The cistern and aqueduct of ceramaos in ancient caria


From Idyma to Akyaka

The history of the place and its environment


Akyaka is situated in the northwest of the G?ova (Kerme) gulf, 28 km away from Muğla and 32 km from Marmaris. The administration of Akyaka is in Ula, the main place of the district. In its north the mountains raise up to 1000 m high, covered with forest, and its eastern side, there is beautiful valley with a plane, whose sources of fresh water feed the river "Kadın Azmak" (Woman River) and the Akcapınar river. In former times Akyaka was only a "suburb" of the village Kozlukuyu (G?ova village), a few houses which were around today's port (Yeni İskele), which formed the access to the sea for the city of Muğla. Only in the year 1971, the autonomy was given and in 1992, with the appointment as a "belde" the first mayor and the town council were elected. About 1970 started the development into a regional tourist center.

In the year 1988 the region was declared as the first "Nature Protected Area" (SPA- special protected area) of Turkey.

Akyaka is with its forest-covered mountains, the crystals-clear rivers, which look just like an aquarium, the sea, the Forest-camp site, with its innumerable springs, its history and its additional wood-using buildings, a much-visited "tourist paradise". In short, Akyaka is a place to live.


It is known that the area is inhabited for about 2600 years. Earlier settlements are not proven.

The Carian City of IDYMA

In the area, in which today's Akyaka is situated, the city of Idyma was founded. The settlement of Idyma extended east of today's Akyaka up to the village of Kozlukuyu ( 3 km) and the quarters of the İnişdibi and Yazılıtaş up to the ancient port which was nearby the forest cap site.

The Necropolis (rock graves) and the Acropolis are on the mountain-slopes in the north of Kozlukuyu. The Acropolis was explored in the year 1937 by the French researcher Louis Robert. Idyma was founded as a Carian city. The name originates from the Carian language. The area, where today's Muğla is situated, is known as the antiquate Caria. The most important city of Caria was Milas. Idyma was situated in the southern Caria. The Carians were the earliest settlers in the area. Whereas the customs and the way of life is known, the language of the Carians, since no documents are found, remained unknown.

In 546 BC, the Persian army conquered the area under the command of Harpagos. Under the Persian rule the customs and the religion remained unchanged. Between 484 and 405 BC, the Delian Sea-federation (Delian League) under the leadership of Athens took over the administration. Idyma was affected too. In the tax lists of the years 453-452 BC, of the Delian Sea-federation Idyma is already mentioned. This is the earliest document concerning the city of Idyma. Additionally in these reports a leader is mentioned named PAKTYES, It is considered that the city was governed for a long time by the dynast of Pakytes. The City produced coins. One side was marked with IDIMION (IDIMION), the other side has the head of PAN. It is well known that the cult of the shepherds, the God PAN was of great importance in the region.

The Delian Sea federation ended in 405 BC. Idyma separated already around 440 BC, from this federation. The Spartian general Lysandros destroyed the city Cedrea (Sedir Adası) in 405 BC.

At the ridge of Kozlukuyu and the eastern side of İnişdibi rock tombs date from this time, dated 4th century BC. One of the toms has two columns. Architectural style and stone mason works are remarkable. It could be made for a member of the house of Paktyes.

Near Kozlukuyu, approximately 300 m above the rock tombs, the Acropolis is situated. Nearby is a 200m long site walls of Hellenistic time as well as the buildings, and the remnants of cisterns. On the northwestern side of the Acropolis, the road from Marmaris extends to Muğla.

İnişdibi and the mediaeval fortress which was situated in the proximity is a very old settlement area. The old rock tombs show this. It is certainly the fact that the fortress existed from antique times to mediaeval and Byzantine times and then at unknown times it was left. The Byzantine fortress, also mentioned as Genoose fortress (Ceneviz kalesi), would be worth to be restored. From the fortress an underground tunnel leads to the bank of Kadın Azmak.

The neighbors of the Idyma were in the east Callipolis (in the proximity of Kızılyaka), whose name remains still as Geliboluat the gulf of G?ova. Also Cedrea (Sedir Adası) in the gulf of G?ova was an important naval base. In the west CERAMOS (Gereme- ?en), after which the gulf is named. In the north Thera (Yerkesik) is appropriate, KILLANDOS (Yenice village) and Muğla, at its time a very small settlement.

Idyma under the rule of Halikarnassos (Bodrum)

Between 387-334 BC, The Persians took again the rule in the area. King MAUSOLOS (377-353 BC) maintained good contacts with the Persians and governed the region like a free king. He changed the capital from Milas to Halikarnassos (Bodrum). Idyma was situated in the east of this kingdom. This epoch ended when Alexander The Great (356-323 BC) of Macedonia with his army penetrated into the area. There were fortresses in Thera (Yerkesik) and Callipolis (Kızılyaka) at this time.

Idyma in Hellenistic times

With Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic times began in Anatolia and the eastern countries. Greek culture and the language spread very rabidly. The area had a difficult time from 334 BC up to 189 BC, when the peace agreement of Apama (Afyon, Dinar) was reached. Different Hellenic kingdoms governed and confused the region at the same time.

Idyma under the rule of Rhodes

In the third century BC, Idyma came under Rhodeian rule and was called Rhodeian Paraea (the opposite side of Rhodos). Idyma freed itself for some time from this rule, however in 200 BC, it was again connected to Rhodes by Nicagoras with Pisi (Pisikci village), and Killandos (Yenice village), This knowledge comes from an inscription on the island Karpatos (Greece). With the peace agreement of Apama 189 BC, the city of Idyma was connected finally to Rhodes and remained so until the firs century AD.

From this times approximately 10 inscriptions point out that the social life in Idyma is very alive and a "Council" (the Council of the United Idyma) was founded. On these inscriptions we find interesting facts. Inscriptions from the Old Port (the Forest Camp Site) and one attached on a wall in İnişdibi from the later Hellenistic times contain the name of the city. This monument was made for a leading person of the city on the part of the citizens working for him. Besides other different names, which belong to the people from different cities, one reads the name of grammatikos (village officer) DEMETRIUS from Idyma, and Apollonius the son of Antipatrus from Idyma.

In stone parts taken in Forest Camp Site in Akyaka (dated 2. Century BC) we hear of the goddess LETO and the priest of APHRODITE. It is assumed that there was a temple in Old İskele, and in the environment of today's Forest Office. The whole environment showing distributed columns with grooves and processed stone remainders affirm this opinion. Additionally in the Old İskele, in front of the Restaurant, in the sea there are remnants of the foundation walls referring how old the landing place is. There were found inscriptions that include names of the office holders who served in this area in the Rhodian times. An inscription used for the building of new mosque in Yeni İskele carries the names Athenagoras, Thangilio Kirnis, and Pratophon again in Kozlukuyu's inscription were found mentioning Rodokles from Rhodes.

The Roman Idyma

At the end of first century AD, Idyma became a Roman city. Before in the year 48 BC, julius CAESAR (102-44 BC) traveled the area around 48 BC to Rhodes. The Egyptian queen CLEOPATRA (69-30 BC) traveled the Aegean coasts and visited the city of Ephesus in the year 41 BC. The only inscription from Roman times, that was written in honor of Emperor VESPASIAN (ruled 69-79 AD) is missing unfortunately. Excavation in the year 1922 discovered mosaics from Roman time in the fortress ruins in İnişdibi.

In the third century AD, when Roman Empire was weak inside and destroyed by strong earthquakes as well as devastating plague, the area fell into oblivion. Idyma and the cities in the environment were left.

Life in Byzantine times

It is not exactly how the area was called in the Byzantine times. On a hill at the south side of today's Camping ground a church with apse was found, built in the name of Saint Kosmas. The adjacent area and the gulf were called after him. From this church stones with crosses, relief and inscription are still to be seen. Additionally two remainders of chapels are at the spring of water systems, and at the creek (Papaz deresi) that flows into the sea. This place is called "ERENDEDE". At Akyaka the people respected the special feature of Erendede . Rain-prayers were celebrated and wishes were done there. The people cooked Aşure (a soup-like sweet food) and divided it with the present ones.

G?ova under Turkish Administration

At the end of 13th century, the area came under Turkish administration. Caria became Menteşe (the name of the region during the Turkish times). In these times one called the region in which Akyaka is situated, COVA (Cova Cukuru, G?ova, G?abad). At first pantheism, after Christianity, with the Turks Islamic faith came into the area. At first Carian language, later Greek, with the Turks, Turkish language became prevailing and exclusive. In the area at first Menteşe Principality (Menteşe Beyliği) was found. The capital of this principality was Milas. In the year 1420, it became part of Ottoman Empire. Muğla became capital of the province and Ula as sub-province center.

The highlight in the Ottoman times was the crossing of Sultan S?eyman the Magnificent (reg.1520-1566) with his army in order to conquer Rhodos. In July 1522 the Ottoman Army came to the region and returned back to Istanbul in 1523. Rhodos was defeated and attached to the Ottoman Empire.

Although the occupation of Rhodos brought well fare for the region again, it should take until the recent times around the year 1950, to partly dry out the wetlands and fight malaria. The road Muğla-Marmaris was built around the year 1970 and with coming of tourism to Akyaka, brought new life and economic boom.

back to top