Marmaris is a coastal town, a port city and a tourist destination on the southwest Mediterranean coast of Turkey, in Mugla Province which can also be considered as the Mediterranean paradise. Marmaris splits the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea along with a long and narrow peninsula.
Marmaris’ main source of income is tourism. It is located between two intersecting set of mountains by the sea, though following a construction boom in the 1980s, little is left of the sleepy fishing village that Marmaris was until the late 20th century. In 2010, the city’s population was 30,957, and peaks at around 300,000 to 400,000 people during the tourist season.
Although it is not certain when Marmaris was founded, in the 6th century BC the site was known as Physkos (Ancient Greek: Φύσκος or Φοῦσκα), also Latinized as Physcus, and was in a part of Caria that belonged to Rhodes, it contained a magnificent harbour and a grove sacred to Leto.
According to the historian Herodotus, there had been a castle on the site since 3000 BC. In 334 BC, Caria was invaded by Alexander the Great and the castle of Physkos was besieged. The 600 inhabitants of the town realised that they had no chance against the invading army and burned their valuables in the castle before escaping to the hills with their women and children. The invaders, well aware of the strategic value of the castle, repaired the destroyed sections to house and a few hundred soldiers lived there before the main army returned home.
The city became known as Marmaris during the period of the Beylik of Menteşe; the name derives from the Turkish word mermer, (Greek màrmaron) which means marble in reference to the rich deposits of marble in the region, and the prominent role of the city’s port in the marble trade.
In the mid-fifteenth century, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror conquered and united the various tribes and kingdoms of Anatolia and the Balkans, and acquired Constantinople. The Knights of St. John, based in Rhodes had fought the Ottoman Turks for many years; they also withstood the onslaughts of Mehmed II. When sultan Suleyman the Magnificent set out for the conquest of Rhodes, Marmaris served as a base for the Ottoman Navy and Marmaris Castle was rebuilt from scratch in 1522.
In 1801 a British force of 120 ships under Admiral Keith and 14,000 troops under General Abercromby anchored in the bay for eight weeks, training and resupplying for their mission to end the French campaign in Egypt and Syria.
The 1957 Fethiye earthquakes almost completely destroyed the city. Only the Marmaris Castle and the historic buildings surrounding the fortress were left undamaged.
Since 1979, renovation work has been continuing at the castle. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the castle was converted into a museum and there are seven galleries. The largest is used as an exhibition hall, the courtyard is decorated with seasonal flowers. Built at the same time as the castle in the bazaar, there is also a small Ottoman caravanserai built by Suleyman’s mother Ayşe Hafsa Sultan.
Marmaris is currently known as one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations and largest resorts on the Aegean coast. With its surroundings, long coastline, outstanding landscape of pine-covered hills, isolated bays and inlets, wonderful beaches, ancient cities, marinas and all kinds of attractions.
Marmaris is a lovely resort where swimming is possible in the secluded bays as well as in front of the hotels in the city centre. The sea is always crystal clear. Marmaris has a long stretch of golden fine sandy beaches, small bays, coves and islands and has 300 days of sunshine during the year.
Marmaris is also a major centre for yacht tourism and blue voyage. Marmaris has easy and well built connections to the nearby airport in Dalaman, and to cities near by which include Mugla, Datca and Fethiye. Transportation in the town is also very well organized.