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Muğla – an attractive tourist destination

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The province of Muğla covers an area that has the most famous of Turkey’s tourism centres within it’s boundaries.To many, it is a region that is “passed through” whilst traveling to one of its resorts however, like all regions (or counties in the UK), Muğla has its provincial capital, the city of Muğla.

The city of Muğla extends over a plain stretching from the foot of the Asar or Hisar (Castle) Mountain and is surrounded by Karadağ (Black Mountain), Kızıldağ (Red Mountain), Masadağ (Table Mountain) and Hamursuz Dağları (Unleavened Mountains).

The city, which was captured by the Selçuks in 1080, was recovered by the Byzantines in 1096 and then taken over by the Turkish Kingdom of Menteşeoğullan in 1284. The city was in turn seized by the Ottomans in 1390.

Explore the city

Muğla’s centre is Cumhuriyet Meydanı, the traffic roundabout with the statue of Atatürk from where everything you are likely to need is within walking distance.


The old part of the city, known as Saburhane in the ottoman era, was a district where Greeks and Turks lived together on friendly terms. Even after the population exchange in 1924, resulting in the Greeks leaving the city, this part of Muğla retained its atmosphere and charm.

Wander through the narrow streets of old Muğla houses, most of which are two-stories with courtyards. Look up and take notice of the brick hat-shaped chimneys that are symbols of the Muğla Houses.

Old houses in Saburhane. Photo Credit: En Son Haber

The Saburhane district has been declared a city protected area and not only the houses but also streets, walls and twin doors ( kuzulu kapı) are protected.

Muğla Arasta

The historical Ottoman bazaar Muğla Arasta, once one of the largest commercial centers in the region, is a popular spot in the city and home to more than 100 stores.

The Arasta’s narrow lanes are jammed with artisan shops and small restaurants. There are also shops that sell traditional souvenirs as well as the famous Muğla woven material. 

While you are wandering around the bazaar, watch out for the Old Clock Tower, built in 1895 by Filivari, a Greek master craftsman. The tower still carries his signature and the clock on the tower is still working.

Old Clock Tower, built in 1895 by Filivari.

Yağcılar Han.

The Ottoman-built inn of Yağcılar Han, which used to house traders passing through Muğla, has been restored and is still in use, a frequent stopping point for visitors. 

The Muğla Museum

You enter Muğla’s museum through a garden filled with ancient ruins and statues. A large number of the archaeological finds on display in the indoor section were excavated from the ancient city of Startonikea. 

One of the most interesting sections of the museum is the Turolian Park Natural Historical Department, where fossils of animals and vegetation from between five to nine million years of age are on display. The fossils were unearthed from three fossil beds in Kaklıcatepe in the early nineties.

Feeling hungry

If you feel hungry, try traditional local dishes such as ekşili döş dolması (stuffed sour meat), keşkek (wheat boiled with mincemeat) and the local helvacı tahsin (sweetmeat of sesame seeds and molasses).

Ekşili döş dolması. Photo Credit: Mutfağımdaki Fısıltılar

Getting there

Muğla is approximately 125 km northeast of Fethiye , a 1 h 50 min  drive via the D400.

Bus services run daily from Fethiye otogar (bus station)

Find the cheapest bus tickets from Fethiye to Muğla

Source: Guide to Muğla/Camp and Travel Blog

This post was first published on May 8, 2019

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