Marmaris is a town in Turkey, at the point where the Mediterranean Sea intersect with the Aegean Sea parks variety in small space. From historical monuments of the bygone eras to the shopping centers, tourist’s sea activities and rich Byzantine, Persian, Roman and Ottoman architecture, this town are worth checking out. It’s also home to one of the most visited castles in Turkey, Marmaris Castle
Marmaris Castle is the city’s oldest landmarks. It’s a popular stopping point for those on rural tourism around Turkey. It’s among the few castles in Turkey that boast of an in-house museum.
The castle with its museum forms a significant piece of Marmaris history; initial settlements were built around the castle and have since grown from around it into the present town – a top tourist destination with plenty of marinas and fun tourist activities like sailing, cruising, and diving.
But the trendy coastal town of the present day is a contrast to the humble fishing village it once was. In fact, Marmaris is not even the town’s original name:
History of Marmaris Castle
It’s generally believed that the castle was built around 1044BC, as an accommodation structure. Since then, it has fallen into the hands of great emperors throughout the ages.
•Construction by the Ionians
Ionians invaded the Caria lands around 1044BC. Their reign extended from the Milet to the Ephesus region. They’re believed to have been descendants of the Greek hero Ion. It was during their reign that the Castle got built.
After Ionians, Caria felt into the hands of several other empires including the Dorians and Alexander the great whose army besieged the castle in 334BC. Later the Romans took over in 138BC till the mighty Ottomans arose in 1425AD, took over the city and made it a significant part of their territory.
During the Ottoman’s reign, Suleyman the Magnificent changed the name of the city from Physkos to Mimaras and in his attempts to seize Rhodes Island, he renovated the castle for use in his military operations.
•Reconstruction by the Ottomans
During his 1422 expeditions to seize Rhode Island, Suleyman the Magnificent ordered the restoration of the castle once occupied by the Ionians. How the castle got its name however is a stuff of legends. One story close to the truth is that of “Hang the Architect”:
That during the castle reconstruction, Suleyman visited it and did not like what he saw as it was small, so he told his architect to make it magnificent, and he’d return to inspect it after laying siege to Rhodes.
Well, after the expedition he returned, but his order hadn’t yet been fulfilled. So Suleyman he gets angry and orders the soldiers to hang the architect. In Turkish “Mimar” means the architect and “as” hang; therefore, arose the name Mimaras which has since changed to the tongue-friendly Marmaris.
He also ordered a caravanserai to be built on the road that led to the castle too. The caravanserai is still present and serves as a cafeteria and souvenir shop.
•Damage from French military fire in 1914
After the Ottoman reign, Marmaris served as an important port harbor. In 1913, it was used by the Germans to shelter their destroyers. It was during the First World War that the castle came under fire from the French Fleet. It sustained significant damage.
•Use for residential purposes.
The castle was turned into residences till the 1980s. Inside the castle are 18 houses, a cistern, and an arc; communities established their residences in here until the castle was restored and turned to an archaeological monument.
Marmaris Castle as an Archaeological Monument.
Restoration works on the castle happened in the 1980s and were turned into a monumental site in 1983 upon registration. As an archaeological monument, the castle boasts of seven indoor sections: Two of the areas have been purposed for archeological lounges, one area serves as an ethnography lounge, and the remaining are galleries and storage sections
Why Should You Visit the Castle?
•To get stunning views of the harbor
The castle, as aforementioned, has gone through several emperors’ hands. It boasts of a magnificent landscape and gardens. It is an excellent place to soak into the history, enjoy the breeze from the coast as you take in the panoramic views of the city from the watchtowers.
•Celebrate arts from the bygone eras
The archeology lounge displays antiquities from the bygone era – there are about 5000 years of history therein. The coins, amphoras, glassware, ornaments, and earthenware showcased are from the Hellenistic, Byzantium, and Roman era. In the ethnography, you’ll see the weapons, furniture, and kitchenware that characterized the Ottoman empire. The artifacts are well displayed and accompanied with information boards.
•Take nice pictures
The castle architecture itself is magnificent; from the windows, lookout towers and terraces you get stunning views of the vicinity below; such views are worth preserving so bring your camera with you along the trip. Which brings me to the visitor information:
Are Cameras Allowed?
What Is the Entry Fee to Marmaris Castle?
What is the Opening Hours for Marmaris Castle?
A lot of people say the best time to tour the castle is around 2 PM.
How To Get To Marmaris Castle
There’re also buses in the town that ferry people to Marmaris center, ask the reception at the booking office, just alight at the bar street, and you shall see the directions to Marmaris Castle; it’s just a short walk away but a little steep. But if you can beat the slope, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the turquoise Mediterranean water and the rich history of the harbor.