A beautiful and mysterious landscape full of tradition
The Sailing Capital of Turkey
Marmaris was, in ancient times, known as the town of Physkos. There has been a castle there since 3000BC. In 334BC Physkos was invaded by Alexander the Great and the castle was besieged with the towns population scattered to the hills. The current name of Marmaris derives from the Turkish word mermer, meaning marble. This is because of the rich deposits of marble in the area and the role the towns port played in the marble trade.
In later times for many years the Knıghts of St John on Rhodos withstood various onslaughts from the Ottoman Sultans. In the 15th century, when Suleyman the Magnificent set out for the conquest of Rhodos he used Marmaris as a base for the Ottoman Navy and rebuilt the Marmaris Castle from scratch in 1522. In 1975 Lord Nelson and his fleet sheltered in the harbour en route to Egypt to defeat Napoleon’s armada. With its magnificent harbour and beautiful surroundings set amongst mountains, today’s Marmaris is a haven for yachting and tourism. Little remains of the small fishing village it became after its tumultuous past.
It is now one of Turkey’s most popular resort towns attracting mainly British holiday makers on packaged holidays. It is a stunning setting with pine clad hills jagged inlets further out of the main town. However most people go for sea, sun, and fun and there are many 3 star resorts used mainly by families and couples who go for the nightlife. It is the main center for sailing and has two major marinas for the hundreds of cruise and sailing boats.
What to See
Since 1979 work has continued on the castle and it has been converted into a museum. There are several galleries and the largest is used as an exhibition hall. Nimara Cave is located on Heaven Island near Marmaris. Excavations were carried out in 2007 and research has revealed the existence of a cult of Mother Goddess of Apollo. It is now been declared a protected area and shelters butterflies identical to those living in Butterfly Valley in Fethiye. There are many ancient sites in the area around Marmaris such as Amos, Syma and Bozburun for exploring. Tourists can take a day trip to Cleopatra Island in the Gulf of Gokova.
There is a wide variety of water sports available such as rafting, trekking and jeep safaris as well as two aquamarine parks for children. The ferry to Rhodos comes and goes twice a day and you can take a day trip there very easily. Some tourist enter and exist Turkey and Greece during the summer months via Marmaris.
What to Buy
Resort wear abounds as you would expect in this holiday and yachting haven, however there are some good jewellery stores in the center of town.
What to Eat
There are many restaurants and bars along the main course of Marmaris and many options in the way of nightlife available. As well as normal Turkish cuisine many places now offer British breakfasts and fish and chips are on many set menus.