Milas is the second largest residential area of Mugla Province. It was established
on the foot of Sodra Mountain on the plain named after itself. According to the archaeological
researchs, the foundation of the district dates back to 1st thousand BC. Milas which
was named after Mylasos coming from Ailosand, that is the space of God of the winds, was
the capital of Caria and then Mentese Principality.
Milas’s ancient name is Mylasos or Mylasa. Milas has the
temple of national God Zeus Carios of all Caria and was the cross
place of Carias. Each side of the district is covered by marbles so it
is called “Temples City”. It is possible to see the 3 thousand years
of cultural traces in everywhere in Milas. Within the boundaries of
Milas, there are ruins of 27 ancient cities. Among them Iasos, Labranda, Euromos and Heraklia are available to visit. Milas has also other historical values. Milas respectively lived
Caria, Byzantine, Seljuk, Mentese Principality and Ottoman Civilizations.
Milas has an important location in terms of yacht tourism with
its’ coasts in the Gulf of Gökova and Mandalya in Aegean Sea. After
seeing Gökova, Captain Cousteau said that “who is seeking heaven
on Earth, finds it in Gökova”. The international Milas-Bodrum Airport
is the easiest way to reach Milas.
Some part of the finds from the excavations in the historical places of the district
are exhibited in Milas Museum. The Museum was opened to the visitors in 1987 and is in a
two-storey building in a 1,5 acre garden. In the 11 showrooms, the gold artifacts found in
the excavation in Stratonikeia, the baked clay oil lamps found in the excavation in Iasos, the
finds, statues and statue heads found in the excavation in Milas and surrounding area are
exhibited. The garden of the Museum is used as an open-air exhibition area.
Uzunyuva and the Sarcophagus of
The Column, which is called as Uzunyuva among the people, was originally built
as a honour column in the name of Memandros in Roman period. The column has a Corintian
style hat and is one of the most eminent works of Mylasa.
The Sarcophagus of Hekatamnos
It is driven forward as belonging to King of Caria. 2400 years old tomb is identified as the
most important archeological discovery of 100 years in Anatolia. The King was buried with
all his personal belongings in a massive and high masterpiece sarcophagus, which was decorated
with high reliefs on four sides.
The main and most important part of Milas town trip consist
of Milas houses which were built in the first years of 19 and 20
century and which are still used after restoration. The entrance of
the two-storey houses is from courtyard. The wood supported parts
of the houses are out of the street. The ground floors are used as a
warehouse and pantry. The kitchen, toilet and barn are at a corner of
yard. The wood or marble staircase is used to ascend to the upstairs
from the yard.
Arasta (Ottoman Bazaar)
In Hisarbasi District where the historical Çolluoglu Inn located
that surrounded by the shops is Milas Arasta. It is estimated that the
Arasta was started to establish after the construction of the Colluoglu
Inn in 1719. Arasta has an important role in the commercial life of Milas
and tailors, tinners, artisan restaurants and shoemakers carry on their
commercial activities there. The Arasta shops, which have the characteristics
of traditional Turkish architecture, have one or two floors. The
roof of the buildings are tiled. Milas Arasta which protects many of its
properties, is also a stopover point by local and foreign tourists. There
is a great interest to Arasta especially during the Tuesday market. In all
meat, meatball and liver restaurants it is very difficult to find place.
Hacialiaga Mansion which is located in Hisarbasi
neigborhood, is one of the finest example of Turkish civil
architecture from 19th century. The Mansion was built by
Hadji Ali Aga from Milas gentry in 1868. It was constructed
in rectangular plan and two storey where the bottom floor
was used as a corn warehouse and the top floor was used
as living rooms. The Mansion was restorated in 2005 by Milas
Municipality and the first floor of the Mansion has been
used as Turhan Selcuk cartoon house in memory of Turhan
Selcuk who is a great master of Turkish cartoon was born
in Milas. The second floor of the Mansion was furnished
showing the traditional home life of Milas and was opened
to the visitors.
It is located in the central point of the city and is close to the
Belen Mosque. Although it was constructed between 1719-1920 as a
foundation to the madrasah built in 1737-1738 close to Aga Mosque
by Abdulaziz Aga, today it is a private property and was widely demolished.
But the restoration works are still carried out by Milas Municipality.
The feature of the village is the Comakdag houses which
have architectural style that combine past and present. Each of
these houses is a work of art. The chimneys in stone houses attract interest
with their aesthetic appearance. On the region-specific chimney
hill made from slate stone as half months or eagle head figures can
be seen. As much as the houses’ external appearance, interior of them
are very colorful and impressive. Ceiling decorations and doors are full
of examples of the art of wood carving.
Women living in Comakdag are trying to keep alive their nearly 500
years of history of the traditions with their colorful wearing apparel.
The withdrawn village lives with its’ traditions.
Baltali Kapı (Ax-Door)
It was built at the end of 1st century BC. Two pillars carry the door
belt decorated with a row of palmetto and groove. Due to the double-
sided ax relief on the lock at the outer side, it was named after
Gümüşkesen Grave Monument
This magnificient monument which is located in the ancient
city necropolis (cemetery) area on the eastern slope of the
Sodra Mountain that could be built by the decision of the City Senate
to the period, certainly it was built for a senior personality like a
manager or commander of Milas and his family.
The tomb that was built from grey vined marble extracted
from Sodra Mountain quarries, rises over a flat platform due to
the sloping terrain. In general, it consists of three parts; the burial
chamber, the middle floor where the religious ceremony are made
that surrounded by columns and the loft that supported by these
As a general form, although it evokes Mausoleum Halikarnassos
which is one of the world’s seven wonders, it is unique and
the parallels are in Eastern Mediterranean and North Mesopotamia
(South East Anatolia). Due to the construction techniques of tombs
and the characteristic property of marble decoration it is dated to
the middle of AD 2nd century (Antonine period).
It is possible to reach the ruins with a right path sling way from Milas-Oren road at the
entrance of Belcin district that is located 5 km South of Milas. The castle is located on the escarpment
at the northen tip of the tableland.
The oldiest ruins in Belcin called different names like Pezona (in medieval Italian sources),
Barcin, Bercin, Pecin and Becin (in Turkish-Islamic sources), date back to the Archaic period.
Under the Middle Age Castle located on the escarpment at the northen tip of the tableland there
are architectural ruins from Archaic and Classical period. Different types of tombs from Geomethic
to Roman period which were encountered near Becin district, testify to ancient period. We
realised that the first heyday of Becin was in Archaic period and at long last the second heyday
was in Menteseogullari that is one of a Turkish Principality.
In Becin there is a small number of Bizantine ruins can be seen like a chapel (small
church). As the Turkish period ruins, Inner Castle, Ahmet Gazi Madrasah and Mausoleum, Orhan
Bey Mosque, Big Turkish Bath, Bey Mansion, Bey Turkish Bath, Red Inn, Karapasa Madrasah, Yelli
Mosque, Yelli Turkish Bath, Yelli Madrasah and the cemeteries with interesting tombstones can
be seen in Becin.
Iassos was built on the peninsula surrounded by the sea
on three sides in Kıyıkislacik Village that is 28 km away from Milas.
According to the mythology it was built by the people came from
Argos and named after Iassos, the head of the colonists. There is no
information about Iasson in ancient sources until 5th century BC.
The area where the city was built was an island but than it became
a peninsula. The important structures belong to the ancient city are
located on this peninsula. Big city wall, aqueduct, tombs and the
building called as a fish market are located outside of the city walls.
During the excavations in Iassos the oldest settlement belonging to
the end of 3th thousand BC was found.
Once upon a time a musician who visited the city gave a
recital at the theatre. During the recital when a bell sound notifying
that the fish market is open was heard, everyone except an old man
who put his hand to his ear leaved the theatre. The Musician came
near to the old man and said “I thank you so much for your respect
for me and my art; because all the listeners have gone after they
heard the bell sound”. “What?” cried the old man. “Did they ring the
bell? “Yes, why?”, “Well, allow me sir” and then he disappeared. Strabon tells the story for the purpose of explaining the interest of
people from Iassos who can not get yield from unfruitful soil. After Alexander laid a siege to Miletus in 334, Iassos donated a ship to the
Persian Navy who tried to help the city. After ten years there was a man from Iassos named Gargos in the Alexander’s armory command
post in Ektaban. Another person from Iassos who attrected the interest of Alexander, was a boy who had loved by a dolphin.
In Iassos it was a tradition of the boys to wash in the sea after working in gymnasium. Meanwhile a dolphin moved clower to the ashore,
shouldered one of the children, took him to the open sea and left him to the ashore again. According to a narrative, after Alexander
heard the story he brought the boy to Babylon and made him a priest of the God of the Sea Poseidon. The people from Iassos were
influenced from this story and they used a boy figure on the coins in 3rd century BC who throw his arm to dolphin’s shoulder while
Once Heraklia was a port city, where Bafa Lake is lying with its blue water in front of it and Five Finger Mountains (ancient
name is Latmos Mountain) are rising behind of it. Old city called Latmos that was located in a little further northeast moved into the
place at the beginning of Hellenistic Period and it was named after Herakleia in accordance with demigod hero Herakles. 6,5 km of city
walls supported by 26 towers are indicative of importance given to the defense of a city as well as to an ancient waste.
In accordance with the “Latmos Prehistorical Rock Paintings” at the Latmos (Five Finger) Mountains in Bafa Lake area it was
determined that the beginning of the history of the region extends to the 6 thousand century BC.
The ruins of Euromos are located on the rigth side of 12th km
of Milas-Soke highway. Especially the columns of the temple can be seen
easily from the road.
Due to the temple columns, the city was named “Footed”
by the local people and first time the name of the city was encountered in
5th Century BC in the list of taxpayers cities which paid their taxes to the
Attica-Delos Sea Union that was established against Persians.
The history of the Euromos shows parallelism to the historical
geography of Caria. Euromos made a citizenship agreement with Mylasa
(sympoliteia) and applied for the help from Mylasa because of the attack
The most important ruin is Zeus temple dated to the period of
Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138). During the excavation works in the temple
the ruins belong to the AD 6th century were found. City walls, theatre,
agora, tombs are the other ruins that can be seen.
Labranda which is one of the oldiest city of Caria, was named
after “Labrys” that means double-sided axe. Between the city of temples,
Milas and Labranda there was a marble “spiritual road” connection and
this road started from Ax-Door in Milas.
It is described on an inscription found during the research in the area
that there was a war in the spiritual area in 497 and the allies of the
armies of Caria with Miletus lost the war against Persian
army. Herodotus speaks of a temple of Zeus Startios in Labranda. The
4th century BC was the most important period of the temple that was
built in Mausoleum and Idrius period.
The old name of the Bosphorus Village was Bargylia. Bargylia
that is one of the Caria city was once at the seaside. The marsh in front
of it was used as a salina in Ottoman period. Colloquially the name of the city is Varvil. The ancient authors report that the hero named Bellorophontes
built the city in memory of his friend Bargylos who was died
by a kicking of his winged horse Pegasos. The name of the city in Carian
language is Andanos. The Artemis Kyndias temple is the spiritual area
of the city that is located on the mountains against in Kemikler Village.
As the ruins of a building of the city turned to a defense fortress by
arrangements in Byzantine period, the building materials appears on
these walls. The ruins are scattered over the hills along. The north facing
Hellenistic theater and temple areas require an exploratory trip.
Gulluk Port which locates at the Manastır area that is 2 km far away from Gulluk Town, is operating by Gulluk Port Management Construction
Tourism Industry and Trading Co. and it is 10 km away from Bodrum-Milas International Airport.
The Gulluk port area is divided into two parts; inner port and outer port. The length of pier is 346 m and there are 4 berths.
The Tuzla wetland covers 380 hectars area. In winter it is
a sheltering and feeding place of migratory birds and it is surrounded
by tamarisk, olive and pine trees. The most common bird species
are Pelicans. Gray duck, mallard, white-fronted goose,
red-crested pochard, coot, heron, geese, flamengo, water fowl,
pratincole are the other species that live in Tuzla. In the wetland the planktons and aquatic
plants provide fish abundance.
The Soke plain was sea until 2000 years ago and there
was a large gulf. The allivium brought by Big Menderes River filled
the gulf and made a plain. Todays’s Bafa Lake stayed between as a
part of the sea. There are two islands on the lake. In Bafa Lake garay
mullet, see bass and ell are catched. On the islands located on the
lake monasteries and churches were built. From these “Seven Monastery”
is the oldiest one. The perimeter of the Lake is surrounded by
olive groves. All meals in the restaurant located on shore are cooked
with olive oil.
Ören – Keramos
On the way to Bodrum-Milas formerly Gereme with a new name Oren is on the coast of the Gokova Gulf that is reached with an
asphalt road leaving with Becin road. The city center is a bit off shore. Along the beach two-storey house in gardens, small hotels and hostels
are ranked. Between Oren and Akyaka the ruins of ancient city of Keramos can be visited.
The Sleep Valley and natural protected area The Gokceler Cavern can be visited with daily tours. There are two entrences to the
Valley. The mouth of the Gokceler Cavern is quite large. In the Cavern, which is opened to a large lounge, there is a large gallery at the left side.
When you take a slight right hilly with a narrow passage, it is also possible to reach another gallery where stalactites, stalagmites and smaller ponds located.
In the Aegean region the wealth of flora is reflected of the local cuisine, as can be seen in Milas’ cuisine. The foods cooked with olive oil are predominate.
(The Turkish traditional name of the foods are stated in the paranthesises)
Vegetable Dishes: Flower frying (cicek kızartma), cowpea (börülce
çullama), cowpea salad (börülce sallama), hibiscus roasting
(ebegümeci kavurmasi), blessed thistle (kenker-sevketi bostan), Cauliflower
(karnabahar tatari), Aubergine with olive oil (patlıcan ekşemesi),
Aubergine with yoghurt and garlic (yogurtlama), mustard salad
(hardal salatasi), asparagus roasting (tilkisen kavurmasi), palandiz
salad (palandiz saltasi), fava bean leaf salad (bakla yapragi salatasi),
dried pepper salad (kuru biber salatasi), onion meal (soğan depmesi),
gherkin salad (acur salatasi), purslane salad (semizotu salatasi).
Pastry: mixed herbed pasty (caykama boregi), pastry (tepsi boregi),
rolled pastry with minced meat (vekilharc), cracked wheat pastry
(bulgur boregi), rice pastry (pirincleme dökmesi), the layered pastry
Meat, chicken and fish dishes: Bloody chicken roasting (kanli kavurma),
stuffed rice and meat in a large gut (bumbar dolmasi), fried meat
(et kavurmasi), meaty leek (etli pırasa), stuffed squash blossoms (kabak
cicegi dolması), sour meatball (eksili köfte) and pounded chicken/
meat and wheat (keskek).
Desserts: gelatinous dessert colored and flavored with saffron (Zerde)
Milas is one of the oldest settlements of Turkmen tribes. The region protects its feature as uses and customs and clothing. In Milas
the carpets are woven with unique characteristics. It is considered that the carpet tradition began in the 16th century with the production of
prayer rugs. Dated to the 18th century and 19th century carpets with patterns and color feature are divided into classical and Baroque style.
Milas carpets have completely been made of wool since the 18th and 19th century. The carpets have been colored with natural dye and madder. These
carpets are called Milas carpets which are still weaved in Karacahisar, Oren Dorttepe, Gereme, Bozalan, Ikızkoy, Pinarkoy, Mezgit, Gurcegiz,
Akcakaya and in many villages.