My knowledge of Turkey extended to a fleeting visit years ago to Istanbul. Nonetheless, the richness of the Ottoman period and the history and treasures of Topkapi’s museum left a wonderful impression on me.
I went back to discover Turkey from a different perspective, since I wanted to catch the spirit of relaxation in Turkey. This is most evident in the lifestyle and hideaways around the Bodrum Peninsula and its surroundings.
To experience both the cultural richness and contemporary relaxation, look no further than ancient Myndos and modern Gümüşlük. Upon arrival in the village, a prominent sign of its historic importance is an arrow pointing to Eklisia church. An ancient 250-year-old Byzantine church that until 2012 was used for music concerts and cultural events. Sadly, it is now closed to the public.
Gümüşlük/Myndos dates back to the 4th century BC and is fascinating for the vast number of archaeological sites found there. Archeologists from Uludağ Üniversity have made some incredible discoveries over the years, including a large ancient theater that was constructed during the Hellenistic period around 400 BC, a sacred burial area and three naves of a 5th century church, as well as a 13th century tower.
It was amazing for us to see the remains of the foundations of buildings clearly visible in knee-deep water, creating a submerged path that leads from the beach to Rabbit Island (Tavsanadasi). According to legend, King Mausolos would take his love, Artemisiya, to the island to watch the magnificent sunset.
One of our reasons for going to Gümüşlük was that, unlike many other holiday destinations, it has not been over exposed. This small, quaint, charming fishing village today has a wonderful array of fish taverns, café’s and traditional Turkish delights to try.
We were able to take a leisurely stroll through the village without having to fight our way through hordes of tourists. We loved this historical territory but decided not to hop over to Rabbit Island, settling instead for a snack at a café along the beachfront, happy to relax there and appreciate the hidden beauty of Gümüşlük.