For fame and glory, Iasos in Bodrum is one of Turkey’s humble historical sites. Iasos receives typically no more than a paragraph mention by websites and guidebooks, and the excavation team has officially recognized this problem. Yet to Bodrum peninsula locals, Iasos is a small, cherished historical landmark.
I had first attempted to visit in 2010, and staying true to habits, I got lost and ended up sitting in the middle of a mining quarry wondering what the rental car company would say about the state of their car. Curiosity was still in my mind, though, and in 2015, I finally went while on a Turkish painting holiday in Bodrum.
The painting itinerary included a day out at Iasos. The aim was to make sketches we could later paint as masterpieces, but at this point, I learned that painting and drawing were not my strong talents in life. After a short drive along the peninsula and through a traditional village, we arrived at the entrance. While other members picked a focal point, then sat down with their sketch pads and pencils, I used my camera instead.
About Iasos in Bodrum – Turkey
This ancient Carian city has a historical timeline bursting with events and prominent people. Caria was a Greek region covering most of Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts during the 11th to 6th century B.C. Sitting near the current-day village of Kiyikislacik, Iasos was once an island and a member of the Delian league of 468 B.C, of which its main aim was to fight invasion by the Persian Empire.
However, the Spartans invaded Iasos anyway. Those blokes don’t mess about in war and prove their masculinity through violence if the film is anything to go by. Fast-forward to the 4th century, and along came Alexander the Great, who also was a young man with an excessive amount of testosterone, and a desperate urge to invade half the world. Credit is due to though because he succeeded, and there was a brief period of calm before a king of Macedon wanted to repeat history by likewise invading.
Iasos eventually came under Byzantine rule, but by the 15th century, the city lay deserted when Ottomans invaded. So, there was a trend for everyone and anyone with an army to get their hands on Iasos. This was because the strategic position on Turkey’s Aegean coast made Iasos a good harbour city and point of defence.
So, if you are not confused by now, fast-forward to 1835 when the Italians started digging to discover the ancient structures we see today. Of course, anyone who has been to historical sites like Ephesus probably won’t be impressed by excavations, including a theatre, aqueduct, agora, the east gate and a temple. Still, there is still another reason to visit.
Aegean Dining at Iasos
After touring, we headed to Ceyar restaurant, a 3-minute walk from the ruins for Aegean and Mediterranean dining, which is a feast of fresh fish, seafood, and salad, all consumed while sitting by the seaside.
The restaurant is popular with locals and visitors because of its quality of food. Then I took a walk along the coastline past old houses and boats, both of which are ideal subjects for photographer enthusiasts or artists looking for topics to draw, sketch or paint. So, a day out at Iasos in Bodrum – Turkey, is a combination of history, creativity, and damn good food. You couldn’t ask for more.