Iasos, Bodrum: often overlooked, always pretty!

Bodrum, and by extension the entire Bodrum Peninsula, changes from being a tranquil haven in winter to a buzzing tourist destination during the summer months. The resorts on the peninsula all have their character and vibe, and while one is more popular than the other, each one of them is squeaking under the number of people visiting. After all, Bodrum evolves from a population of 300.000 out of season to a whopping 1.5 million people over summer. It’s the price to pay for being popular. Still, those looking for a bit of quiet, always have the option of visiting Kıyıkışlacık, better know as Iasos, Bodrum. We have to confess; we didn’t even mention the place in our overview of Bodrum Peninsula resorts. That’s because technically, Iasos isn’t located on the peninsula. It lies on the edge, though, and it is overlooking it. And because Kıyıkışlacık is a great place to visit, and Iasos is a lovely ancient site, we felt it deserved its dedicated post. This is why you need to visit.

What A Serene Setting! Iasos' Eastern Stoa

What A Serene Setting! Iasos’ Eastern Stoa

A bit of historical background on Iasos, Bodrum

Iasos (or Iassos depending on the source) is over 4.000 years old, according to archaeological finds. It was a wealthy little town, with an income generated mostly from the flourishing fishing trade, which still thrives up until the present day. The Carian settlement was a colony of Argos and was founded with the help of Miletus. As a member of the Delian League, Iasos got caught up into the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC). It was first conquered and plundered by the Spartans, and later, in the 4th century by Alexander the Great followed by Philip V, king of Macedon. The latter was forced by the Romans to give Iasos to Ptolemy V of Egypt. After that, the city came under Byzantine rule before falling into Ottoman hands, when it was abandoned around the 15th or 16th century. The nearby village Asin Kurin (today’s Kıyıkışlacık), remained populated until today.

Isn't This Divine? Olive Tree Meets City Wall

Isn’t This Divine? Olive Tree Meets City Wall

Iasos: the landmarks

In all honesty, we don’t need a lot of spectacular landmarks to feel that a site is worth a visit. Sometimes, it’s all about the atmosphere, and there are good vibes in abundance at Iasos and Kıyıkışlacık. The good news is that you do get a lot of great on-site exploring on top of that. Early excavations at Iasos date back to the beginning of the 19th century, but things gained momentum from 1960 onwards when a team of Italian archaeologists started working at Iasos. Since then, excavation works have been ongoing, and some of the discoveries were spectacular. From remains dating back to the Bronze Age to a wealth of ceramics with Minoan influence, and then, of course, bigger structures such as the Bouleuterion, The Customs Building, or the Mausoleum, now home to the Iasos Museum.

Still Life At Iasos, Bodrum

Still Life At Iasos, Bodrum

The Bouleuterion

The Bouleuterion is one of the first structures you’ll notice after entering the site. It lies in the south-west corner of the Agora, and the original building dates back to the 4th century BC. The current version is younger, from the 1st century AD, and the function of the building also changed over time from being a city council building to a small covered theatre. The seats at the edge’s of the steps had lion’s paws, and the chorus, where the orchestra sat, was paved in red and white marble. During Hadrian’s rule, the façade was embellished with rich sculptures.

Bouleuterion With The Southern Stoa Next To It

Bouleuterion With The Southern Stoa Next To It

Stoa Between Iasos' Bouleuterion And Agora

Stoa Between Iasos’ Bouleuterion And Agora

The Agora & Stoae

The Agora at Iasos dates back to 136 to 138 AD, which was when the Stoae were constructed. The northern and southern Stoa had double porticoes and a double-sloped roof. The south Stoa gave access to the Bouleuterion, the sanctuary of Artemis Astias, and some public buildings such as a library. The eastern Stoa was a simple portico connecting public rooms and offices, like the one from the man in charge of the market.

The Eastern Stoa, Now Home To Columns And Olive Trees

The Eastern Stoa, Now Home To Columns And Olive Trees

Details Matter

Details Matter

The Customs Building

The Customs Building is most probably one of the most iconic images of Iasos. This building dates back to the mid-Byzantine period. It was built at the end of the eastern pier as a defense and watchtower. The primary function of both piers enclosing the western harbor at Iasos was not to break the water but to coordinate naval passage.

The Sandy Spot Near Iasos' Customs Building Is A Favorite Barbecue Spot For Locals

The Sandy Spot Near Iasos’ Customs Building Is A Favorite Barbecue Spot For Locals

We Found Our Favorite Bench Overlooking The Customs Building At Iasos, Bodrum

We Found Our Favorite Bench Overlooking The Customs Building At Iasos, Bodrum

The House of the Mosaics

The House of the Mosaics is located on the southern slopes of the hill. The Hellenistic-stye building from the 2nd century AD had a spacious courtyard and several rooms. The three interconnecting rooms to the north feature stunning mosaic floors, with different motifs and geometric patterns in each room. The remains of some frescoes on the walls are still visible today. One doesn’t need to be an archaeologist to see that this must have been a spectacular dwelling, with an equally dramatic view.

The Level Of Detail In The Mosaics Is Amazing

The Level Of Detail In The Mosaics Is Amazing

The House Of The Mosaics At Iasos

The House Of The Mosaics At Iasos

The ‘Fish Market’, actually a Mausoleum

The Iasos Museum is located a few streets away from the ancient site in a building called the ‘Fish Market’. Up until this day, this is also how the locals call it: balık pazarı. Still, despite the towns flourishing fishing trade, this place was never used as a fish market. The name comes from an incorrect identification and has been used ever since. The beautifully restored building is, in fact, a Roman Mausoleum from the 13th century AD with a temple in the center of its courtyard. Inside the temple, the funerary chamber has a few low columns. It is unknown who built the Mausoleum.

Overview Of The Iasos Museum Courtyard With The Temple In The Background

Overview Of The Iasos Museum Courtyard With The Temple In The Background

The Mausoleum Temple Seen From One Of The Porticoes

The Mausoleum Temple Seen From One Of The Porticoes

The exposition at the ‘Fish Market’ consists of an important collection of artifacts found in Iasos. Seeing these objects displayed in such a beautiful building is the perfect addition to your Iasos visit.
The Fascinating Iasos Museum In Kıyıkışlacık

The Fascinating Iasos Museum In Kıyıkışlacık

The Spectacular Entrance Gate Of The Iasos Museum Seen From The Inside

The Spectacular Entrance Gate Of The Iasos Museum Seen From The Inside

The wider area of Iasos, Kıyıkışlacık

Apart from the Iasos landmarks featured in this post, the site also houses the remains of a Theatre. Unfortunately, there is not much more left than a wall after its marble was used to build the quays of Constantinople’s port. You’ll also find what is left of three sanctuaries, for Artemis Astias, for Zeus Megistos, and Demeter and Kore. More ruins include a Basilica, a necropolis with chamber tombs, and the striking baldaquin tomb at the entrance of the village. This tomb is often mistaken for a Greek clock tower. Part of the reason that some areas of Iasos have been so well-preserved is a natural disaster. Iasos was covered in ashes after the Thera volcano erupted, safeguarding Iasos’ sewage system and tunnels under a thick layer of volcanic ashes.

The Baldaquin Tomb At The Entrance Of Kıyıkışlacık Village

The Baldaquin Tomb At The Entrance Of Kıyıkışlacık Village

Overlooking The Agora Towards The City Wall And One Of The City Towers

Overlooking The Agora Towards The City Wall And One Of The City Towers

Kıyıkışlacık village with its lovely waterside fish restaurants is worth a visit on its own. It is most probably the most laid-back place near the Bodrum Peninsula to have a delicious fish dinner. Other fascinating sites near Iasos, Turkey include Euromos, Labraunda, Milas, Bafa and even Miletus and Didyma. If you’re looking to visit an extra special village where 500-year-old nomadic traditions are kept alive, check out Çomakdağ. Don’t forget to check out the tabs below for information on how to get to Iasos, Bodrum, or our top tip for a place to stay with a view of the ruins.

Do you want to add Iasos to your bucket list? Or have you been there and would you like to leave a review? Head over to our Turkey Trip Planner!

Comment on Facebook
225 Shares
Source: Academia.edu & the on-site information boards

We honestly loved our visit to Iasos, Bodrum. It is a perfect combination of culture, sea, and wining and dining. Read these reviews on TripAdvisor to disocver what others think of it. Do you still have questions? Send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Please note that there are no facilites on site, so carry plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes and protect yourself against the sun and heat.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Make sure to check out the lovely fish restaurants at the harbor. They serve delicious food in a great setting. Also visit the wider area. We’ve mentioned a few interesting places in this post. You can use our interactive map of Turkey to see which places are close to Iasos, or to wherever in Turkey you are located.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We fell in love with ‘The Olive House‘ or ‘The house on the hill’, as we call it. This holiday home is absolutely perfect! It’s quaint, it’s got THE views, and it’s budget-friendly. Jackpot, right? If you’re more of a hotel person, these hotels near Iasos on Hotels.com are a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Iasos is easy to reach by car. Coming from the Bodrum Peninsula, drive past the airport until you notice a sign to Iasos on your left-hand side. Keep following the signs until you reach Kıyıkışlacık and Iasos. If you’re flying in, you’ll notice the site is a dream come true for plane spotters, as it lies right underneath the landing path for Bodrum-Milas Airport.

If you rely on public transport, your options are the dolmuş from Milas otogar, or the shuttle boat from Güllük to Port Iasos Marina, which runs from May till October.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We honestly loved our visit to Iasos, Bodrum. It is a perfect combination of culture, sea, and wining and dining. Read these reviews on TripAdvisor to disocver what others think of it. Do you still have questions? Send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Please note that there are no facilites on site, so carry plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes and protect yourself against the sun and heat.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Make sure to check out the lovely fish restaurants at the harbor. They serve delicious food in a great setting. Also visit the wider area. We’ve mentioned a few interesting places in this post. You can use our interactive map of Turkey to see which places are close to Iasos, or to wherever in Turkey you are located.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We fell in love with ‘The Olive House‘ or ‘The house on the hill’, as we call it. This holiday home is absolutely perfect! It’s quaint, it’s got THE views, and it’s budget-friendly. Jackpot, right? If you’re more of a hotel person, these hotels near Iasos on Hotels.com are a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Iasos is easy to reach by car. Coming from the Bodrum Peninsula, drive past the airport until you notice a sign to Iasos on your left-hand side. Keep following the signs until you reach Kıyıkışlacık and Iasos. If you’re flying in, you’ll notice the site is a dream come true for plane spotters, as it lies right underneath the landing path for Bodrum-Milas Airport.

If you rely on public transport, your options are the dolmuş from Milas otogar, or the shuttle boat from Güllük to Port Iasos Marina, which runs from May till October.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

You may also like these posts:

You may also like these posts:

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US

Have you been to #Iasos, #Bodrum? If not, check it out in this post. You\'ll start making plans for a visit right away! Waterside dining and ruins combined! #Turkey #Iassos #Kıyıkışlacık