Maringret’s Ruins – What to see on the Loryma and Knidos Peninsulas

 

location of ancient ruins on Loryma and Datça peninsulas

click on map to view as full size

The two peninsulas that extend westwards from Marmaris in the province of Muğla, Turkey are scattered with ruins. In attempting to find both a list of ruins along with their locations and historic details, we encountered major gaps.

This web page is an attempt to collect what information we could find pertaining to the ruins, their locations, and access to those locations. It’s not a complete listing, rather it represents what we were able to find. Other than information on modern day transportation connections we are not adding any new information but rather attempting to catalogue existing information.

Our list of sources appears at the bottom of this page in the section “Sources”. We’ve chosen to refer to the two peninsulas as the Knidos and Loryma peninsulas after the two main ancient cities located there.

Disclaimer:

No one on Maringret is an archaeologist in any sense, merely curious about ancient things. So this web page tries to assemble what information can be found on the internet, not provide knowledgeable interpretations of the history of the ancients.

Note:

The names that we use in the modern day for these sites are often transliterated from ancient languages. Obviously there are no recordings of these languages and so the spelling of the names in modern day English or Turkish are often inconsistent and often differ between sources:

examples
k c as in “Knidos” versus “Cnidos”
o u as in “Amos” versus “Amus”
s ss as in “Bybisos” versus “Bibissos”
y i as in “Bybissos” versus “Bibissos”
sos sios as in “Bibassos” versus “Bibassios”

The ancient people of the Loryma and Knidos peninsulas were a subset of the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Specifically they were of the sub-group that migrated westwards across Anatolia towards the western coastline and some of them further westwards to the islands of the Aegean, as opposed to those that migrated either northwards towards what is modern day Russia, or through Thrace to modern day Europe.

Most of the information on these sites comes from written records, these writings being of two main types: inscriptions on permanent items (e.g. marble pieces) at other sites; and writings on what would be today called books but took the form of scrolls in the ancient times. Some of the sites such as Amos do not appear in either source and so very little is known of them (although The MegaLithic Portal reports that in 2015 a decision was taken to excavate Amos). Others such as Bybissos have multiple references that disagree amongst themselves. Bybissos is an example where the site was first placed at one location and then relocated when a more credible inscription was found at another site. So it seems that even the ancient sites are in a state of flux of sorts.

Some of the sites have been researched and excavated by academic archaeologists, some (typically in the 1800s) were excavated by untrained archaeologists, some sites have never been systematically explored by trained persons. Some sites are well signed, others have not a trace of labelling or directional signage. Some sites stand alone in their isolation, others are being subsumed by modern day activities (a problem reported on the TAY web site).

Some of the sites host multiple ruins, from different eras. Where this is the case we have tried to note this in our summaries.

  • Amos – ancient settlement
  • Bybassos – ancient settlement (referred to as “Erine” in earlier times)
  • Carian Trail (the portions lying on the 2 peninsulas)
  • Hydas – ancient settlement (also known as “Hygassos”)
  • Kasara – ancient settlement
    • Serçe harbour
  • Kastabos (Temple of Hemethea)
  • Kedrai – ancient settlement
    • the ruins at Cleopatra’s Beach
  • Kizilköy Kalesi (Selimiye castle)
  • Kizkumu Island castle
  • Knidos
  • Loryma
  • Marmaris castle
  • Phoenix – ancient settlement
    • near Taşlica
  • Physkos – ancient settlement
  • Syrna – ancient settlement
    • near Bayir
  • Thyssanos – ancient settlement
    • near Söğüt

Where we have been able to find trails to the sites, we have made traces of them with the follow colour codings:

Description
paved asphalt road (usually with vehicular traffic on it)
graded dirt road, usually wide enough for vehicles, often forest access roads
walking trail – ranges from a marked route on flat land to a scramble up unsecured slopes

Foliage growth is very quick on the Loryma peninsula while the Knidos peninsula lies in a partial rain shadow. So sign markers can become covered or uncovered with the seasons. We once visited Knidos and found the site markings excellent – we visited again later the same year after a very wet period and the signs (and some parts of trails) were overgrown with little evidence that any human had ever passed that way before. We even wondered if we had misremembered parts of the site the difference was so extreme.

When searching for information on antiquities online, it seems that different days yield different results. And so it happens with actual exploring on foot. We have hiked for some hours to a location to file to locate the principal ruins there. That necessitated a return to the computers and more searching which then yielded additional descriptions of the location of the ruins. Upon returning we immediately found the ruins which we must have walked right past the first visit. But with the luxuriant foliage, we just happened to not look the “right direction” at the “right time”. Not to mention that some of the descriptions were less than clear – we have not listed such sources on these webpages.

We have tried to visit all these sites ourselves. Anything specific to the site or reaching it we list on the detail page for that site.

Online Sources

Other sites for information are: WikiLoc.com which has GPS tracks uploaded; as well as WikiMap.com.

As some of the ancient sites lie on the Carian Trail, there are GPS tracks for some of the ancient sites (although it may be as part of a larger walk along the Carian Trail).

Printed Sources

  • Ancient Turkey by Antonio Sagona & Paul Zimansky

Endless thanks to the many websites and the people who operate them. With the exception of the university hosted sites, these people aren’t paid.

We also owe special thanks to The Megalithic Portal website whose rating system for the ancient sites we have copied:





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