For the classical buff, Marmaris offers an awe-inspiring glimpse into antiquity. With a history spanning back over three thousand years, Marmaris (formerly Physkos) is steeped in reminders of the past.


Pamukkale, meaning "Cotton Castle," in Turkish (Hierapolis in Greek) is a beautiful natural wonder about three to four hours from Marmaris. While it sounds a hike, and it is, it is well worth it. Rising up from the surrounding plains, Pamukkale is an extraordinarily white, mineral outcropping on the cliffside. From a distance, it looks like snow, but it is actually travertine, a mineral made out of calcium carbonate, which bubbles up from the hot thermal springs located in Pamukkale. It is a must see. In addition, Pamukkale contains a Byzantine-era church, the ruins of a temple dedicated to Apollo, a Roman-era necropolis with over 1,000 stone sarcophogi and remains of streets built by the Roman emperor Domitian (51-96 AD).

Marmaris Castle & Museum

The Castle at Marmaris has been around, in some form, for over three thousand years. The most recent incarnation, however, was built in 1521 by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Rumor has it that Suleiman ordered the architect to model his design on the Knights Hosteller castle at nearby Rhodes, with whom the Ottomans were at war; when Suleiman returned from conquering Rhodes to see castle, he was reputed to have said, "Mimar as!" or, "Hang the architect!" Thus Marmaris derives its name -- or so the story goes. In any case, you can see the castle, with accompanying museum, in Marmaris.

Marmaris Castle.

Ancient City of Caunos

Caunos, a truly ancient settlement dating back to 3,000 BCE, is the final resting place to the kings of Caunos. Their tombs, carved literally into the rock, are awe-inspiring. The trek is about an hour, however - they are in Dalyan, but it is well worth the trip. See here for more information, including transportation and lodging.