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Mylasa (Milas)

The ancient city of Myiasa, located at the present Turkish town of Milas, some forty miles to the west of Muğla, was a Carlan sanctuary joined with the neighboring religious center at Labranda. It was at one time considered the «sanctuary of all the Carians.» Approaching the town on highway 30 from the direction of Söke, be sure not to miss the truly impressive Temple of Euromos. This is’ found a few miles past Selimiye on the left side of the roadway. This temple, now set in among the olive groves, was the center of the ancient Carian city of Euromous. The structure, remarkably well preserved, still retains some of the Corinthian capitals atop its narrow fluited columns It Is thought to have been built around the time of Hadrian, in the second century A.D. From the temple, continue down the road, out of the olive groves onto the fertile plain of MiJâs and the site of ancient Myiasa on the slopes of Mount Sodra Dağı, This was the birthplace and ruling center of Mausolus. Kih^ of Caria in the fourth century B.C. He later moved his capital to Halicarnassus, the present-day resort town of Bodrum on the shores of the Aegean, and built his famous Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today in Myiasa, one con see a smaller version of the tomb sti/J standing and in an excellent state of preservation. Most of the surviving works and ruins for the visitor to see in Myiasa are from the Roman and Ottoman periods.

HISTORY OF MYLASA

The Dorians were successful in taking over control of Myiasa and the surrounding cities from both the Lelegians and the Carians. Later, the Carians regained control of Myiasa, but they were beaten -down onöe again ‘by the armies of Persia, When Alexander the Great died, the cities in Carla were fought over by Alexander’s officers, most notably Antigonus, called «one-eye» and Lysimachus. It is said of the latter that only his dog mourned his death. The Roman legions were next to conquor Myiasa. They turned the governing authority over to the province of Rhodes, but were back again to tame the unruly trustees. After the Romans came the Seljifk Turks in the eleventh century A.D. They were fallowed by Sultan Beyazit I as he moved across the countryside acquiring new territories for the rapidly growing Ottoman Empire, The invasion of Anatolia by Tamerlane with his zealous bands of warriors reclaimed Mylasa for the Menteşe, rulers. Later, Sul tart Murat once again took It for the Ottomans. In the early beginnings of Mylasa, the city was connected to Labrada, the first Carlan capital and sanctuary of Zeus, by means of a nine-mile-long, richly ornate, marble-pavecf Sacred Way. See the section concerning Labranda far more particulars.

RUINS OF MYLASA

Among the ruins and sites to see in Mylasa is, most noteworthy, the Mümüşkesen or tomb that is thought to have resembled the famous, now nonexistent monument of King Mausoius in Hallcar-rtassos. Other points of interest in the cily include the arched gate that is called Batalı Kapi, the fine, standing Corinthian column which marks the site of the Temple of Zeus, the foundations of a Roman temple and some scanty evidence of city fortifications and walls.

The Roman tomb, located in the upper section of town called Giimüşkesen or The Silver Purse, is thought to date to the second ^ century A.D. The tomb of Mausoius was built much earlier, in 350 B.C., and archaeologists feel that this lovely and well-preserved structure in Mylasa Is a greatly scaledidown replica of the earlier one. The tomb consists of a square colonnade with twelve Corinthian columns, perfectly preserved in place, and a stepped, pyrainid-style roof. A sepulchral chamber is below. This is the best preserved and most important extant structure of the area. The Carian Baltalı Kapı or Gate with Axes, named thus because of the double ok or labrys Insignia en,graved on the keystone of the arch, is all that remains of the second-century A.D, city walls.

The Temple of Zeus, found in the section of Mylasa called Hisarbaşı, dates to the first century B.C. The original local god of the Carlans was later called Zeus by the Greeks, and this temple formed the center of the religious sanctuary. Its temenous or enclosure wall was constructed of excellent ashlar masonry. A fine Corinthian capital, carved with acanthus leaves, is standing amidst the remains of the temple. The structure Itself originally stood on a raised podium, some ten feet above’ ground level.

As for the Islamic period, various mosques and religious edifices dating from (he fourteenth century are to be found in Mylüsa, These, to name a few of the more striking and historically more Important ones, include the Gazi Ahmet Bey Mosque, the Hacı llias Mosque and the Firuz Bey Mosgue, Of these three, the Firuz Bey Mosque is the most worthy of your notice. It was constructed in 1394, albeit with some borrowings from the surrounding more ancient, structures and is a good example of Ottoman architecture of the period. The Selâhottin Mosque was built in 1330 by Orhan Bey, and a minaret, II that remains, can be seen of the fourteenth century mosque constructed by Menteşeoğlu Gail Ahmet Bey. The exquisite mlmber can be seen In the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts of Istanbul. On the outskirts of Mylasa, some other scattered ancient remains can be found Including a Roman aqueduct. The well-fortified Byzantine castle of Peçin Kale is found a little more than a mile from Milas on the road south. This huge rock is considered by some to be the original site of Mylasa. Also in the immediate area are the remains of a temple and other ruined structures which date to Byzantine and Ottoman times. The fourteenth century tomb of Ahmet Gazi can !be seen on the hill as well. The fortress standing out atop the rise once stood guard at the crossroads of Halicarnassus and the open sea to the south, Muğla to the east, and Myfasa to the north.

A bit further south one comes across the rock tomb carved in the form of a temple, not far from the road at Süleyman Kavağı. This is thought to date to as early as the fourth century B.C. Also situated near Milas, at the spot called Kalinagll, is a stone tower that is said to date to the Hellenistic period. Nearby are the remains of a fourth century B.C. temple, the Sinurl Temple. This was later converted to a basilica by the Byzantines.

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