Marmaris is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Turkey. If you are travelling with your own vehicle, when following the road through the pine forests stop and take a break when you see the sign that reads,"İşte Marmaris" (Viola Marmaris). You will see the town from above. Although there has been a high level of construction in the town over the past 15 years, it still looks beautiful from this vantage point.
Marmaris, with its population increasing to 100,000 in the summer months, is now a huge holiday resort city. The bed capacity of the hotels has surpassed 60,000 and it is possible to find hotels that will suit all types of budget. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafes and entertainment places newly opened up.
Marmaris is one of the rare towns in Turkey where you can swim right in the city centre, despite the increased construction, as environmental and water treatment facilities have been installed. For those who seek cleaner seas and quieter spots there are boats trips that go to other coves or you can get there by land. If you are interested in water sports and nature activities the hotels and travel agencies here provide you with many alternatives.
The most important historic building in the town centre is the castle. The first castle built on this site was constructed up by the Ionians, with the present castle you see being built by the Ottomans in 1522. It was badly damaged by the shelling of a French battleship in 1914. The castle was opened to public in the Republican era and 18 houses and a fountain was constructed during this period. Inside the castle, which was restored in 1980-90, there is now a museum. The entrance of the castle opens right onto a garden. You can get to the top of the walls by staircases going up from either side of the courtyard. You should have a look at the view from the walls.
Two of the indoors areas now house an archaeological display. In both the garden and these rooms there are pieces excavated from throughout this region: amphorae, earthenware pieces, glassware, coins and decorative pieces from digs conducted at Knidos, Burgaz and Hisarönü. One of the galleries is set out as an ethnography section of a Turkish house and the other as the place of the castle commander.
Another Ottoman building in the town is the Hafza Sultan Kervansaray (caravanserai or travellers inn). In the inscription written on the building it is stated that the caravanserai was founded in 1545. The caravanserai, which is covered with arches on the top, is right at the entrance of the narrow street that leads to the castle. The seven small domed rooms of the caravanserai today serve as souvenir and gifts shops. The Historic Bazaar in the centre of the town is still functioning as a marketplace today. The only changes are in the people who shop there and the goods available, everything has became tourism oriented.
In the vicinity of Marmaris there are other structures that date from the Ottoman era. These include the İbrahim Ağa Camii (Mosque) in the Kemeraltı district, built in 1789, while the bridge of the Taşhan (Stone Han) and the Kemerli Köprü (Arched Bridge), 10 kilometres down the Muğla road, were built in 1552. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was said to have visited the tomb of Sarıana, famed for her prophecies, which is also in the Kemeraltı district before he started his campaign against the island of Rhodes. As the legend goes, all of the soldiers in the Ottoman army had the milk of the cow of Sarıana for breakfast in the preparation for this campaign.