Marmaris is a coastal town in Turkey situated where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean. It has one of the world’s largest natural harbours, so has been a port since antiquity. It is close to the Greek islands of Rhodes and Symi (in the Dodecanese group of islands), so you can island hop if you want to visit some Greek islands while on holiday in Turkey.
The harbour is truly picturesque and you can visit several beaches as well as Cleopatra’s Island for a day trip. It is said that this island, with its sandy beaches was Cleopatra’s haven and a place where she retreated with Mark Antony.There are also booze cruises to go on and one of my favourite places for exploring is the old residential area of Marmaris which surrounds the castle.
The castle was built during the reign of Suleyman the magnificent in 1521. Marmaris, like neighbouring Bodrum had been part of the ancient kingdom of Caria, but was conquered much later by the Ottomans in 1425. The castle was built as a defense against possible invaders from Rhodes, namely the Knights Templar or the Knights of St. John as they were also known.
The ancient name for Marmaris was Physkos, and it is said that it was named Mimaras by the Ottoman emperor Suleyman, who on returning from an attack on Rhodes exclaimed, on seeing the castle, “Mimar as!” which means “Hang the architect!” It later became Marmaris, which does not mean ‘marble’ Marble in Turkish is mermer, but it may have a link to the ancient Greek word for marble, marmara. There are examples of Greek houses in the Old Quarter of Marmaris which have been there for over 250 years.
Fethiye is another city which is close to Marmaris and this is well worth a visit as are the ancient :Lycian tombs which you can find there, juxtaposed by modern buildings.
Marmaris has a spring festival too which is held in 2013 between the 8th and 20th of May. There are outdoor concerts too, all year round, held at the statue of Kemal Ataturk in the central square.
You may wish to visit the Turtle Beach close to Marmaris where the Loggerhead turtles (Carata carata) nest. However you should tread carefully so as not to disturb their nests which are buried under the sand. You can also go on horse or jeep safaris and do the usual water sports at the nearby beaches, including scuba diving.
There is a great restaurant that caters for vegetarians, the Meryem Ana which has some of the best traditional home-cooking I have had in Turkey.
Marmaris also has a fabulous nightlife, and great wines and food, a good resort to go to if you want to eat, drink and be merry on your holiday!