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Once a sleepy fishing village, Marmaris has ballooned into one of the largest resorts on the Aegean coastof Turkey. Little of its history remains, as the town is now a modern development with tourism at its heart and soul. The population swells to a massive 200,000 in the summer, with most hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shops catering to low-cost package holidays, although there are facilities for all budgets.

Despite the development which reaches around 10km along the west of the bay, Marmaris is also well-known for its expanse of green, present the whole year round thanks to the pine-covered hills which surround the town. There are many beaches around the bay, and there are ancient cities and seaside villages close by for day trips. The yacht harbour is the biggest and newest in Turkey, and therefore the busiest charter port especially for trips along the Turquoise Coast.

In addition to the climate, beaches and facilities of the town, the transportation infrastructure is a definite plus for attracting visitors. It has easy connections to the nearby airport Dalaman, ferries to Rhodes, and on the road to Datca and Fethiye. The harbour has attracted by private boats from around the world, with yacht maintenance and production in the workshops on the Yalanci Strait. With the climate being comfortable even in winter, and the nearby impressive mountains and pine forests, Marmaris is likely to remain a popular and practical holiday spot for a long time.


It is thought that the first settlement in Marmaris, whose history dates back to 3400 BC, began with the arrival of a tribe in to the region, whose leader was called Kar. The area was then called Karla after him, and its location around the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas always made it an appealing region.

Suleyman the Magnificent assembled a force of 200,000 in 1522, whilst launching the siege of the Knights of St John’s base in Rhodes (Rodos). Soon afterwards, he made the city more powerful with the rebuilding of the tiny castle overlooking the town. Lord Nelson and his entire fleet sheltered in the harbour in 1798, en route to Egypt to defeat Napoleon’s armada at the Battle of Aboukir.

Marmaris therefore became a place where different civilisations reigned over time, and there is architectural and historical evidence of Egyptian, Asdur, Ion, Dor, Persian, Macedonian, Syrian, Roman, Byzantium, Seljuk and Ottoman presence.


Summers are extremely hot and dry, with daytime temperature reachs up to 35 degrees, and the winters are warm and wet, plunging to 5 degrees at night. The area is quite typical of a Mediterranean climate.

Marmaris Castle 

Thought to have been constructed by the Ionians, this small castle on the hill was repaired during the time of Alexander the Great. It was widened and repaired again by Suleyman the Magnificent in 1522, during which time his 200,000 troops attacked and seized the island of Rhodes.

The castle opened as a museum in 1991, after restorations that took ten years. It has seven galleries, and has a collection of archaeological, historical, ethnographic and nautical exhibits. The views of the city are wonderful, with a wonderful panorama day and night.

Marmaris Museum

Marmaris Castle is nationalized in 1979, and restored between 1980 and 1990. Marmaris Museum, is facilitated within Marmaris Castle, and opened to visitors officially on 18 May 1991. There are seven galleries within castle, two of these are used as warehouses. One gallery is Archeological pieces of arts hall. Third gallery, which is ethnographic hall is organized as Turk house. Fourth gallery is organized as the room of Castle Commander. There is also an exhibition hall within the museum.


It is possible to see the ruins at Physkos, an important harbour city of the ancient Caria region, on the Asar hill north of Marmaris. The old city walls dating back to the Hellenistic period are still fairly intact. 

Loryma (Bozukkale)

The ruins at Loryma, once part of the foundations of Rhodes, was founded originally in the region known as Oplosica (artillery smith), the waterside thicket on the southwest of the Bozburun peninsula 40km from Marmaris. The most impressive structure in the settlement area is the well-preserved reinforcement at the entrance of the bay at Burunbasi. Nine rectangular towers, made from smooth rock-cut masonry, are built at the edge of Rhodes (Rodos) island. Today, only the balcony tower at the northern end can still be seen.


The ancient ruins of Amos are accessible from the Asarcik hill, northwest of Kumlubuk bay. Amos dates back to the Hellenistic period, and is composed of a hillside amphitheatre, a temple and statue pedestals. Surrounded by ramparts dating back to the same time, this amphitheatre is in good condition, with its seating area, side walls and stage with three chambers. Excavations in 1948 by Prof. Bean revealed four inscriptions, which mentioned three rental contracts, thought to date back to around 200BC. There is a minibus running from Turunc to Kumlubuku which passes through Amos.

Cedrae (Cleopatra or City Islands)

The ancient ruins of Cedrae in the island of Saray, date back to the Hellenistic Roman era. What is known as the City Islands is comprised of Orta Island and Kucuk Island. The remains of the ramparts can be easily seen from the distance.

The island took its name from the rumour that Cleopatra swam with the locals in a small bay at the northwest of the island. Furthermore, she was supposed to have entered the sea with Mark Anthony, the sands of which were transferred from Northern Africa via ships by Anthony – which may be true as this type of sand is only seen in Egypt.

The remains of buildings surrounded by ramparts on the east of Saray island date back from the Roman and Hellenistic period, and the small amphitheatre is in the best condition. The Christian Basilica was constructed over the pedestals of the Apollo Temple, belonging to Dors. There is an Agora on the west of Saray with inscriptions suggesting that athletics festivals devoted to Apollo were organised in the region. There are Necropolis ruins at Kucuk Island, as well as column reliefs.


The rampart ruins dating back to the Hellenistic era lie in Hydas, 35km from Marmaris along the Erine-Bybassios road, with a square planned monument to the south.

There are rampart ruins, remaining from Hellenistic Era in Hydas, 35 km. away from Marmaris on Erine – Bybassios road route, and a square planned monument, at south of these ruins. There are several tombs around a watchtower, 3 km from Hydas. The ancient region of Hydas was founded in the Selimiye bay (Kamisli Bay) north of the Bozburun peninsula.

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Turkey Tour Guide
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