Discovering the Aegean region of Turkey takes visitors on a panoramic, classical journey, from Canakkale on the Dardanalles(ancient Hellespont) to the finger of land off Marmaris known as the Datca Peninsula. Together, the coast and hinterland tell a story spanning some 5.000 years of Greek and roman history. This is where Homer's myths and heros come to life.
It is easy to imagine the sculpture clases at Aphrodisias, the busy streets of ancient Ephesus or a medical lecture at the famous Asclepium at Pergamun (Bergama). Most of modern-day Turkey was once part of the eastern Roman empire, known as Asia Minor. Manyof the remote classical sites in the Aegean region formed part of ancient Caria, an independent kingdom whose boundaries roughly correspond to the Turkish province of Mugla. Caria's origins are disputed but its resistance to Hellenization is well documented. The Carians prospered under Roman rule but retained some autonomy, with their sanctuary at Labranda, and Zeus as tehir deity. The Carian symbol, a double-headed axe, was inscribed on many buildings as a defiant trademark. The Mousoleum at Halicarnassus (modern-day Bodrum), buit as the tomb of Carian king Mausolus, was one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Aegean region contains many Christian sights. The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned in the Book of revelation, surround Izmir; Last resting place of Virgin Mary is just outside Ephesus; St John's Basilica is in Selcuk and the castle of Knights of St John still guards the harbour at Bodrum. The Aegean's original tourist resorts such as Kusadasi, Marmaris and Bodrum, have now matured, and offer superb facilities and sophisticated nightlife. Bodrum Halikarnas disco has an international reputation and World famous Milas handmade Turkish carpets are weaving by villager girls in this region.
Turkey's Mediterranean coast is synonymous with turquoise seas, sun and blue skies, and has a wealth of ancient remains. Originally colonized by the Greeks and later ruled by Romans, the region is littered with well-preservedclassical sites. However, Hittites, Seljuks, Ottomansand even the Crusaders have all left their distinctive imprints upon these shores.
The highlands of Lycia between Fethiye and Antalya, were the seat of an impressive civilization whose distinctive stone tombs - both free - standing and cliff-hewn-still dot the landscape. At ruined cities such as Pinara, Myra and Xanthos, it is possibel to glimpse the achievements and scale of the Lycian civilization. The city of Antalya, an important gateway to the Mediterranean region, boasts a spectecular cliff-top setting and quait walled quarter. It is also a good base for visits to the romantic mountain-top ruins of the Pisidian capital of Termessos and the monumental Roman remains at Perge and Aspendos. Bustling Side, with its temples of Apollo and Athena, is renowed for stunning sunsets.