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, 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.
GÜMÜŞKESEN MONUMENTAL TOMB
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.
GATE WITH AXE
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.
ZEUS CARIUS TEMPLE
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.
BUILDINGS AS SPECIMENS OF CIVILIAN ARCHITECTURE
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.
SAMPLES OF RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE
HACI ILYAS MOSQUE
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.
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.
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
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
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.
AHMET GHAZI MEDRESSE AND GRAVE
The medresse, which was built
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.
OTHER BUILDINGS WITHIN THE CITY
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.
BUILDINGS OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS
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, 7.75x10.30 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
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
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. 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.
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
The 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.
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
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.
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.
ANTIQUE SETTLEMENTS NOT YET CATALOGUED AT MILAS
Within the boundaries of the Milas town,
there are numerous antique settlements which have been established and recorded
but, as yet, not catalogued.
THE TEMPLE OF SINURI
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 .