The Marmaris Castle and the Old City

Marmaris is one of the most popular holiday resorts of Turkey. If you are travelling by your own vehicle, when following the road through the pine forests stop and take a break when you

see the sign that reads,”İşte Marmaris” (Viola Marmaris). You will see the town from above. Although there has been a high level of construction in the town over the past 15 years, it still looks beautiful from this vantage point.

Marmaris is one of the rare towns in Turkey where you can swim right in the city centre, despite the increased construction, as environmental and water treatment facilities have been

installed. For those who seek cleaner seas and quieter spots there are boat’s trips that go to other coves or you can get there by land. If you are interested in water sports and nature activities the hotels and travel agencies here provide you with many alternatives.

The most important historical building in the town centre is the castle. The first castle built on this site was constructed by the Ionians, with the present castle see being built by the Ottomans in 1522. It was badly damaged by the shelling of a French battleship in 1914.

The castle was opened to public in the Republican era and 18 houses and a fountain was constructed during this period.

Inside the castle, which was restored in 1980-90, there is now a museum. The entrance of the castle opens right onto a garden. You can get to the top of the walls by staircases going up from either side of the courtyard.

You should have a look at the view from the walls. Two of the indoos areas now house an archaeological display. In both the garden and these rooms there are pieces excavated from throughout this region: amphorae, earthenware pieces, glassware, coins and decorative pieces from digs convey at Knidos, Burgaz and Hisarönü. One of the galleries is set out as an ethnography section of a Turkish house and the other as the room of the castle commander.

Another Ottoman building in the town is the Hafza Sultan Kervansaray. In the inscription written on the building it is stated that the caravanserai was founded in 1545. The caravanserai, which is covered with arches on the top, is right at the entrance of the narrow street that leads to the castle. The seven small domed rooms of the caravanserai today serve as souvenir and gifts shops. The Historic Bazaar in the centre of the town is still functioning as a market-place today.

The only changes are in the people who shop there and the goods available, everything has became tourism oriented.

In the vicinity of Marmaris there are other structures that date from the Ottoman era. These include the İbrahim Ağa Camii (Mosque) in the Kemeraltı district, built in 1789, while the bridge of the Taşhan (Stone Han) and the Kemerli Köprü (Arched Bridge), 10 kilometres down the Muğla road, were built in 1552. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was said to have visited the tomb of Sarıana, famed for her prophecies, which is also in the Kemeraltı district before he started his campaign against the island of Rhodes. As the legend goes, all of the soldiers in the Ottoman army had the milk of the cow of Sarıana for breakfast in the preparation for this campaign.

Marmaris in History

The ancient name of Marmaris was Physkos, and the city was developed as a port for Caria. There is not much of the ancient remains surviving. You can see some of the ruins to the north, on Asartepe Hill. However, these are very limited in number and would only be of

interest to archaeologists. The known history of Marmaris goes back to 900 BC. In the Hellenistic era it was under the rule of the Seleucids for a time and later was controlled by the Romans, Byzantines and, in the 13th century, the Menteşeoğulları. The Ottoman Sultan

Süleyman the Magnificent conquered the city in 1522. From here he launched his successful campaign to capture the island of Rhodes. When initially a part of the Ottoman Empire, Marmaris was called Mimaras, with this later being changed to Mermeris and finally to its

present name. Between 1919 and 1921, Marmaris came under the control of the Italians. Following this, the town, now a part of the Turkish Republic, was the home to fishermen and sponge divers until the 1980s. Other ancient cities that are within the borders of the Marmaris

region are as follow: Amos (Hisarönü-Turunç), Byabassos (Hisarönü), Syma (Bayır Köyü-village), Larymna (Bozburun), Thyssanos (Söğüt), Phoinix (Taşlıca), Loryma (Bozukkale), Kasara (Serçe Limanı-Port), Kedria (Sedir Adası-Island), Euthena and Amnistos (Karacasöğüt). Including Shyskos, all these were Carian cities. However, little remains from these cities, with there being no more than some walls and ruins of castles.

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