Marmaris (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾmaɾis]) is a port city and tourist resort on the Mediterranean coast, located in Muğla Province, southwest Turkey, along the shoreline of the Turkish Riviera.
Marmaris’ main source of income is tourism. It is located between two intersecting sets of mountains by the sea, though following a construction boom in the 1980s, little is left of the sleepy fishing village that Marmaris was until the late 20th century. In 2010, the city’s population was 30,957, and peaks at around 300,000 to 400,000 people during the tourist season.
It is also a centre for sailing and diving, possessing two major and several smaller marinas. It is a popular wintering location for hundreds of cruising boaters, being also served by the nearby Dalaman Airport.
Marmaris has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) characterised by hot dry summers and mild rainy winters. Showers and rain are very unlikely between May and October.
Summers are hot and dry, and temperatures are especially high during the heatwaves in July and August. October is still warm and bright, though with spells of rain, and many tourists prefer to visit in the early autumn, especially in September, because the temperatures are not as hot.
Winters are mild and wet. Winter is the rainy season, with major precipitation falling after November. The annual rainfall can reach to 1,232.7 millimetres (48.531 in); the rainfall is concentrated during scattered days in winter falling in heavy cloudbursts which cause flash floods sometimes in flood prone areas.
Although it is not certain when Marmaris was founded, in the 6th century BC the site was known as Physkos (Ancient Greek: Φύσκος or Φοῦσκα), also Latinized as Physcus, and was in a part of Caria that belonged to Rhodes, contained a magnificent harbour and a grove sacred to Leto.
According to the historian Herodotus, there had been a castle on the site since 3000 BC. In 334 BC, Caria was invaded by Alexander the Great and the castle of Physkos was besieged. The 600 inhabitants of the town realised that they had no chance against the invading army and burned their valuables in the castle before escaping to the hills with their women and children. The invaders, well aware of the strategic value of the castle, repaired the destroyed sections to house a few hundred soldiers before the main army returned home.
The city became known as Marmaris during the period of the Beylik of Menteşe; the name derives from Greek màrmaron (marble), in Turkish mermer, in reference to the rich deposits of marble in the region, and the prominent role of the city’s port in the marble trade.
In the mid-fifteenth century, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror conquered and united the various tribes and kingdoms of Anatolia and the Balkans, and acquired Constantinople. The Knights of St. John, based in Rhodes had fought the Ottoman Turks for many years; they also withstood the onslaughts of Mehmed II. When sultan Suleiman the Magnificent set out for the conquest of Rhodes, Marmaris served as a base for the Ottoman Navy and Marmaris Castle was rebuilt from scratch in 1522.
In 1801 a British force of 120 ships under Admiral Keith and 14,000 troops under General Abercromby anchored in the bay for eight weeks, training and resupplying for their mission to end the French campaign in Egypt and Syria.
The 1957 Fethiye earthquakes almost completely destroyed the city. Only the Marmaris Castle and the historic buildings surrounding the fortress were left undamaged.
Since 1979, renovation work has been continuing at the castle. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the castle was converted into a museum. There are seven galleries. The largest is used as an exhibition hall, the courtyard is decorated with seasonal flowers. Built at the same time as the castle in the bazaar, there is also a small Ottoman caravanserai built by Suleiman’s mother Ayşe Hafsa Sultan.
In 2018, archaeologists discovered the 2300 year-old tomb of the ancient Greek boxer Diagoras near the city of Marmaris. They announced that a pyramid-shaped structure was the mausoleum of the Greek boxer. The following words were inscribed in Greek on the mausoleum: “I will be vigilant at the very top so as to ensure that no coward can come and destroy this grave,” Until 1970, the structure was believed to be the grave of a saint and was visited by locals seeking answers to their prayers, but upon discovery that it was not a holy site, the structure was looted.