The province of Mugla includes the famous holiday cities of Bodrum, Marmaris, Datca, Koycegiz and Fethiye. Beautiful resorts, comfortable hotels and motels, cozy guest houses, impressive ruins of past civilizations and magnificent landscapes offer holidaymakers plenty of choice. Mugla, the province’s capital, lies inland and is known for its traditional vernacular architecture. An impressive medieval Castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum’s dazzling blue bay, in which the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas meet.
The town’s charm is well-known, attracting a diverse population of vacationers who stroll along its long palm-lined waterfront, while elegant Gulets crowd the Marina. Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater Divers, especially, will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters offer up multicoloured sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopus and an immense variety of other aquatic life. The reputation of Bodrum’s boat yards date back to ancient times, and today, craftsmen still build the traditional Yachts:
The Tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the gulet with a broad beam and rounded stern. The latter, especially, are used on Excursions and pleasure trips, and in the Annual October Cup Race. The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged small entrepreneurs to make Shopping in Bodrum a delight. Leather goods of all kinds, natural sponges and the local blue glass beads are among the bargains to be found in the friendly little shops along the narrow, white-walled streets. Charming boutiques offer Carpets Kilims, sandals and embroidery as well as original fashions in soft cotton.
Shopping lovers are spoilt for choice with Bodrum’s weekly Clothing Market on Tuesdays and food market on Fridays. Bodrum has gained the reputation as the center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and Bohemian atmosphere and many small galleries. This community has encouraged an informal day-time lifestyle and a night-time of excitement. The evenings in Bodrum are for sitting idly in one of the many Cafes, Restaurants, dining on fresh seafood and other Aegean specialities. Afterwards Nightclubs (some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going until dawn.
Bodrum, known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of King Mausolus’s Tomb (4th century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the harbour, the Bodrum Castle, or the medieval castle of St. Peter, is a fine example of 15th century Crusader architecture, and has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, with remains dating as far back as the Bronze Age. The stunning panoramic view from Goktepe, nearby, is much photographed by visitors to the museum’s second-century theatre.
After a Boat Trip to black Island, half an hour from Bodrum, you can bathe in the grotto where the warm mineral waters flowing out of the rocks are believed to beautify the complexion. The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf of Gokova, on the southern shore of the Bodrum Peninsula vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline is thickly wooded with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, and at night it shimmers with phosphorescence. You can hire a Sailing Gulet from Bodrum for a two, three or seven day tour of the gulf.