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Top 5 archeological sites you must see in Milas Turkey

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    Top 5 archeological sites you must see in Milas Turkey

    Milas, situated within the Muğla region of Turkey, holds within its borders some of the most remarkable archaeological treasures in the southwestern part of the country. This makes them conveniently accessible and enjoyable for those vacationing in Bodrum and nearby areas. Despite being the home of Bodrum's International Airport, Milas has lost some of its former recognition in recent years.
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    With a historical legacy dating back to the ancient Carian civilization and the medieval era, Milas boasts an impressive tally of 27 archaeological sites that are well worth exploring. Among these is the nearby Mausoleum of Hecatomnus, which has earned the distinction of being a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Fascinatingly, this site, dating back to the early fourth century B.C., boasts significant features like the Temenos Wall, a podium, a column, and a sarcophagus, yet it does not top the list of the five most captivating sites in Milas. This underscores the profound wealth of archaeology and history that envelops this region of Turkey.

    Meanwhile, Bodrum itself is home to the often-overlooked Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although a visit to this site is worthwhile, it pales in comparison to the ancient towns and complexes that can transport your imagination to bygone eras. These experiences, coupled with the slightly cooler temperatures, offer an immersive journey through history. Consequently, whether you're exploring Bodrum, Marmaris, Didim, or even Datça, embarking on an archaeological day trip to Milas should undoubtedly find a spot on your to-do list.

    In light of this, here's a selection of the top five ancient sites in Milas that are worth your attention:
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    1. Iassos Iassos is an ancient Greek and Roman city situated on the Bodrum Peninsula, just beyond Bodrum Airport and not far from Milas. The city boasts ancient walls, a well-preserved agora, Roman baths, and a Hellenistic theater. Its picturesque coastal setting and the nearby tranquil seaside town known as Kıyıkışlacık add to its charm. Given its proximity to Bodrum's center, it's recommended to plan your adventure alongside a visit to Uyku Vadisi and the Incirliin caves, which are nestled within a deep forest, offering a refreshing nature retreat. Uyku Vadisi also features a restaurant, making it a perfect pitstop on your journey.
    2. Stratonikeia Also recognized as the "City of Eternal Love," Stratonikeia is an ancient Carian city located 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Milas in the direction of Muğla. Stratonikeia stands out for its historical importance and impressive architecture, boasting well-preserved structures such as a theater, Roman baths, and a necropolis. The city is often referred to as a living archaeological site due to its numerous well-preserved sections and remnants of one of the largest gymnasiums in the classical world. It is currently on UNESCO's tentative World Heritage list, with ongoing excavations unearthing hundreds of artifacts. After exploring Stratonikeia, you can make a relaxing and enjoyable stop at Pınarbasi Restaurant, located a few kilometers toward Yatağan. Nestled in a forested area with mountain springs, this restaurant offers a serene setting where you can dine on classic Turkish dishes while the soothing sound of flowing water surrounds you.
    3. Labraunda While more off the beaten path, Labraunda ranks as one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Milas region. It served as an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the Carian God Zeus Labraundos and features a temple, an agora, an amphitheater, and various other ruins. Dating back to 600 B.C., Labraunda is renowned for its well-preserved ancient architecture, particularly the Temple of Zeus, and its breathtaking hilltop sunset views. Access to this site is via a winding road, taking just over an hour's drive from Bodrum. A popular pitstop along the way is Durmuş’un Yeri, set in a grassy garden and known for serving traditional Turkish cuisine. It's a favored spot among locals and can be a lively area for children, occasionally featuring wandering minstrels.
    4. Heraclea by Latmus Located in present-day Kapıkırı, a village nestled along the shores of Lake Bafa, Heraclea by Latmus stands as a stunning archaeological site in a region known for its diverse flora and fauna. The site encompasses the ruins of an ancient city, including a theater, agora, and temple remains, while unique boulder formations house rock paintings. Enhance your visit by dedicating a day to exploring the lake and the village, a popular tourist destination. Enjoy a meal, likely a gözleme, at one of the restaurants situated directly along the lake.
    5. Beçin This ancient Carian city, situated just outside Milas, is celebrated for its impressive castle, well-preserved fortifications, and city walls that showcase the architecture of early Turkish beylic settlements. The ruins encompass a mosque, a church, hammams, and remnants of residential buildings. Beçin's historical significance is underscored by visits from notable travelers and scholars such as Ibn Battuta and Evliya Çelebi. It's also on UNESCO's tentative World Heritage list in the cultural category. A visit to this site can be complemented with a trip to the nearby Milas Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, a valuable resource for those interested in the history and archaeology of the region. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, including sculptures, inscriptions, pottery, and items from various archaeological sites.

    These archaeological gems in and around Milas provide a window into the rich history of the region, spanning from ancient Greek and Roman periods to later civilizations. Exploring these sites offers a unique opportunity to delve into the cultural and historical heritage of southwestern Turkey.