Herodotus writes that the city walls were first built in 3000 B.C. There are various theories about the time of construction of the fortress, located on a high point behind the Marmaris marine. One hypothesis is that it was built in 1522 during the Rhodian campaign of Suleiman the Magnificient, where he and his army were billeted. The only written record on the fortress is memoirs of Evliya Çelebi. In the 17th century he travelled around Muğla and recorded that the Sultan ordered the construction of the fortress prior to his campaign to Rhodes and used the building as a base for his army during the battle. In his book of travels, the writer mentions that the fortress was built on the main rock with four bastions, with a stone wall of 400 feet, and that there was an inscription above the entrance gate. He adds that in the interior there were rooms for the warden, imam, administrator and the guards.

Mustapha, son of Celal, another chronographer, in his records of Suleiman's Rhodian campaign, of his stay in Marmaris and the return trip to Istanbul, makes no mention of the fortress.

In the naval records and the map of Piri Reis, the fortress of Marmaris is non-existent. Similarly, Piri Reis does not mention the existence of a fortress in Marmaris in his drawing and notes in the book he wrote in 1494 – 1520 on the subject of fortresses along the Mediterranean.

Another theory is that Suleiman the Magnificient, who succeeded to the throne in 1520, ordered the construction of this fortress upon his return from the Rhodian campaign. At the entrance of the narrow street with steps leading up to the fortress, there is a caravanserai of Hafza Sultan. The fortress has 7 small and one large rooms and at the entrance of the caravanserai there is an inscription dated 1545. This supports the view that the fortress and the caravanserai were built simultaneously and after the campaign.

A major portion of the fortress was destroyed by bombs from a French warship in 1914 during the First World War. The residents of Marmaris lived within the fortress until recently. There are 18 houses, a fountain and a water cistern in the interior of the fortress. Today, a family of turtles and a herd of peacocks live alongside the museum m.

The fortress was restored in 1980-1990 and opened for the public as the Museum of Marmaris in 1991. There is a total of 7 closed halls. The entrance with a cradle vault opens to the interior courtyard, where steps on the right and on the left lead to the city walls. Two of vaulted galleries are used as the archaeological section. In these halls and in the courtyard, some objects collected in the vicinity, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine amphoras, earthen-ware, glass-ware, tips of arrows, coins and ornaments unearthed during excavations at Cnidus, Burgas and Hisarönü are exhibited.

In the ethnographical section, daily life from the late Ottoman period are represented by textiles, carpets, furniture, copper kitchen utensils, arms and ornamental objects. Other halls are used as art gallery, office and storage spaces. The museum is open to the public during the tourism season at 08.30-12.00 and 13.00-17.30 hours daily except on Mondays.


The Marmaris town, surrounded by the sea on three sides, stretches as far as the Datça peninsula in the west, Balaban mountain in the north-east, and Bozburun in the south-west. The interlined shores with numerous bays, islands of various sizes, and the natural grandeur of the forests dipping into blue waters have caused the town to become a major touristic centre. The historical sites in the vicinity add to its attractions.

Surrounded by the sea in the west strategically preferred throughout the history, Marmaris and Datça towns complement each other from the point of view of historical geography and therefore they are treated here as a whole. There are numerous historical traces dating from 5000 B.C. up to the end of the Ottoman rule.


The site is on Asartepe, at Ergöz of the Beldibi Village, 3 km. to the north of Marmaris. Strabon records that Physcus was the harbour of Mylasa. The city walls are erected in line with the slope of the terrain. The foundations are now buried underground or covered with vegetation.


Saranda is located in the east of Sömbeki Bay which is to the south of Söğüt Village, 45 kms. from Marmaris, reached by a winding road. There are ruins of an acropolis with polygonal walls. It was inhabited throughout the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine period.


The site is in the south-west of Marmaris and can be reached from the Hisarönü Village by a stabilized forest path of 3 kms.


It is located on top of Pazarlık Hill at Hisarönü Village. The Temple of Hemithea, in Ionic style and built on a pedestal, is dated back to the 4th century B.C. The Hemithea sanctuary, mentioned by chronographer Diadoros, is further evidenced by an inscription found on the site by Prof.J.Cook. The theatre on the southern slope is in ruins.


The site is on the Asarlık Mountain, on the north-west of Kumlubük Bay near Hisarburnu at the Turunç Village. Vehicles can run quite close to the site. The ruins on top can be reached by an easy climb. The city walls, towers, foundations of various buildings and the theatre are intact.


It is located on the road to Erine, near the Orhaniye Village. The city walls of the city are located in the forest.


It is located near the Söğüt Village, on the north-west of Saranda. Inscriptions indicate that this was a Zeus and Hera cult. There is a stoa used by religious authorities in distribution of sacrificial animals. The inscriptions also reveal that building a fire and driving nails in the stoa were prohibited and the penalty for such crimes was 100 drachms.


The Loryma antique city is on Karaburun, near Bozukkale, Taşlıca. It can be reached by sea as far as the Bozukkale Harbour. From there a walk of more than an hour is required to reach the ruins.

In the 4th century B.C. it was an important centre among the cities on the shore facing Rhodes (The Peraia of Rhodes). It has a large bay. Scientific surveys headed by Dr.Winferd Held, the German archaeologist, have been continuing since 1995.

Loryma is a small city dating back to the 7th century B.C. It is surrounded by city walls built in archaic and classical ages. Above the city walls built during these two periods, the acropolis stands. The narrow and long fortress on the harbour controls the entrance to the bay. The houses at Loryma are on terraces along the slopes. On the plain in the west, there is the Artemis Soteria sanctuary. The necropolis is on the west of the bay, next to the temple, and stretching towards the south. The Apollon sanctuary is on the plain to the south of necropolis.
The Loryma Acropolis was a naval base and a storage place for arms during the Byzantine times. Three churches and many houses were built on the acropolis with reused material from the antique period. The city was deserted following the Arabian invasion in the 7th century A.D.


The settlement is near a dried-up lake of 30 km. in radius, in the south-west of Marmaris, bordering the Loryma harbour city on the south. It can be reached by sea. After arrival at the Bozukkale Harbour, a climb of 2 hours is required to reach the ruins.

In 1995, a scientific research carried out by Dr.Zeynep Kuban and Dr.Turgut Saner revealed the presence of a temple with an altar, a theatre and 5 buildings whose
functions are not yet established. In addition, there are pyramid-shaped tombs with steps, typical of the region, and chamber-tombs covered with vaulted stone blocks. Researches venture that the site may be a meeting place and a cult of groups of cities paying tax to the Attica Marine union, which was thought to be centralized at the Bozburun Peninsula.

Prynos, Hydas, Paradise Islan, Cedreai, Galliopolis, Goat and Full-Moon Island, Euthenna, Bayır, Gebekse and Heathen Flag are other archaeological centres near Marmaris where detailed research in settlements such as Cnidus, Bybossos, Triopion and Burgas, as well as many sites where single buildings such as water cisterns, tombs, fortresses, churches, monasteries, mills and oil mills are in existence.


The site is 2 km. to the north-east of the Datça town.

The Burgaz settlement, first discovered by Bean and Cook, is believed to be the old Cnidus. The excavation work on the site has been going on since 1993, presided by Assistant Prof.Numan Tuna. The site, located in an area of approximately 1400 x 400 meters, is on the seashore. It is an important centre where remains from pre-Hellenistic period are discovered. It is surrounded by city walls. In the shallow waters to the south-west of the city, remains of a fortress and city walls can be seen sunk into the sea. The remains of two harbours date back to the 4th century B.C. which can be seen on the shore.

The excavations revealed that Burgaz was inhabited during the Geometrical period, partially abandoned in the 4th century B.C., although storage and loading activities at the harbour and agrarian life in the interior, as well as the use of necropolis continued thereafter.


Among the above-mentioned antique cities, Cnidus, located on the Tekir cape, at the tip of the Datça Peninsula where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean, is one of the major harbour cities along the Anatolian shores.

It is within the borders of the Yazı Village of Datça, Muğla. The highway from Datça is 35 kms., the last 8 kms. being a stabilized road. Transportation by sea is possible by boat tours and yachts in the touristic season.

During the Persian rule in the region, in 360 B.C., the Cnidians left their settlements and established a new city of Cnidus at the tip of the peninsula, based on the plan of Hippadamos. The city became a member of the antique Rhodian State together with Lindos on the Island of Rhodes, Ialisos, Camiros, the Island of Cos and Halicarnassos. Strabon (XIV 656, 2, 15) writes that Cnidus was built on terraces, reaching up to the acropolis from the shore like an amphitheatre, resembling a 'Dual City', both on the mainland and on the Island. Cnidus, with its flourishing trade and export of wine, later possessed two harbours by joining Cape Crio Island with the mainland by a causeway. In the south of the city there is a trade harbour. The small harbour in the north-east has a corridor-like entrance. In its narrowest point there are two round control towers facing each other. Strabon calls this "Galley Harbour" and states that 20 warships could anchor here.

In the years 1856-1857, Sir Charles T. Newton, and, in 1967-1977 Prof. Dr. Iris Cornelia Love executed excavations at the site, and the history of the city is further enlightened by the archaeological excavations since 1987, presided by Prof. Dr. Ramazan ÖZGAN. Work is continuing on the mainland and on Deve Boynu, i.e. Cape Crio Island.

In the precipice of 70-80 meters to the west of Cape Crio Island, there was no trace of city walls. In the north-west and the north, on the other hand, the walls supported by towers in places go down to the west of the Island in line with the slope of the terrain. On the terraces at the ridge of the Island there are buildings constructed in a row. Their plans, masonry on the walls and the sewerage system, as well as other archaeological findings in the region, indicate that they were built in the second half of the 3rd century and the first half of the second century B.C. and were inhabited, abandoned only after a great fire.

On the mainland, there is a street on an axle, lying in an east-west direction, above and below which there are remains of government buildings, a lower and a higher theatre, the Demeter sanctuary, a small odeon, the Temples of Aphrodite and Corinth, the Roman necropolis, agora, a monument, the Hellenistic stoa, the Temple of Dionysos, a Byzantine church, a bouleterion of the Roman period, a propylon and a street with stepstones. The excavations in the sanctuary, where many cults were represented, unearthed an entrance gate. The propylon has a four-columned courtyard with a gate on the west whose threshold is worn-out due to excessive use.

The most famous of the cult buildings is the round temple where the Cnidian Aphrodite was sheltered.

All artists in the Aegean antiquity attempted to depict Aphrodite, especially the sculptors and painters, because it was their task to embody the concept of divine beauty y.

Pierre Louys relates the story of the statue of Aphrodite in his book entitled "Songs of Bilitis" as follows:

" It was the day of Eleusis feast. Twenty thousand people from all over the Land of Hellen were gathered at the beach. Phryne waded slowly, into the sea. She untied her belt. She even took off her underwear. She let her hair loose and dived into the sea."

Famous sculptor Praxiteles and painter Apelles of Colophone were among the crowd watching the festivities. Both artists had the same thought; this nun was Aphrodite herself; such a divine beauty could not be a mortal. Thus Phryne was the model for two famous objects of art of antiquity whose story is still retold in our present day. One is Apelles' painting entitled Aphrodite Anadiomen, and the other is Praxitelles' sculpture called Aphrodite of Cnidus. The statue is among the most famous works of art created in Anatolia in the fourth century B.C. Lucianos of Samsat describes the Aphrodite of Cnidus as follows:

" We came near the Holy Garden and were intoxicated by the fragrance. The courtyard was green with sweet-smelling trees worthy of Aphrodite. The ever-flowering and fruity myrtle trees sanctified the goddess. Laurels and cypresses... These trees never grow old. They keep sprouting fresh leaves ceaselessly.

We entered the temple. In the middle there stood a very beautiful sculpture of Aphrodite. There was a bashful, timid smile on her lips. Her beauty was not covered except for a spot where her left hand hid with a slight curve. We were bewitched by her beauty."

The Aphrodite of Cnidus, which Lucianos praises so vehemently is not traced yet.

The excavations presided by Prof. Dr. Ramazan ÖZGAN at THA Cnidus antique city has been concentrated in the region of the round temple and the altar on the east, which is thought to have been dedicated to this famous sculpture called the Aphrodite of Cnidus in recent archaeological excavation records. This work is in an effort to interpret the function of these buildings.