Datça is a district of Muğla Province in south-west Turkey, and the center town of the district. The center is situated midway through the peninsula which carries the same name as the district and the town.
The name Datça comes from Stadia, a name of the city of Cnidus. Stadia developed into Tadya, Dadya, Dadça, and then Datça.
Both the town and the peninsula of Datça were called Reşadiye for a brief period in the beginning of the 20th century, honoring the penultimate Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V Reşad, and some maps may still refer to the peninsula under this name; today Reşadiye is the name of one of the quarters of the town.
The quarters of the city of Datça are Reşadiye, Eski Datça ‘Old Datça‘ and İskele ‘quay’, separated by about a mile from each other. Reşadiye was the original administrative core when the town was renamed Datça and turned into a district center in 1928, before it was moved to İskele quarter. The center town is crossed by the short course of the Datça Stream (Datça Çayı in Turkish).
Datça peninsula is traced by many small bays and coves
The Datça district has nine villages scattered along the peninsula. These are; Cumalı, Emecik, Hızırşah, Karaköy, Kızlan, Mesudiye, Sındı, Yakaköy, Yazıköy. Historically, apart from small coastal patches, Datça Peninsula has two fertile areas along its length. The whole of the eastern half is bare, mountainous and scarcely inhabited. The western part is also mountainous, rising in places over 1,000 meters, but has towards its western end on the south side a considerable extent of well-watered land reaching to the coast at Palamutbükü locality and supporting a group of villages known collectively as Betçe (the five villages). These are; Mesudiye, Sındı, Yakaköy, Yazıköy, Cumalı. The village of Mesudiye, very near the sea shore has a jetty owned by the community of villagers. The village’s bay is called Hayıtbükü. Palamutbükü locality, more to the west, also has a little pier which allows boats to moore. Palamutbükü today is a holiday village with a long beach.
The second and larger area of good land is in the middle of the peninsula southwest of the median isthmus dividing the two halves and centered around the town of Datça. The region’s promising potential was noted already in the 1880s by the hydrographer Thomas Abel B. Spratt in the following terms:
The plain and valley of Datça is very fertile, having fine groves of olive and valonia, and of almonds and other fruit trees, with abundance of water, if properly utilized.
A point of note on the general settlement pattern of these villages is that the locations chosen were never in the immediate coastline, but always at a mile’s distance or more from the sea and at a relatively safe altitude on the slopes of a hill. The reason was from times immemorial was the fear of pirates, advantaged as they were by the intricate geology of shores of southwestern Turkey and of the many islands and islets that are its natural extensions, in an environment not unlike that of the Caribbean Sea. Piracy remained a serious security problem well until the beginning of the 20th century and especially during the weakening of the Ottoman Empire and the issue often necessitated foreign