The City Tour
The province of Muğla, covering an area that has the most famous of Turkey’s tourism centres within its boundaries, is more of a region that holidaymakers “pass through” while travelling to one of its famous towns. It is not fully known whether equating the concept of a holiday with the sea that makes rare places not on the coast locations little frequented by tourists. Certainly this is understandable but we would advise you to spare at least one day for Muğla. Those who base themselves in the centre of Muğla but who plan short trips to nearby destinations as well as visiting the city itself can expect a very full few days.
The centre of Muğla extends over the plain stretching from the foot of the Asar or Hisar (Castle) Mountain and is surrounded by Karadağ (Black Mountain), Kızıldağ (Red Mountain), Masadağ (Table Mountain) and Hamursuz Dağları (Unleavened Mountains). The city, which was captured by the Selçuks in 1080, was recovered by the Byzantines in 1096 and then taken over by Turkish Kingdom of Menteşeoğulları in 1284. The city was in turn seized by the Ottomans in 1390. The old part of the city, known as Saburhane in the Ottoman era, was a district where Greeks and Turks lived together on friendly terms. However, even after the population exchange in 1924, resulting in the Greeks leaving the city, this part of Muğla retained its old atmosphere.
Some of the old houses in this district have undergone restoration by their new owners. Houses owned by the famous architect Cengiz Bektaş and well-known journalist İlhan Selçuk are among those that were restored.
The City Tour
The city centre boasts many beautiful examples of civil architecture. First of all, park your car on one of the streets that lead to the central square where the Governor’s Office is located, walk for 100 metres and enter the Arasta (Historical Bazaar). The Arasta is as if it was frozen at the beginning of the 20th century, with its saddle-maker, shoe-maker, barber shop, hardware store, small businesses, small restaurants and a fountain at its centre. In the bazaar there are also shops that sell traditional souvenirs as well as the famous Muğla woven material. If you feel hungry, walk into any of the small worker’s restaurants. On their menu you would come across traditional local dishes such as ekşili döş dolması (stuffed sour meat) and keşkek (wheat boiled with minced meat), which are among the delicacies you must try. After your meal, you should go to Helvacı Tahsin and do not forget to try the local tahin helva (sweetmeat of sesame seeds and molasses) and the Çıtırmık (a local dessert). While you wander in the bazaar the old Clock Tower will catch your attention. Built in 1895 by the Russian master Fulvari, the tower still carries his signature and the clock on the tower is still working.
The most beautiful samples of the “Historical Muğla Houses” are in the old district of Saburhane, just above the power station that in turn is above the Arasta. The main religious structures in the city are the Kurşunlu Camii (Mosque) (1493), the Pazar Yeri Mosque (1842), and the Şahidi Mosque in the centre. In the Şeyh Bedrettin district there is the Seyh Camii, built by Şeyh (Sheik) Bedrettin in (1565) with its minaret added in the early 19th century, and the Ulu Camii (the Great Mosque) which was built by the Menteşe Bey (Emir of the Turkish tribal kingdom) İbrahim in 1334 opposite of the electric station.
The Ottoman-built inns of Yarım Han, Yağcılar Han and the Konakaltı are also worth seeing. The Yağcılar Han, which has been restored and is still in use, is a frequent stopping point for tourists. The 250 year old Konakaltı Han is presently serving as the Konakaltı Culture Centre. The Vakıflar Hamamı (Turkish Bath), built by İbrahim the Menteşe Bey in 1334 as a part of the foundation to support the Ulu Mosque, after being restored has become a focal point for Muğla locals as well as domestic and foreign tourists.
A Saburhane tour in the foothills of the Asar Mountain
Keep wandering between the narrow streets of Saburhane through streets of old Muğla houses and climb to the hill. Do not forget to take your camera with you as at every turn you will find the urge to click away. The chimneys of the houses will catch your attention. The brick hat-shaped chimneys are the symbols of Muğla houses. Most of the houses are of two storeys and have a small courtyard. If you get permission to enter one of these courtyards, you do so from twin doors set into the tall walls surrounding the houses that enclose them and cut them off from the streets. Maybe a Muğla local will invite you into his/her house. You will be a guest in these houses, which do not get in the way of each other and do not block one another’s views as they rise layer by layer. The Saburhane district of the city has been declared a city protected area (SIT) and not only houses but also streets, walls and the twin doors, known as “kuzulu kapı” (lamb door), are also protected. Thanks to the joint efforts of the governor, the municipality and non-governmental organisations an awareness of city protection has been developed. It is wonderful that an attempt is being made by state and private organisations, as well as some individuals, to protect some of these houses that were on the brink of collapse.
On your way back you must visit the Muğla Museum. You should also see the Hafize Ana (Hafize Kaşıkara) House and the Şerefliler House, which was restored and transformed into a Culture Centre by the municipality. The 200 years old Hafize Ana House has been the recipient of an award.
The Muğla Museum
The museum building is opposite the courthouse and was used as a prison. You enter the museum through the garden area, which is full of ancient ruins and statues. A large number of the archaeological finds on display in the indoor section of the museum were excavated from the ancient city of Stratonikea. One of the most interesting sections of the museum is the Turolian Park Natural Historical Department, where fossils of animals and vegetation from between five to nine million years of age are on display. The fossils were unearthed from three fossil beds in Kaklıcatepe from the village of Özlüce where excavations were started towards the end of 1992. Another section worth visiting is the ethnography display, where various items of clothing and equipment from various places in the region are on exhibition.
Tel: 0252 214 49 33
Maketlerde Muğla Evleri
Muğla evleri o kadar ün kazandı ki, evler şimdi maketlerde yaşatılıyor ve meraklılarına satılıyor. 4 yıl önce yaptığı ilk Muğla evi maketi ABD’nin Ford Lauderdale kentindeki Dağa tarihi Müzesi’nde sergilenen Mimar Ertuğrul Aladağ, şimdi kurduğu atölyede ürettiği Muğla evlerini meraklılarına satıyor.
Muğla şehir merkezine 3 km uzaklıktaki Karabağlar Yaylası zaman ayrılıp görülmeye değer.
Soğuk kaynak suyu, ulu çınarları, bol meyve ağaçları ile sıcak günlerde bir kaçış yeridir Karabağlar. Yaylanın beyaz badanalı, kırmızı kiremitli evleri Muğla’nın Saburhane mahallesinin korumaya alınmış tarihi evleriyle aynı özellikleri taşır. Yayladaki bu yerleşim de korumaya alınmış, çirkin yapılaşmaya izin verilmemiştir. Yaşayanlar evlerine ve çevrelerine de sahip çıkmaktadır.
Karabağlar’a gelenleri bir sürpriz de beklemektedir. Keyif oturağı ve Süpüroğlu mahallerindeki lokantalarda nefis “kuyu büryanı” sunulmaktadır. Kaçırmayın deriz.
Yaylanın doğal ve tarihi dokusu korunup geliştirilirse eğer, yakın zamanda turistler için bir çekim merkezi olacağından kuşku yoktur.
Muğla çevresinde Karadağlar dışında başka gezi ve piknik alanları da var.
Ova’yı çevreleyen dağlardan biri olan Kızıldağ yamacında, çam ormanı içindeki Kızıldağ piknik alanı, Muğla-Denizli yolunun 18. km’sindeki Yaraş Piknik yeri ilk elde sayılabilecekler arasında.
Muğla House Model
The houses of Muğla have gained such a fame that they have been commemorated in miniature, with model houses being made and sold to those interested. The first Muğla house model was made by the architect Ertuğrul Aladağ and put on display in the Historical Museum of the American city of Fort Lauderdale four years ago. Now Aladağ sells the models he produces in his own workshop to those that have an interest in these unique houses.
Shopping and the Traditional Market
If you visit Muğla on a Thursday, do not miss taking in the weekly market. Tourist groups travel kilometres from their holiday resorts just to visit the Thursday bazaar. In the market, apart from an abundance of cheap fruit and vegetables, there is local handcraft lace, traditional headscarf edging, carpets and souvenirs. Those who miss the Thursday market should visit the Yağcılar Han for the locally woven materials and carpets. Yeşilyurt Hamlet, which is 14 kilometres from Muğla has its woven materials also available at the MELSA sales point below the Özel İdare Building in the city. The prices are very reasonable. Let us also remind you that you cannot find these in other places.
A wide range of the famed materials produced in Denizli are also available in the end of the city opposite the university at the CNS sales facilities.
The Muğla University
The Muğla University, located in the centre of the city, was founded more than a decade ago and has since added to the lively nature of the city.
The university, which is in the Kötekli district on the edge of the city, consists of various faculties, a school of higher education and vocational higher educational schools. There are also higher educations schools as a part of the university in towns of Muğla province, such as in Fethiye and Ortaca. Approximately, 11.900 students are enrolled at the Muğla University. In the university complex, apart from the educational facilities, there are congress and meeting halls, culture and entertainment centres, open air and indoor sports halls, swimming pools and sports facilities.
The Karabağlar Yayla (Black Vineyard) Plateau
The Karabağlar Yayla , three kilometres from Muğla, is well worth seeing. The Karabağlar, with its cold spring waters, tall plane-trees and many fruit trees is a good place to refresh yourself on hot summer days. The white red tiled houses on the high plateau bear the same characteristics of the Muğla houses. These residences have also been placed under protection and any inappropriate construction is banned. The locals protect their houses and the environment. A surprise awaits those who come to visit Karabağlar. In the restaurants of the Süpüroğlu district there is a special dish called “kuyu büryanı” (a meat dish cooked in an underground oven). We recommend that you do not miss it. There is no doubt that the high plateau would soon become an attraction point for tourists if it is developed by preserving its natural and historical delights. In the vicinity of Muğla, there are other visiting and picnicking areas apart from the Karabağlar. Among the leading sites is one of the mountains that surrounds the plateau, the Kızıldağ, where there is the Kızıldağ Picnic Area with its pine forest and the Yaraş Picnic Area which is 18 kilometres from Muğla on the Denizli road.
The Turolian Park
The fossils unearthed at Kaklıcatepe Hill in the village of Özlüce in the east of Muğla are exhibited in the Muğla Museum Natural History Section as Turolian Era finds. The excavations and research of the Kaklıcatepe fossils were started at the end of 1992 and have been categorised in three separate parts, with examples of cattle, rhinoceros, elephant like creatures, pigs, horses and carnivorous being unearthed. The era to which these finds have been dated is now known as the Turolian since it was in the Teruel Basin in Spain that the first such examples of now extinct species that once covered a wide geographical area from East Asia to Spain five to nine million years were first found.
Walking to the peak of Asar Mountain
Those who have faith in their fitness should try walking from Muğla centre to the peak of Asar Mountain. The walking tour beginning from the upper part of the Saburhane district and leading up to the peak takes about an hour. Asar Mountain is also known as Masadağ (Table Mountain), understandably,this name was given by locals since the top is as flat as a table. The reward of the hike is a stunning view and numerous ancient ruins scattered around the peak. The remains are possibly from Mabolla Castle, which is mentioned in Hittites writings. You can also see the remains of structures such as houses on the flat area to the east of the castle. In the area beneath this level, there are open sacred sites that reveal evidence of the Anatolian Hittites of the 2nd millennium BC, the Phrygians from the 1st millennium and the ancient Urartians, traditions of which remained until the late Carian and Lycia times. The southern sections of Mabolla Castle, built from rectangular shaped hard stone, are well preserved. On some of the stone blocks that have slid down the slope have holes that show they were held together with wooden clamp holes, suggesting the building dated from the 5th century BC.
Near to the northern flat area in of the Masadağ there is a Middle Age palace sited on a high terrace, which had at least three storeys and was made of rubble stone held together with mortar. On the eastern and western hills near Mabolla Castle there are tombs hewn into the stone, which were sadly pillaged recently.
Either on the way to or back from Mount Asar you can take the opportunity to visit the Değirmen Stream. A one hour walk in the direction of the stream will take you to the waterfall that then forms a lake. The trip gives you the chance to see the ruins of an historic church and the natural scenic views. You can take photos of the waterfall from above by using the stone path next to the riverbed. Beware of the slippery stones on the path. In hot summer days do not forget to pack your swimming costumes. The ending prize for a tiring walk would be jumping into the cooling waters of the lake.
You can get to the hamlet of Yeşilyurt, which lies 14 kilometres from the city centre, by minibuses that run every hour. The region, famed for its cloth weaving, has a history that goes back to 1500 BC, to the ancient city of Pisye, traces of which still remains. Its original name was possibly Pissuwa in the Luvi language but with Hellenisation process,it could have become Pisye. Until recently, Yeşilyurt was called Pisi Köy, meaning the village of Pisi, reflecting the Turkish pronouncing of its ancient name. The first written document mentioning the ancient city of Pisye has been dated to 196 BC. The document tells how this settlement, along with Idyma and Kyllandis, was recaptured by General Niagoras of Island of Rhodes from the Macedonian King Philip V. The Pisye acropolis is 1.5 kilometres to the south of Yeşilyurt. Two kilometres before the hamlet, on the top of the hill by the road there is an area scattered with many pottery pieces called by locals Aslanlı (With a Lion). There are also worked pieces of stone from ancient times, suggesting there might have been an outlying district in this region some time in antiquity. Even within the hamlet some old buildings such as mosques have rare stones from antiquity that have been salvaged and used in their construction.
Silkworms are bred in Yeşilyurt and silk has been produced here for 200 or 250 years. The various woven materials, whose production was once fading, are offered for sale through the Muğla Handcraft Limited Co. (MELSA), founded by the office of the Muğla Governor. The cloth made in the region is very healthy since the raw material used is cotton thread, sheep wool, ready wool or pure silk. As these materials are resistant to changes in temperature they are preferred for both summer or winter clothing. The locals produce their own silk and grow sheep to provide wool. As well as being able to purchase these materials in the hamlet, you can also find them on sale in the MELSA Ltd. Co. shop in Muğla below the İl Özel İdare building.
THE MUĞLA GUIDE
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS:
The Muğla Tourism Provincial Authority:
International 009 0 252 214 1261(PBX)
In Turkey 0 252 214 1261(PBX)
In Mugla 214 1261(PBX)
The Museum : (252) 214 49 33
Traffic Assistance : 154
Police SOS : 155
Gendarmerie : 156
Fire Brigade : 110
Emergency Services : 112
State Hospital : (252) 214 13 23 – 214 13 24
SSK Hospital : (252) 214 13 26 – 214 13 27
Yücelen Private Hospital : (252) 223 80 40
There are two three-star hotels in Muğla. See the guide section for the hotels in the book. The Governor’s office and the municipality are making a call to investors to help restore the old Muğla houses and to open them to tourism, utilising the potential of “cultural tourism”.
The Congress Centre
The four meeting halls in the recently completed Congress Centre of the Muğla University are available for tourism-related purposes. Thanks to an agreement between the Governor’s office and the university, travel agencies and other groups that wish to hold meetings can make use of the halls.
Culture and Art Folkloric Dances
Although Muğla had many folkloric dances in the past some of them have been forgotten. In the region there were two types of dances, one of which was accompanied by music and one that was not. However, the dances that had music were always more popular. The traditional Zeybek dance of the region could be performed at different speeds according to both the pace of the music and the dancer’s character and nature. This dance, which is more performed by men, consists of arm, leg and body movements that represent advance, attack, kneeling and turning on foot. It is possible to see these dances performed at a local wedding or at “Turkish Nights” held at some hotels.
Some of the most frequently sung local songs in Muğla are the Muğla Zeybeği, Kerimoğlu Zeybeğı, Feraye, Çökertme and the Kına Havaları (special songs sing by women the night before the wedding). The office of the Muğla Governor has arranged for singer Tolga Çandar to gather the traditional local songs and to produce a CD.
The Food of Muğla
The list of local Muğla dishes are as follows:
Soup: Tarhana (tomato soup), Dutmeç (mulberry soup)
Meat and Fish: Çopur (bream), Et Terbiyelisi (dressed meat), Döş Dolması (stuffed meat), Büryan (specially cooked meat), Balıklen (fish).
Vegetable dishes: Çıntar Kavurması (sauté), Ot Ekşilemesi (sour green mixed vegetables),.Galli Patlıcanı (dressed eggplant), Ebegümeci Kavurması (mallow sauté), Börülce Kavurması (bean sauté), Teltorlu Börülce (mixed vegetables)
Dough dishes and desserts: Keşkek (mix of wheat and mince meat), Saç Böreğı (grilled pastry), Zerde (fruit and wheat pudding), Katmer (flat pastry), Badem ve ceviz sucuk (almond and walnut sausage), Üzüm köftesi (grape kofte), Ballı kabak (honey melon).
Jams and Syrups: Üzüm (grape), Patlıcan (eggplant jam), Gül Suyu (rose syrup)
Some of the dishes that are traditionally cooked at home can be found in some restaurants in the centre of Muğla. If you want to taste the traditional home cooked dishes you could try Ömer’in Yeri (Omar’s Place) near the fountain in the city centre, Köfteci Kemal or other restaurants. Those who want to eat fish should go to the restaurant in the Kışla Park.
We would also advise you to try dessert shops in various places in the city, one of which has been awarded the ISO 14002 quality certificate.
The Mabolla Café Bar
Every night except Sundays there is live rock and popular songs of 1960s and 1970s. Tel: (252) 214 25 04
Cafede Kafe: In the Cafede Kafe, situated in an old building, we recommend you to see the handcrafts made by the café’s owner.
Sanat Evi: This arts centre has been opened in an old house near the historical bazaar by the manager of the Cafede Kafe.
Despina Bar: (252) 214 90 20
Golf Bar: (252) 214 93 70