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Sanliurfa, Turkey

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Sanliurfa Turkey

Ancient Anatolia, Sanliurfa, urfa, Wonders of the Turkey, Travel to Turkey

Sanliurfa, Turkey

In South Eastern Anatolian region, lies the venerably old towns of Urfa (Sanliurfa). According to both the  Bible and Quran it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine.

Local Muslim legend differs from that of the other great monotheistic faiths by the intervention of one vicious and cruel King Nimrod, who had Abraham launched from a catapult from the city’s citadel to fall into a pile of burning wood.

Happily, God intervened, and turned the fire to water and the faggots to fish, and today, the visitor to the town can visit the mosque complex surrounding Abraham’s Cave and The Pool of Sacred Fish (Balikligöl) around it.

The cruel ruler’s giant slingshot is represented by two Corinthian columns still standing atop the citadel.

This is an Anatolian city which has figured in all the religions of the book. Old Testament prophets such as Jethro (Hz. Suayp), Job (Hz. Eyup), Elijah (Hz. Elyasa) and Abraham (Hz. Ibrahim) lived in this city, which in ancient times known as Edessa, and Moses (Hz. Musa) lived in the region for seven years working as a shepherd before returning to Egypt with his staff.

It was in Sanliurfa that early Christians were first permitted to worship freely, and where the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches and churches to mosques, resulting in a uniquely eclectic architecture.

The city’s history, is far more complex than mere legendary myths. Known to the ancient Greeks as Orrhoe or Osrhoe, the famous Seleucus Nicator of Antioch, first established the capital of his eastern Hellenistic realm here, populating it with Macedonian veterans who preferred to call it Edessa, after their native province.

Urfa remained an important garrison town into Roman times, and was one of the first centers of the early church, but one given over to the monophysite heresy.

It was at Edessa that the great scientific works of late antiquity were translated, with commentaries, into Syriac/Aramaic, from whence they made their way into Arabic after the Muslim conquest, only to find their way back to the west following the re-conquest of the city by the Byzantines and then the Crusaders.

Under Baldwin I it became the first of several Crusader states in the Middle East. The city was finally sacked by the Kurdish Zengi dynasty in 1146. Following the standard Mongol conquest of the Middle East, ancient Edessa disappeared from history in the 13th century, reemerging only in the present century.

Thanks for its survival should go to the local population who brilliantly resisted French attempts to include it in greater Syria during Ottoman period. Like many of the other towns which offered resistance at the time of War of Liberation, Urfa has received the honorific “Sanli” (Honored) to append to its name.


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Today, Urfa is a surprising mix of the old and new, with Turkish, Arab and Kurdish peasants who come from the countryside haggling in the traditional bazaar, while young technocrats and engineers hustle between offices and shops lining the modern downtown section.

A city of some 1,523,000 (as of 2007), Urfa is earmarked to be one of Turkey’s largest metropolitan areas after the nearby Ataturk Dam 75 km (50 mi) north of town came on-stream in the 1990s, and has the highest growth rate of population in the 2000s (1,000,000 in 1990).

Already the city has the single highest growth rate in the country, with many indigent farmers and absentee landlords from the nearby Harran plain returning with the promise of making the city the center of Turkey’s new Fertile Crescent.

Restaurants are packed with locals and foreigners dining on the famed Urfa kebab of Turkish Cuisine and other delights of the area.

The province of Urfa covers the plateau which connects Anatolian peninsula to the Arabian peninsula and has a surface area of 18,584 square kilometers. Its population as the beginning of 2008 is 1,523,099.

The province has 10 districts (Akcakale, Birecik, Bozova, Ceylanpinar, Halfeti, Harran, Hilvan, Siverek, Suruc and Viransehir) and 772 villages (köy in Turkish).

The economy of the province depends upon agriculture and animal husbandry. Its cultivable land is used mostly to grow cereals. Wheat is the main crop followed by barley and lentil. There is also chickpea farming and pistachio culture.

Its industrial crops are cotton and sesame. Upon the completion of GAP, weight will be given to textiles and dress making. Also, the number and capacity of enterprises producing feed and vegetable oil will be enhanced to meet demands from domestic and external markets.

Sanliurfa Fortress is on the northern slope of  Damlacik mountain to the south of the city. The citadel built by the Romans was later enlarged. The citadel has 25 watchtowers. It has remains from the Byzantine and Islamic times.

The walls were built in 812 AD by the Christians to defend the city against Arab raids. The outer fortress was enlarged and restored by the Crusaders. The palaces of Molla, Gezer Pasha and Mehmet Pasha known to exist between the citadel and the outer fortress could not survive to our times.

Tek Tek mountains are located about 45 km east of the city to the direction of Viransehir. The area became a national park in 2007 and has several caves and ancient sites to visit.

At a distance of 73 kilometers to Sanliurfa, there is Sogmatar ancient city which is known as “Yagmurlu” today. It was settled by the Syriac in the first and second centuries AD.

Sogmatar was the culture centre of Sabiism which had its origin in Harran Sin culture and Marilaha the supreme god. Important remains include an open air temple where planets and the supreme god were worshipped and sacrifices were made.

Walls of the temple have inscriptions in Syriac and relief describing planets. These also exist on the surface of rocks standing on a hill to the west of the fortress.

The city of Suayb consists of historical ruins standing in Ozkent village at a distance of 88 kilometers to Sanliurfa. Extending over a large area, the city dates back to the time of the Romans and once surrounded by walls.

People believe that the holy Suayb lived here. There is also a cave visited by people as the quarters of Suayb.

Nevali Cori ancient settlement is near Kantara village of Hilvan, on the right bank of the Euphrates (Firat) river. The remains are located on a calcareous hill and cover an area 100 meters long and 50 meters wide, bordered by two brooks.

The ancient settlement reflects the historical period in which settled life was starting and people were hunting while they tried to domesticate plants and animals. Existence of many stone structures that could have been used as storage, cult structure and pieces of art all indicate that Nevali Cori used to be a central settlement of these times.

Lately, one of the most important archaeological sites nearby Urfa is Gobeklitepe which changed everything we knew about the Stone Age people.


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The settlement of Kazane (Ugurcuk) near Sanliurfa has a history dating back to 5000-3000 BC. To put it more correctly, findings belong to the Calcolitic age which correspond to these dates.

The excavation of the tumulus was conducted in 1992 by a team headed by Adnan Misir, the Director of the Museum. The excavation work was financed by voluntary organizations from US and participated by Dr. Patrick Wattenmarker from the University of Pennsylvania.

Excavations revealed architectural pieces, houses, streets and other articles which are exhibited at the museum. There is a water storage at the top of the tumulus. Another finding is an alphabet which translates the Sumerian language into Akad language. This alphabet was purchased from a farmer and it is now in Ankara.

International Herald Tribune spared a wide space to Kazana in its issue dated 11 November 1993. In his article John Noble Wilford wrote: ” The ancient city recently explored in Turkey and interesting clay tablets carries the origin of ancient civilizations and script far beyond the Sumerian city states of Southern Mesopotamia.

Archaeologists state that these explorations were the most exciting of all those taking place in Mesopotamia and they are quite confident that new excavations to be conducted in the same area will answer one of the most important puzzles of the science of archaeology”.

South of Urfa, the landscape once more flattens into the Mesopotamian plain, broken only by the ancient mounds and obscure, mud brick villages. All of the villages are connected to electrical grids, and, with the prospect of greater wealth thanks to irrigation, many locals are investing in such “luxury” objects as refrigerators and televisions.

Here lies a part of  Turkey experiencing extremely rapid change, especially as it was formerly one of  the poorest and least developed of any area in the country.

Some nine miles (15 km) off the main tarmac road leading to Syria, turn left and ask for Sultantepe, apparently a major site in ancient Carrhae, where tablets inscribed with the legends of Gilgameth (Gilgamis) have been unearthed.

Farther down the dirt road are the ruins of Sumurtar, a large mound with a labyrinth of passages and underground chambers used by the Sabians, worshippers of the sun, moon and planets.

The grottos were clearly used for ceremonial purposes; some seem to have been later converted into subterranean mosques replete with mihrab facing the direction of Mecca.

Back toward the main road is the village of Harran itself, with its beehive-like dwellings. Here was the site of the Temple of Sin (known also as the first university), famous throughout the ancient world for its star readers and savants.

It was in Harran where Rebecca drew water for Jacob, from whence Abraham decided to make his move into the land of Canaan. This was also where the Roman Emperor Crassus was defeated by the Parthians, with the Legion standards captured and brought back to Ctesiphon to the undying shame of the Romans; Crassus himself reportedly died by having liquid gold poured down his mouth.

Later, the Emperor Julian the Apostate worshipped the moon here on the way to his fateful encounter with Shapur I farther east. Harran was also the last hold out of the Sabians, the pagans who had managed to survive through to the 11th century.

Standing atop the ruins of the ancient citadel, one overlooks the scattered bits of rock and material – history stretching back to the very dawn of time: the very potsherds crunching underfoot have an immediacy here, the broken vessels having surely been used by some long forgotten ancestor from the land of Ur, an acquaintance of Abraham, or a Roman legionnaire from Gaul, whose memory now swirls with the dust devils across the oblate horizon.

Traditions of  Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa is a city of  ancient traditions, old friendships and mystical associations. One of  these traditions is gatherings known as ‘Sira Geceleri’, which bring together people sharing the same pleasures, world views and ideas.

The friendships formed there are even stronger than the ties between old school or army friends. Such gatherings take place in one another’s houses or in rooms hired for the occasion.

The name means literally ‘nights by turns’, since the members of the group take it in turns to host these events, which have a ceremonial character and are based on a sense of fraternity.

When the French occupied Sanliurfa after the First World War, the seeds of resistance were supposedly sown at sira geceleri held by the Group of 12, consisting of members of such leading families of the city as the Bozanogullari and Gullulogullari.

Other traditional activities such as country excursions take place in a similar communal spirit of friendship, with each family contributing different and special home cooked dishes from the famous regional cuisine.

Many more customs and traditions make up the rich cultural fabric of the city. In no other Turkish city today do shopkeepers begin the day with a communal prayer wishing their neighbors a prosperous day’s trading as they did for centuries, but in Sanliurfa this tradition is still kept alive by the tradesmen of the carpet bedesten (exchange) in Sipahi Pazari.

This ancient ceremony and religious ritual in the colorful surroundings of the bedesten is a moving sight.


A tradition taken over from the past, tattoos are common in Harran and Suruc. It is an art of ornamenting human face and skin mainly for bringing luck to small children.

Most common figures include animals of wild life, daily life articles, weapons and numerical figures. The paint used for tattooing is obtained from plants and applied under the skin with needles.

Paint is used abundantly to prevent disappearance as one ages. As cultures open themselves to the outer world, these kinds of traditions gradually disappear. For example, men give up having tattoos.

Urfa Turkey

Sanliurfa, Turkey Culture, Turkey Cities, Turkey Cuisine, Ancient Turkey Photos, Ottoman Cuisine

Some of the nomadic tribes are those coming to the region from other places. These tribes spend their summer on the highlands of Eastern Anatolia and come down to the GAP region in winter.

Once used to move on foot or on horseback, these tribes now use motor vehicles. Some tribes living in Karacadag area lead a nomadic life because of natural conditions. They go up to Karacadag in summer and move down to the plains of Siverek, Viransehir, Sanliurfa and Diyarbakir in winter.

Bazaars of Sanliurfa
The old trading centre of Sanliurfa dating back to Ottoman times concentrate around Gumruk Inn. Kazzaz Bazaar which was build in 1562 is one of the few which could preserve its authentic values.

Inside the bazaar, shops one meter (three feet) high from the ground are located on both sides of the inner passage. The Kazzaz shopkeepers sell local male and female dresses.

Sipahi bazaar also preserves its identity and sells such goods as carpet, kilims and felt. Huseyniye bazaars each of which are covered by 15 cross vaults have been allocated to the coppersmith.


Turkey Bazaar, Sanliurfa, Wonders Of Turkey, Turkey Museums, Turkey Map

Handicrafts in Sanliurfa
Felt making, tannery, stone working, weaving, woodworks, copper works, saddle making, fur making and jewelry works are the leading handicrafts of Sanliurfa enjoying a long tradition.

Felt making is being practiced for centuries now in the bazaar known by the same name. It has various styles of embroidery including acem, dal, pul, gobek, somun, kantarma, armut and sandik.

What is locally called as kurk (fur) is a loose straight collar over cloth made of the skin of sheep dying earlier than a month.

There is no other place in Anatolia engaged in such work. Having a long history, this specific activity takes place in Kurkcu Bazaar.

In Sanliurfa, the products of culhacilik (weaving) include yamsah (female head scarf), posu (male head scarf) and ihram (female over cloth) made by using wool, cotton or silk yarns. Practiced in many looms 30-40 years ago, the trade has now lost its importance leaving behind only 5-6 artisans.

Kazzazlik means hand spinning of silk thread. Similar to culhacilik, this art is now carried on by few masters.

Kelaynak (Bold ibis) Birds
These birds are on the verge of extinction and can bee seen only in the Birecik District of Sanliurfa. Coming from the Ibidae family, these birds are given the prefix “bold” for their featherless heads and necks.

Also visible in Morocco and Algeria, kelaynak birds fly to Ethiopia and Madagascar in winter and return to Birecik starting from mid-February. They nest in rocks and mate here to leave in mid-July. Since 1984, an annual festival takes place each year on 12 April for these birds.

Sanliurfa Turkey

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Described in the legend of the most special place in Urfa, which has undoubtedly Hz. The story of Abraham cast into the fire. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three monotheist religions and the religions recognized by the Holy Prophet mentioned in the book.

Is claimed that Abraham was born in Urfa. This is the story of the birth of King Nimrod of the region with the Prophet. Abraham passes between.

According to legend the king in the stars and the idolatry of a man he will fight to see a sign of foreboding.

This man Hz. Abraham is. Nimrod’s idolatry not only in the uprising but also to the daughter Zeliha has grabbed the hearts.

In this case, the Prophet against the king. Abraham is ordered to be burned. Today, the location of Fish Lake can be seen all over the city’s size is a fire.

Built against the hill to the fire that falls between two massive columns with catapults Abraham is thrown into the fire. Fire wood, but the fish turns into a lake.

That day is here today, the lake is considered sacred. Just like the fish in the lake is also sacred, each of whom place the fish if it is believed to be blind. Since then, the lake is the name of Halil-ur Rahman. “He’s friendly,” meaning the name Prophet.

Reflects the sanctity of Abraham. Today, Fish Lake and Lake Halil-ur Rahman is known as both. Nimrod’s daughter Zeliha weeping for Abraham’s tears than the Fish Lake comprises of a small lake next to the name of this lake, “Zeliha’s eye”, meaning “same-Zeliha” is. Today, both across the lake on the hill is believed to have been used as a catapult two columns still standing.

According to beliefs at the bottom of this column is one of “endless water” at the bottom of one of the “unending gold” is found in one wash and one down below is Urfa Urfa is as valuable as gold to be buried in the city of water.

By the side of the lake and fish the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty States Eyyubi’nin nephew of Salaheddin by Malik Ashraf Khalil-ur Rahman, the mosque was built in 1211 that the lake’s natural beauty adds to the architectural aesthetics.

Mylasa ( Milas ), Mugla

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milas tomb mugla

Milas tomb, history of mylasa, mosque, mylasa

Stephanos Byzantinos writes in his Ethica that Mylasa was named after Mylasus, son of Chrysaor, the grandchild of Sisyphus and Aelos. The ancient Greeks regarded the Carians as the oldest habitants in the Aegean region, together with the Lelegs and Plasgs.

In the epics of Homeros, thStephanos Byzantinos writes in his Ethica that Mylasa was named after Mylasus, son of Chrysaor, the grandchild of Sisyphus and Aelos. The ancient Greeks regarded the Carians as the oldest habitants in the Aegean region, together with the Lelegs and Plasgs. In the epics of Homeros, the Carians and the Lelegs are mentioned as being of Asian origin, having fought in alliance with Priamos, the Trojan king.

Herodotus, the historian from Halicarnassus, mentions three novelties in the outfits of battle attires. First of all, the shields which hitherto were wrapped around the neck and the left shoulder with leather straps, were slipped to the arm to allow for freedom of movement. Secondly, the exterior of the shields was ornamented with paintings, and, thirdly, the helmets had plumes. The name Caria is derived from the plume on the helmet worn in battles. Strabon states that the root of the word Caria lies in describing a plumed helmet.

Mylasa took part in the Ionian rebellion and the Persian Wars in the fifth century B.C. In 446 B.C., following the Berymidon Battle, Mylasa joined the Attica-Delos Naval Confederacy. In 334 B.C. Alexander the Great, in his campaign in Asia, conquered south-western Anatolia, as well as Mylasa, but later gave this territory to Ada, the Carian queen. In 189 B.C. Antiochus III, the King of Syria, was defeated by the Romans and had to leave many of the Carian cities, excepting Mylasa, to Rhodians.

In 143 B.C. Mylasa was appointed by the Roman Emperor Macmilius to act as adjudicator in a dispute and thus became the seat of conventus, where the Roman governors presided the assizes. The last king of Pergamum, Attalos III, donated Mylasa to Rome in 129 B.C., and the city was reigned by Roman rulers. In Byzantine times, Mylasa was a bishopric centre. In the 13th century it was dominated by the Turks and became the administrative centre of Menteşe Gulları in 1392.

With the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, it became a township of Muğla.


This monument is estimated to have been founded in the second century A.D. It has a rectangular grave chamber with a wall of broad-and-narrow masonry, containing four pillars supporting the floor of the upper story. The upper story is supported by an open colonnade, with a square pilaster at each corner and two partially fluted oval columns on each of the four sides.

The monument is erected on a crepis with two steps. The roof is formed of five layers of blocks, with each block placed diagonally across the angles of the one below, to form a shallow pyramid. There is a hole on the floor of the upper story, presumably to pour wine down to the deceased lying below.


This was built towards the end of the first century A.D. The decoration of the piers consist of a row of flutes surmounting a row of palmets. It takes its name from the double axe relief on the keystone of the arch on the outer side.


Mylasa Mugla

Zeus, Zeus Carius, Zeus Carius Temple, History of Mylasa, Mylasa

The temple is on a podium, 3.5 m. in height, on the hill to the west of Hisarbaşı district. It has a single column called Uzunyuva.


The aqueducts in two levels along the plains in the east of Mylasa are dated to the early Byzantine period. In their construction, antique architectural pieces were reused.


Entrance to the Milas houses is generally through a small or large interior courtyard. The gate to the courtyard is either on the side or below the houses lining the street. The houses are in two stories with the upper rooms overhanging the street. The wooden supports of these overhangings are plain in modest houses. In buildings from the second half of the 19th century, these supports were connected with lath and plaster workmanship known as the Baghdad technique. Most of the houses face an open hall or courtyard named “önlük”. The first floor is usually for storage. The stone paved space in front called “taşlık” is below the hall.

The kitchen, toilette and stables are in a separate corner of the courtyard. Generally an antique marble stairway leads to the second story. There are also stairways with wooden steps laid on marble blocks. On the other hand, some houses are built with the influence of European architects who came to the region shortly after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic. The latter, in contrast to typical Milas houses, were built as enclosures. They are generally on two levels where there is a living room in the centre which opens to the other rooms on the sides. The kitchen and toilette in these are within the houses.


It is at Hisarbaşı district, built in 1719-1720 (H.1132). It was donated in 1738 to the medresse (theological school) built near the Agha Mosque by Abdülaziz Agha. The caravanserai is in two stories and rectangular in shape. The lower floor has arches supporting the upper story, which are somewhat broken. In the construction, plenty of stone and rubbles from previous buildings were reused. The lower floor consists of open spaces to tie up animals, which is typical of the Ottoman inns. This space is supported by columns on which the porch of the upper floor is erected. The roof is covered with grooved tiles. The building reflects the original architectural pattern on a large scale.


The mosque was built in 1330 (H.730) in the central Hacı Ilyas district of Milas during the Menteşeoğulları regime, by Şucaaddin Orhan Beg. There is a single praying room with three sections in front for congregation. The dome and the roof are covered with grooved tiles. ULU MOSQUE It was built in 1378 (H.780) in the Hocabedreddin district. It is the largest mosque in Milas. The side walls are supported with huge pillars. A lot of the material is reused. The mosque is divided into three courtyards in the south by two rows of pillars. The first pillar on the left is octagonal while the rest are suare-shaped. The courtyards on the right and at the centre have gables and the left one has a diagonal vault. The vaults are connected to the walls by arches while the gable on the right is erected on short supports. In the middle one, in front of the praying niche, there is a dome covered with lead on the outside.

The way the vaults are tied in to the dome is a good example of transition from roofs to vaults and from vaults to domes. The roof is covered with pleated tiles.


It is in the central Firuzpaşa district and was built in 1394 (H.787) by Hodja Firuz Beg. It is in reverse “T” shape and has a courtyard for congregation. There are medresse rooms in the garden. Its popular name is Kurşunlu Mosque as the dome is covered with lead. The entrance portal, the courtyard for congregation, the arches, and the space between the arches, the praying niche and the pulpit all exhibit very refined stone masonry.

Red and white stones are used at the entrance portal and above the windows. The pulpit is ornamented with decoration and prayers from the Koran, written in refined calligraphy in Arabic alphabet. On both sides there are revolving columns. The dome is decorated with chisel work.


Assumed to be built in the 14th century, it is on the Hısarbaşı hill in the centre of the town. It resembles the Ulu Mosque. Two rows of three pillars each divide the three courtyards. the main entrance is from the north and there is a smaller entrance in the west. The walls are made of bricks and stone, and it has a wooden roof. The minaret was built in 1811 by Ömer Agha, son of Abdülfettah. AGHA MOSQUE It was built in 1737 in Hacıaptı district by Abdulaziz Agha.

It is rectangular in shape. With the courtyard for congregation and pleated roof, it is simple in design. The minaret was built in 1885, by order of Lady Refia, mother of Mehmet Beg, descendant of Abdulaziz Agha. The medresse, built at the same time, is no longer in existence.


The Museum of Milas was originally inaugurated in 1983 by the transfer of some objects from the Underwater Archaeological Museum of Bodrum, with the approval of the Ministry, as well as by compilation of works of art unearthed in excavations in the vicinity. It was opened for public on 4 April, 1987. In the garden, marble objects found in salvage and foundation excavations and during surface researches are exhibited. In the interior exhibition hall, potteries, glassware, brass and golden objects, marble heads and busts, in chronological order, dating from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period are presented for public view.


Beçin is a medieval city situated on the slope of a plateau, rising steeply to a height of 200 meters, 5 km. to the south of Milas. It was founded during the Menteşeoğulları reign and was not a significant centre in the ancient and the Byzantine periods. However, the walls of the Beçin fortress were constructed with reused material from ruins dating back to antique ages. The wall on the right of the interior gate of the fortress is erected on the marble crepis with six steps of a temple. The name of the city is recorded as “Pezona” in medieval Italian sources, as “Barçın” in Turkish and Islamic texts and as “Peçin” in later scriptures. The present-day pronunciation is Beçin. In Evliya Çelebi’s travels during the 17th century, Bevin was a town under the jurisdiction of Milas, with 20 houses built within the fortress. There were warden and 20 guards at the fortress which was then used as a prison.

The Beçin site is comprised of a fortress over a round, steep rock on the slope of the plateau and of a settlement surrounded by a 1.5 m. thick city wall at the south of the fortress. There is a single entrance in the south to the fortress which is surrounded by steep rocky slopes on all the other three sides. The entrance is defended by a high tower and double walls which are partially demolished. Evliya Çelebi mentions a trench of 10 fathoms, which is now filled with earth, and a bridge over the trench with springs.

The hidden stairway leading to the caves in the west of the fortress is also buried underground today. The region was under Turkish jurisdiction in the second half of the 13th century. Menteşe oğulları made Milas their capital at first and then moved the government offices to Beçin which was easier to defend. Beçin remained the capital throughout the rule of Tacettin Ahmet Ghazi. Upon his death, the region was conquered by Beyazid I (the Thunderbolt) when the principal was moved to Balat (Milet). Of the city, the remains of the interior fortress facing the Milas plains, the city walls of the outer fortress and of the buildings at Kepez and Siğmen have persevered to our day.


The medresse, which was built by Ahmet Ghazi in 1375 (H.777), according to the inscription above the gate, is the best preserved building in the city. There is a courtyard, 9.10 x 12.50 m. in dimension, surrounded by ten rooms. Entrance is through the monumental gate in the south of an exedra built in Gothic style. Opposite the gate is the grave of AHMET Ghazi, covered with a high dome. The grave opens to the courtyard of the medresse by a pointed arch, recalling Gothic architecture. On the outer corners of the arch, there are two reliefs of lions holding flags. The name of Ahmet Ghazi appears on the right-hand flag.

The small, arched gate in the north opens to the exterior of the medresse. The identity of the second grave, resembling that of Ahmet Ghazi, has not yet been certified. The rooms of the medresse are covered with cradled vaults. They are dark and small.

Each room has a fireplace, with two or three cupboards. The roofs are covered with earth and made into porches. On both sides, corridors and stairways lead up to the porches. Above the large rooms both on the left and on the right, there were rooms on the second floor which are now extinct. The dome of the grave is covered with tiles. The façade of the medresse, the eastern wall, 6 meters of the western wall, the interior walls facing the courtyard, the corridors and the interior of the gates are paved with sandstones.

Half of the western wall on the north and the rooms are neither paved nor plastered. At a later date, next to the outer door of the room in the east, a small, arched fountain was constructed with two lion reliefs on the panel. The square marble in the middle of the courtyard indicates the presence of a fountain for ablution.

labranda milas mugla

Labranda, Zeus, history of mylasa, zeus temple


The city walls, enforced with two round towers on the east and the west, surround quite a wide terrain. The second preserved building within the walls is the large Public Bath located between the fortress and the Ahmet Ghazi Mosque. Evliya Çelebi mentions having witnessed the construction of Orhan Beg Mosque, built by Ibni Batuta in the 14th century. The mosque is completely demolished, but the foundations and the marble gate are standing. Of the two square tombs to the east of this mosque, the dome of one has collapsed. Further east, there is a building in quite good shape called Kızılhan, with a cradle vault on the first floor, the upper story covered with three domes and the stairway on the outside facing west.


Outside the city walls, in the south, there is a large courtyard (Emir Havlusu) used as a market place at the time; the Karapaşa Caravanserai covered with three cradle vaults, and a smaller vaulted building which is thought to be another caravanserai. The necropolis is immediately to the east of the city walls and extends through the maquis to the Kepez district which is separated from the city by a small river called Kara Ahmet. The marble grave stones, some of which were carted to the Ahmet Ghazi Medresse, represent distinguished samples of the Turkish art of the 14th and 15th centuries. At the Kepez district, 15 minutes to the east of the city walls, there is a group of buildings. Of these, the Yelli Mosque is a small one with a single dome whose courtyard for congregation is covered with two diagonal vaults. To the west, a public bath with a collapsed roof, and, in the east, a demolished medresse resembling that of Ahmet Ghazi, and, at a little distance a marble pond, 7.75×10.30 m. in size, catch the eye.

The Beçin excavations were started by Prof. Dr. Oluş ARIK in the 1970 and since 1995 are carried out by the Directorate of the Milas Museum in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Rahmi Hüseyin ÜNAL and his team. EUROMOS Euromos is located on the Izmir highway, 10 km. from Milas, and was the most important city in the ancient times after Mylasa. The name of the city was ‘Cyramos’ or ‘Hyramos’ in the 5th century B.C. The Greek form “Euromos” meaning “strong” is likely to be adopted as the policy of Hellenization by Mausolus. From an inscription we learn that Euromus had a disagreement with its northern neighbour Heracleia, which raided the territory of Euromus and carried off sacred and private property.

A Euroman citizen who had suffered in this way applied to the authorities in Mylasa, who thereupon sent an ambassador to Herecleia to solve the dispute. Although the city is in ruins, the Temple of Zeus at Euromus is among the half dozen best preserved monuments in Asia. It is in the Corinthian order and dates from the second century A.D. It has 6 columns on architrave and 9 columns on the sides.

The three columns on the north side and the one at the south-western corner are unfluted, probably because the decoration work was left unfinished. Most of the columns facing north and west have panels with a dedicatory inscription. Five were presented by physican and magistrate Menecrates and his daughter Tryphaena, and seven by Leo Quintos, another magistrate. The large but quite demolished theatre is in a recess in the hillside a little above the plain. Five rows of seats are best preserved in the north.

The agora on the flat ground is surrounded by a stoa with some of the columns still standing. Further west there is another stoa.On one of its pillars there is a long inscription recording the financial assistance of a certain Callisthenes to the city and his alliance with Iassos. At and around the Temple of Zeus, excavation and restoration work was started by Prof. Dr. Ümit SERDAR OĞLU in the 1970s but were not continued.


Labranda, which was the sanctuary for Zeus Labrandos, is 14 km. north-west of Milas. The earliest ruins are from the 6th century B.C. In 6th and 5th centuries, the sanctuary was a small, artificially levelled plain used as the terrace of the temple. In 497 a battle took place in the sanctuary and the Carian army, together with its Miletian allies, was defeated by the Persians. The 4th century B.C. is when the temple gained prominence. During the reign of Mausolus (377-352) and Idrieus (351-344) as satraps, its appearance was enhanced. In 355, during an annual sacrificial feast, Mausolus was saved from an assassination attempt at the last minute.

To celebrate his narrow escape, a number of artificial terraces, a small Doric Building, a monumental stairway and two large halls of feast (Androns), a building with a porch (Oikoi), a stoa and a colonnated Temple of Zeus were erected. Upon the death of Idrieus in 344, all the constructional work ceased. Following a great fire in the 4th century B.C., the sanctuary was no longer used as a centre of cult. From Mylasa, an 8 m. wide Sacred Way leads to the sanctuary in Labranda. The pavements of this road are still discernible. There are two entrance gates to the courtyard. The one named the Doric building is an irregular rectangle and is immediately to the east of the southern propylon.

labranda milas

Zeus, Zeus Temple, Milas, Mylasa, History of Mylasa, Labranda

It faces north; has four columns with a front yard and a marble façade, and is Doric in style. During the Roman period, this building was added to the bath complex. The propylon displays refined masonry and is surrounded by a wall opening to long rooms by four wide passageways. The rooms are either for storage of goods or for treasury. It is part of a large complex. This building joins another one which is higher in the east, with four square rooms and a porch used for sacred feasts. A stairway, 12 m. wide, reaches the terrace in the centre. Here the Andron of Mausolus (Andron B) stands. This is the first building constructed by the descendants of Hecatomnos. With the square cella and the wide, rectangular niche, it resembles a temple.

In this niche, the statues of Mausolos, his wife and sister Artemisia and perhaps Zeus may have been standing. The Temple of Zeus on the uppermost terrace faces east. Its first phase is dated to the 4th century B.C. In the second phase, a row of columns, 6 in front and 8 on the sides, as well as a second building behind the cella (Opisthodomos) were added to align with the dimensions of the cella. The colonnaded temple was sanctified by Idrieus. Its details and general appearance resemble the Temple of Athena in Priene, which indicates that both were built by architect Pytheos. The Andron of Idrieus (Andron A) is in the south-west of this temple.

It is the best preserved building in the settlement. The south wall is 7.9 m. high from the ground. Its plan is similar to that of the Andron of Mausolus. Within the cella, traces are visible of low, plastered stone seats which were used during the sacred feasts. In the niche on the back wall, statues of Idrieus, his sister and wife Ada and Zeus stood. Oikoi is made up of two rectangular rooms of varying sizes behind the porch with four Doric columns, between the antes.

The roof of this building is a combination of Doric and Ionian styles. It may have been used both as an archive building of the sanctuary and as offices for the priests and for sacred feasts. There is a steep climb to the north of sanctuary. On the southern slope there is a tomb, 15 m. in length above the temple. The grave chamber and the entrance are vaulted. The granite roof is in Doric style. Two hundred meters to the west of the sanctuary, there is a stadium with a supporting wall on the back. At each end, the departure and the arrival signposts in stone are still discernible.

During the five-day festivals at the sanctuary, races must have been organized at this spot. The excavations at Labranda were started in 1948 by A.W. Persson from the Uppsala University in Sweden and are still under way, presided by P. Hellström.

euromos mylasa

Temples, Asia Minor, Roman Temple of Zeus Lepsynos, history of mylasa


The antique city of Heracleia may be reached by a road branching off at Çamiçi district on the Milas-Söke highway.The city is in the Kapkırı village and is 39 km. from Milas. In the antique period the city reached out to the Latmos Bay which was an extension of the Aegean Sea. However, due to alluvions from the Meander River, the bay is the Bafa Lake today. The city is named after the famous epic hero, Heraclitos. It was called Latmos in the 8th century B.C. and was seized by the Carian satrap Mausolus, during the Persian reign. It fell into the hands of Alexander during his Asian campaign and was later dominated by Seleucos.

Being cut off from the sea in the first century B.C., Heracleia lost some of its prominence. However, due to its inaccessibility, it became a hiding place for Christian hermits. The antique city, situated on a very rough and rocky terrain, was surrounded by city walls 6.5 km. long, supported by 65 towers. The walls, made of smooth rectangular and square stones, were built during the Hellenistic period. Heracleia, based on the city plan of Hippodoamos, is a good example of gridiron patches and streets vertically cris-crossing one another.

The Temple of Athena on the bluff behind the harbour is one of the best preserved buildings on the site. It is in Antis style with two Hellenistic columns. The agora to the east of the temple is on two levels, with only the first level still standing. The shops and the inns in the agora are still discernible. The walls on the south are in good masonry. They are rectangular, surrounded by porticos. The U-shaped building on the east of the agora is the bouleterion. The north-eastern walls are quite intact. The theatre is in the north-east of the city. The walls of the stagebuilding and the seats in the first cavea are discernible. Along the road to the shore and to the island, the apsidal cella and the pronao of the Endymion sanctuary can be viewed. According to mythology, Selene, the Moon Goddess, fell in love with the handsome shepherd on the Latmos Mountain and put him to eternal sleep.

On the islands in the Bafa Lake and among the rocks on Latmos Mountain, there are various monasteries. The priests arriving from the Sina peninsula and Greece founded the first monastery here in the 7th century A.D. Thirteen monasteries have been built in this area, the most famous ones being Yediler, Stylos, Soteros, Menet Island, İkizce Islands, Kahve Asar Island. During the Byzantine period, a tower was built along the Bafa Lake to protect the monasteries. In addition to the monasteries, there are numerous caves or trial units around where the monks led their solitary lives. Those closer to the monasteries are decorated with rich frescos. The designs on the walls and the ceilings depict scenes from the life of Christ, Virgin Mary and various saintsThe surface research on the Heracleia antique city is carried out annually by German scientist Annelisa Pesclow.


Iassos is located on a peninsula, surrounded by sea on three sides, within the Kıyıkışlacık village, 28 km. from Milas. According to mythology, it was set up by Pelopolonnesians arriving from Argos, in the 5th century B.C. and was named after Iassos, heading the colonizers. The city’s name does not appear in the records prior to the beginning of this century. The city was originally founded or an island which, with the filling up of the isthmus, became a peninsula. The major buildings of the city are located on the peninsula. The large city walls, aqueducts, necropolis and the building called the fish market are outside the walls.

The excavations revealed that the earliest settlement in Iassos date back to the end of 3000 B.C. Once a musician visiting the city gave a recital at the theatre. During the concert, a bell rang, announcing the opening of the fish market. Everybody rose up and departed except for an old man cupping his ear with his hand. The musician approached him and said, “Thank you for appreciating me and my music; for everyone else rushed out when they heard the bell “. ” what?” shouted the old man, ” Did the bell ring ?” ” Yes, why?”. ” By your leave, sir” said the old man and ran out. Strabo relates this story to emphasize how essential the sea food was in Iassos, as the soil was barren and bore no fruit.

When Alexander besieged Miletos in 334, Iassos donated a ship to the Persian navy which came to their aid. Ten years later, in Ecbatana, an Iasian named Gorgos was the armoury commander of Alexander. Another Iasian favoured by Alexander was a boy who had the curious fortune of being loved by a dolphin. It was a tradition in Iassos to bathe in the sea after exercising at the gymnasium. A dolphin would wade ashore, carry this boy away on its back and then return him safely. Alexander, hearing of this, summoned the boy to Babylon and made him a priest to Poseidon, the Sea God. The Iasians were highly influenced by this tale and in their mints of the third century B.C., the coinage shows a boy swimming beside a dolphin, with an arm over its back. Since 1960, an Italian archaeological team has been running regular excavations at the Iassos antique city.

Numerous objects have been unearthed in the course of this work. An arched gate opens up to the agora. On all four sides of the agora are porticos built during the Roman period. The bouleterion is in the south-west of the agora. The building used by the city council is circular, with an orchestra and the rows of seats are divided into three sections with four stairways. Six vaults support the seats. At the eastern corner, there is a rectangular building, 17×13 m. in dimension, with columns in the front, which has been identified as Caesareon. The ruins unearthed within the agora date back to the middle of the Bronze Age.

The stoas around the agora were built in 130 B.C. according to inscriptions. On the vast plain in the south-western corner of the agora, there is the Temple of Artemis Astias. The theatre is on the north-eastern slope of an elevation in the centre of the city. The façade of the state building is approximately 61 m. long. The original theatre was built during the Hellenistic times and the repairs and additions made during the Roman period are discernible. The medieval tower is on the highest point in the centre of the town.

It is almost a square with walls of about 2 meters in thickness. There is also a water cistern within. The harbour is between the peninsula and the mainland, approximately 850 meters in length. The tower at the mouth of the harbour is part of the wave breakers built in medieval times. The tower facing this is demolished. A chain was stretched across these two towers to prevent entrance into the harbour of undesirable vessels. There are two city walls in Iassos, the first one protecting the city and known as the big city wall, and the other in the north-west. The second wall was for regional defence. It is approximately 3.5 km. long and made of local blocks. Its height is variable at places, at an average of 3.5 m., supported by regular columns.Tombs are everywhere in the city. The agora was used as a necropolis in the Archaic age. To the west of the Roman necropolis, on the slopes, there are rock and house tombs. The most famous tomb is the monument from the Roman period in the fish market.

In the middle of a square courtyard, surrounded by porticos, on a high podium, a Corinthian mausoleum with four columns in the front rises up. It has a wide pronaos in the front. The outside walls are decorated with triflutes and plastered antes. A step on the east leads to a shallow cella. The grave chamber is supported by low columns. A small bench for the bones and niches are carved into the rocky walls. The long portico is made up of plastered columns. The vaulted roof on the western part is still standing.

The restoration of the mausoleum in the Fish Market was started towards the end of 1993, by funds allocated by the General Directorate of Rotating Capital Operations of the Ministry of Culture, as a result of which the architectural objects and other works of art unearthed by the Italian team in Iassos were catalogued and the galleries within the mausoleum were opened to the public on 11 August, 1995, as the Fish Market Open-Air Museum. The excavations at Iassos were started in 1960 by an Italian archaeological team headed by Prof. Dr. Doro Levi, and are presently carried out by Dr. Fede Berti.


Within the boundaries of the Milas town, there are numerous antique settlements which have been established and recorded but, as yet, not catalogued.


There is a temple on the mountains at Yukarı KalınaGıl village, 14 km. south of Milas. It was dedicated to a Carian deity, Sinuri. As in Labranda, there is a monumental tomb near the temple, probably belonging to the family of a priest.


It is a small city within the DamlıboGaz village, at the foot of  Karaoğlan Mountain. The name of the city is derived from the Greek word “Hydro”, meaning water. There is a little information about the history of Heyday. On a coin from the 2nd century B.C., a bearded river deity, representing the Sark Stream, is depicted, leaning against a pitcher, holding a reed in his hand, with three fish floating in the water flowing from the pitcher.


Argyle is on top of a hill with double summits, at the eastern tip of the peninsula on the narrow and deep bay of the Gollum harbour. According to the epic related in Byzantines by Stephanos, Argyle was founded by the Greek mythological hero, Bellerophon. When his famous winged-horse Pegasus kicked and killed Bargylos, the hero named the city Bargylia to commemorate his friend. The hero of this epic are depicted on the coins minted here during the first century B.C., with Pegasus in flight and Bellerophon riding him.


The city is on the hill with double summits, covered with pine trees, at Karacahisar village, 29 km. south of Milas. The principal deity of the city, Zeus Areios, the War God, is illustrated on the coins as a bust with a beard and a helmet, or standing, armed to the teeth.


The city is located within the Ören district, 45 km. south of Milas. The deity of Ceramos was a youngster holding a double-faced axe in his hand. On the coins, he is presented standing half naked. In some coins of the Roman Empire, he is depicted with Zeus Chrysaoreus of neighbouring cities of Stratoniceia and Coinon Chrysaoris . The Arceological Museum of Marmaris is located at the Fortress. Therefore, in connection with the museum, the history of the fortress must take precedence.

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