recent
legacy of Ottoman rule is apparent in the well-preserved,
traditional, domestic Turkish architecture, and Ottoman
mosques. Leisure-resorts have been built around the region's
hot springs, and can accommodate those seeking the thermal
springs' pleasurable and beneficial effects.
attractive Aegean city, Manisa has preserved several splendid
examples of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. Endowed by
Ayse Sultana, mother of Süleyman the Magnificent, the Sultan
Mosque was built early in the 16th century. Every year in
April, on the grounds of this mosque, a festival is held
celebrating Mesir Macunu, a sticky imperial elixir that
reputedly cured the sultan's ailing mother. The 16th century
Muradiye Mosque was designed by the great architect Sinan
and the adjacent medrese, or theological college, today
houses the Archaeological Museum. September sees the annual
Harvest Festival begin when the fruit of the vineyards are
brought in with great celebration. The region's numerous
vineyards produce grapes, dried for export. South of the
city lies the Sipil Dagi National Park, home of the famous
"crying rock" of Niobe. If you travel to the northeast
you come to Gördes, a pleasant town particularly known for
its fine carpets.
The ruins of ancient Sart (Sardis), once the capital of
the Lydian realm of Croesus, lie on the Sart Çayi
(Pactole River). Here the first coins were minted. The Temple
of Artemis and a restored gymnasium testify to the city's
past splendour, as does the important third-century A.D.
synagogue. On the south side of Sardis, Mt. Boz offers trekking
and other mountain sports. On its south slope, in the village
of Birgi, is the Çakir Aga Mansion, a fine example
of traditional Turkish architecture.
Historically, Usak was an important, carpet weaving center,
a role it continues to play today. Tourists find the Archaeology
Museum informative and interesting. The Kaftanci House Museum,
with the Atatürk Ethnography Museum, displays wonderful
Usak carpets and kilims; Atatürk resided here.
An inaccessible and imposing citadel dating to Byzantine
times overlooks this provincial city. The Archaeological
Museum and the War of Independence Memorial reveal Afyon's
place in history. Monumental bas-reliefs, a legacy of the
Phrygian Kingdom, are carved into rock faces on hills north
of the city. Aslantas is the largest. At Aslankaya, lion
reliefs are engraved into the sides of the rock.
The Açik Hava Müzesi (Open-Air Museum) is near
the north entrance of the town of Dinar, 100 km south of
Afyon. This is the site of the legendary music contest between
Apollo and Manyas (Pan). Byzantine and Roman gravestones,
inscriptions and statues can be seen here.
Kütahya City is one of the oldest Turkish cities, with
Turkish traditions still being practiced today and important
Ottoman architectural monuments, including a castle, mosques,
medreses, baths, complexes, mausoleums, and mansions. One
of the finest mosques is the 14th century Ulu Mosque. Kütahya
Castle offers a wonderful, panoramic view of the old town
on the western side of the city. The Kütahya Archaeology
Museum was a medrese in the 14th century; it now displays
ethnographia, Roman and Byzantine relics, and tiles of Iznik
and Kütahya from Ottoman times. Lajos Kossuth, the
19th century Hungarian hero, lived with his family in what
is now the Kossuth House Museum; relics and documents related
to Kossuth are displayed in the museum.
kilns of Kütahya produced exquisite ceramics in the 16th
and 17th centuries - a craft which lives on today. You can
visit the workshops where skilled artisans produce tiles,
plates and bowls renowned for their cobalt blue patterns
on a milky white background.
Southwest of Kütahya, is the Roman town of Çavdarhisar
(Aezani) where a theatre, stadium and the Temple of Zeus
remain. In the same direction, Murat Mountain offers camping
facilities and hot springs, amid delightful scenery. Near
Dumlupinar are the Baskomutan National Park and the War
of Independence memorials.
South Aegean Region
The province's capital, also called Aydın, enjoys a widespread
reputation for its fine figs. Known as Tralleis in ancient
times, it was at the center of a celebrated sculpture school.
The remains seen today date from the second century A.D.
After 1186 the town came under Seljuk rule, and the local
museum displays artifacts from the different periods of
visit to Efes (Ephesus) - once the, commercial center of
the ancient world - is a highlight of any visit to Turkey.
The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid
architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis.
Her enormous temple, once considered one of the Seven Wonders
of the Ancient World and rebuilt several times, dates in
its latest form from the third century B.C. The ruins also
include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths, as well as
the Library of Celsius.
The nearby town of Selçuk is dominated by a Byzantine
citadel which stands close to the 6th century basilica of
St. John built on the site of the Apostle's tomb. The 14th
century Isa Bey Mosque, next to the basilica is accessed
through its typical Seljuk portal. The Archaeological Museum
houses an impressive collection of statues and other finds
recovered during the excavations of Ephesus. The nearby
Turkish Bath Museum , built in the 16th century, shows Turkish
life at the hamam (bath). The Ephesus International Festival
is held annually in May.
It is recorded that St. John brought the Virgin Mary to
Ephesus. after the death of Christ and that she spent her
last days in a small house (Meryemana Evi) built for her
on Bülbüldagi (Mt Koressos). Now a popular place
of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims the house has received
the official sanction of the Vatican, and Christians observe
a commemoration ceremony every year on August 15th. Near
Selçuk in Çamlik is a TCDD Open-air Steam
Locomotives Museum. 9 km east of Selçuk is Sirince,
known for its traditional 19th-century village houses, some
of which have been converted into guest-houses. Wine produced
in this small hillside Turkish village, which itself resembles
an open-air museum. 18 km from Selçuk are wine-houses,
for tasting the wines.
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 Kus
shopping center in the Kaleiçi quarter, where there is nightlong
entertainment. A large, modern marina facilitates life for
visiting yachters. Tusan-Kustur Beach, north of Kuşadası
lies one of the cleanest beaches and 23 km south of Kuşadası
is the charming holiday-resort town of Güzelçamli. West
of Güzelçamli 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 Besparmak 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 Altinkum tempts with its many guest houses. Akbük
is another holiday resort in the region with nice beach
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
Nestled against high mountains near the Büyük (Meander)
River is Denizli. Surrounded by the natural beauty of a
verdant valley, the area is also rich in culture and history.
The Luvians were the first inhabitants, followed centuries
later by the Hittites. Throughout centuries, the fertile
plain nourished other civilisations: The Phrygians, Lydians,
Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and
the Ottomans. Modern Denizli is a city of wide streets,
parks and hotels. The Atatürk Ethnography Museum in the
city center displays folk art and ethnic artifacts. While
shopping in the Kaleiçi Çarsisi look for souvenirs of copper,
jewellery, towels and silk blouses. You can choose among
Çamlik, Incilipinar or Gökpinar Parks for a rest, picnic,
or simply a walk through the forest in the shade of pine
trees. The fresh water springs and thermal baths attract
magical and spectacular natural site, unique in the world,
Pamukkale (Hierapolis) is a fairyland of dazzling white,
petrified castles. Thermal spring waters laden with calcareous
salts running off the plateau's edge have created this fantastic
formation of stalactites, cataracts and basins. The hot
springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic
powers. Both the thermal center with its motels and thermal
pools, and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis,
are situated on the plateau.
Another thermal center northwest of Pamukkale, Karahayit
is known for its water's high-iron content. Honaz Dagi National
Park is 20 km east of Denizli, near the town of Honaz. Mt.
Honaz is one of the most beautiful and highest peaks (2.528
m) in the Aegean region. It is covered with a gorgeous alpine
forest. Early Christians settled on the northern slope;
the name of this ancient site is Colossae, and remains of
the settlement can be seen.
The province of Muğla includes the famous holiday cities
of Bodrum, Marmaris, Datça, Köycegiz and Fethiye.
Beautiful resorts, comfortable hotels and motels, cozy guest
houses, impressive ruins of past civilisations and magnificent
ok here landscapes offer holidaymakers plenty of choice.
Muğla, the province's capital, lies inland and is known
for its traditional vernacular architecture. In the village
of Özlüce, a veritable open-air museum east of
Muğla, is Turolian Park, where you can find fossils that
are from 5 - 9 million years old.
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
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, Bardakçi, Gümbet,
Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent Yalisi, Karaincir, Bagla 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, Gümüslük and Yalikavak, 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 (Gümüslük)
you can easily make many friends with the hospitable and
outgoing local population. In Yalikavak, 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 Gündogan - 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
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 Kiyikislacik (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. Gümüskesen,
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.
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 raki, 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 çambali 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
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.
Kargi 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 Köycegiz 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
Swimmers head for the popular Çalis Beach, four
kilometres west of town, or to Sövalye Island, opposite
the harbour, which blazes with flowers in the spring.
The road to Belcegiz 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, Belcegiz beach is recommended. Intoxicating
scenery surrounds Kidirak's beach and shady park. On Gemiler
Island (St Nicholas's Island), Byzantine ruins lie tucked
among the pines. South of Kidirak 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 Saklikent (Hidden City).
A cool refuge on hot summer days, Saklikent 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 Esen Valley. 2 km east of the villages is Tlos
Park, ideal for picnicking. Pinara, 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 Kinik,
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.