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Herakleia

Herakleia

Location

Located at the south side base of the Beşparmak Mountains on the shores of Bafa Lake there are 6.5km of rampart walls with 65 towers built on rocks and uneven ground.  

Guided Tour of Herakleia

Whilst on the road from Bodrum to the ancient city of Herakleia there are very interesting amphora shaped rocks to see and following this road will lead to the village of Kapikipi and onto the lakeside. Tourism is new to the village and the young people take the opportunity to act as amateur guides taking visitors up the mountain by donkey to view the ruins. The tour takes 5-6 hours and visits the ancient site of Arap Avulus which is near the village of Karpuzlu and where the ruins of an ancient theatre sit.

Ruins at Herakleia

Herakleia was built in a Hellenistic style using a regular plan with good defences constructed of solid walls and a tower and where the modern-day primary school building is today was once a multi layered agora.  

Here you will find ruins of an Athena Temple, Altar of Endymion, agora, city assembly building, theatre and hamam, all built during the Hellenistic period.

Temple of Athena

At the top of the rock is the Temple of Athena, there is a bouleterion in the courtyard of a house east of the agora.

Altar of Endymion

On the way to the lakeside the rough structure of the Altar of Endymion with a theatre on the upper hillside.  

History

Herakleia was a port city on the Latmos Gulf before being silted up with alluvium from the Menderes River; it dates back to the 7th century BC and was at its zenith during the Hellenistic and Roman eras when it flourished from sea trade.

The Legend

It became a bishopric centre in Byzantine times when the sacred area of Endymion was also considered holy by Christians.
 There is a legend of Endymion that tells of Selene, the Goddess of the Moon, on seeing a young shepherd asleep outside she fell instantly in love with him. This made the God Zeus jealous and in his anger he punished the shepherd and condemned him to an eternal sleep. Every night while the shepherd slept deeply the Goddess Selene would come and lie next to him and from doing this went on to bear 50 of his children that were all conceived whilst Endymion slept.

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