The province where natural beauty and history intertwine: Muğla

With its climate, natural wonders and a historical past that goes back thousands of years, the province of Muğla attracts the attention of everyone who goes there or even hears about it.

And on these autumn days, when tourists want to enjoy not only natural wonders and the sea, but also an interesting journey back in time, many of them head to Muğla’s districts of Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye and Datça, as well as the towns of Ölüdeniz and Dalyan. Tourists can experience the pleasures of the sea and the natural beauty of Muğla while also exploring some of the incredible structures left over from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods here, as well as some ancient ruins around Muğla which are even older.

For tourists heading to this region especially for a historical journey through the area, a favored route is the following:

The Beçin, Bodrum, Keramos and Marmaris castles; the Bodrum Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; the Mars Temple; the Myndos, Knidos, Amos, Telmessos and Caunus city ruins; the Patara, Labranda, Pinara and Stratonikeia ruins; the Lycian rock tombs; the ancient city of Lagina; the Leton Temple and the Bodrum Museum, with its rich collection of treasures found underwater.

The ancient cities of KAUNOS and KAYAKÖY

Boats leave regularly from Dalyan taking tourists to the ancient city of Kaunos. A 10-minute walk from the dock where the boat anchors will bring you to the site of the ancient city’s ruins. Some people visit this site by private yacht, anchoring at Delikli Island and making their way by a little boat to the docks here.

As a port city, Kaunos was historically important in terms of trade. As the sea around it filled with alluvium over time, this city lost its special role as a port city. When the Persians took over Anatolia, the city came under the control of Mausolos. And when Alexander defeated the Persians in 334 B.C., the city was ruled first by Princess Ada, then Antigonos and later still Ptolemaios.

Kayaköy, an ancient village close to Ölüdeniz, has been labeled a World Friendship and Peace Village by UNESCO and attracts a great deal of interest from tourists and photographers from all over the world. Tourists arrive by car and bus and can take guided tours of the historical areas of interest. The history of Kayaköy actually stretches back as far as 3000 B.C., and visitors who come here have the chance to see sarcophagi and tombs that belonged to the Lycian civilization.

In the first nine months of 2008 alone, Kayaköy was visited by nearly 55,000 local and foreign tourists.

The province of Muğla has a 1,100 kilometer Aegean shoreline, which boasts some of the world’s most jagged, uneven coastal features, with all sorts of large and small bays, gulfs, outcroppings, tiny islands, villages and, of course, the ports of Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris and Güllük. Some of its finest landscape is in the Gulf of Gökova: This is a gulf of unparalleled beauty, with forests and fruit orchards that lie just behind the shorelines almost like lace around a piece of fabric. This is one of the most physically beautiful corners of Muğla, with its islands, sand and sea. Also worthy of note is Ölüdeniz: About 15 minutes from Fethiye, the sea is unusually clear here. Yachts are forbidden from entering Ölüdeniz in order to keep its waters as clear as possible. At Babadağ, which features peaks as high as 1,800 meters, you can parachute from the cliffs all seasons of the year.

DALYAN Strait and the İZTUZU Beach

Dalyan, which is located in the district of Ortaca, has an extremely unusual ecosystem thanks to the Dalyan delta, formed as a result of thousands of years of tectonic movement here.

The Dalyan delta is surrounded to its east and west by forested mountains and was formed by the 12-kilometer-long strait that connects Lake Köyceğiz to the sea. This strait is lined by reeds on both sides, making it look like some sort of labyrinth.

The Dalyan Strait reaches the sea at the famous Iztuzu Beach. This beach stretches for five kilometers, and its sands are constantly changing due to the unusual tidal patterns here. This is also a site where the famous Caretta caretta sea turtle lays its eggs seasonally.

Tourists visiting Dalyan also have a chance to see the so-called King’s Cemetery, which is an extension of the ancient city of Kaunos. There are 167 stone tombs located here.

Of course, the phenomenon of yacht tourism is also alive and well in Muğla, as there are 131 villages along the Muğla coastline, each more beautiful than the next.

When it comes to yacht tourism, places like Göcek, Fethiye, Marmaris, Dalaman, Ekincik, Datça, Hisarönü, Gökova and Bodrum all stand out. The three marinas located in Marmaris alone have the moorage to anchor 3,000-4,000 yachts. And the four marinas in Göcek have always at least 1,000 yachts in them, in winter and summer. More than 100,000 yachts and boats make their way in and out of the Bodrum, Marmaris, Yalıkavak, Turgutreis, Fethiye and Göçek marinas every year.

Source: Today’s Zaman

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