Stratonikeia, a well-kept secret in Southern Turkey

Mid-way, between Milas and Muğla in Turkey lies Stratonikeia, a well-preserved ancient site. Stratonikeia was one of the most important Carian cities, and it has been inhabited continuously since the Bronze Age. That’s 1.500 BC! So how come you’ve never heard of it? You may even have driven past it and failed to stop! After all, it is conveniently located on the main road connecting Bodrum to Muğla.

Restored Hamam At Stratonikeia

Restored Hamam At Stratonikeia

Granted, in Turkey, one is spoiled for choice when it comes down to ancient sites, and people are focussing on the more famous and bigger ones like Ephesus. Still, consider a stop at Stratonikeia for a different experience.

Stratonikeia offers the unique opportunity to combine visiting an ancient site with ongoing excavations and restorations while getting a taste of the day-to-day village life in Turkey. Well yes, when we said continuously before, that was exactly how we meant it. Even today, Stratonikeia is still inhabited.

Copperworker At Stratonikeia

Copperworker At Stratonikeia

Proof that a return visit can be full of surprises

We first visited Stratonikeia about five years ago, and we’d made a habit of stopping there regularly during our road trips. Though we have to admit our last stop must have been around two years ago. You would think that once you’ve visited an ancient site, you can take it off your list. Been there, done that. Wrong! We’ve said it before, even ancient sites evolve. And that is precisely the case at Stratonikeia. Structures that were ruins before have been restored.

And where some places were no more than bare land, new buildings have been unearthed, making a return visit to Stratonikeia like a new experience. So, it was time to take a look at our existing post about Stratonikeia and give it a thorough make-over. Check out how Stratonikeia has evolved in this post where we show you the current situation, but we also compare our older photos to give you an idea of the impact and size of the restoration works. This shows why a return visit can feel like a new discovery.

Stratonikea

Lovely Street

A former major city turned intimate

You can wander through the streets of the uninhabited part of Stratonikeia and be the only ones there. Discovering this ancient town, which has been partly restored already, is a bit magical. Having it all to yourselves makes up abundantly for the fact that a lot of the ‘old stones’ still have to be sorted, and the pieces of the puzzle need to be put back together. It all doesn’t seem to matter. Somehow you get a feel for the old town’s life as you walk along the narrow, paved streets and past the empty houses. This ancient site is majestic, impressive, and intimate at the same time.

What A Beautiful Sight!

What A Beautiful Sight!

Stratonikea

City Gate and Colonnaded Street At Stratonikeia

After walking the narrow cobbled streets, you get to admire the old city gates and the colonnaded street, a very different feel compared to the modest first impression you get around the old village square. Make sure to check out the mosaic floor in the Nymphaeum, right next to the city gates!

Majestic Columns At Stratonikeia

Majestic Columns

Colonnaded Street At Stratonikeia

Colonnaded Street At Stratonikeia

Stratonikeia is home to a Gymnasium that was built in the 2nd quarter of the 2nd century BC, and that is believed to be the largest known gymnasium from the Ancient Period. The north side is 105 m wide; the total length is approximately 267m. Nowadays, you’ll need more than a bit of vivid imagination to know what it must have looked like.

One Of The Circular Gymnasium Walls At Stratonikeia

One Of The Circular Gymnasium Walls At Stratonikeia

Inside The Ruins Of The Gymnasium

Inside The Ruins Of The Gymnasium

The mosque of the village has been beautifully restored. Behind it was what remained of the Seljuk Bath. The ruins are no longer ruins, but a beautiful example of how restoration works are an added value if they’re done right. Check out the difference in these photos!

Inside The Restored Hamam You Can Admire The Foundations Below Through The Glass Floor

Inside The Restored Hamam You Can Admire The Foundations Below Through The Glass Floor

Where We Found A Ruined Hamam During Our Previous Visit

Where We Found A Ruined Hamam During Our Previous Visit

Now that the restoration works on the mosque are done, the building is back in use. It testifies to the know-how of the team carrying out the works at Stratonikeia, and the vision they have on how to connect old and new. Inside the mosque, parts of the floor are made out of glass tiles, instead of carpet. They reveal the ancient structures below.

A Beautiful Example Of How Restoration Works Can Be A Happy Marriage Between Old And New

A Beautiful Example Of How Restoration Works Can Be A Happy Marriage Between Old And New

Minbar Inside Stratonikeia's Mosque

Minbar Inside Stratonikeia’s Mosque

The Theatre and Bouleuterion dating back to the 1st century BC are other well-preserved buildings in Stratonikeia. The Greco-Roman Theatre seats around 12.000 people.

The Theatre At Stratonikeia

The Theatre At Stratonikeia

Inside The Bouleuterion One Has A Lot Of Reading To Do!

Inside The Bouleuterion One Has A Lot Of Reading To Do!

A ‘new’ addition to Stratonikeia are the Latrines near the Roman Baths. Obviously, the Latrines are not new, quite the contrary, but the excavations in that area are recent, so none of the things visible today, were excavated a few years ago.

The Latrines

The Latrines

Sarcophagus At Stratonikeia

Sarcophagus At Stratonikeia

Stratonikeia is the perfect road-stop!

Visiting the theatre, the gymnasium, and necropolis surrounded by nothing but nature and silence is magnificent. Stratonikeia also has a little cafe where they serve çay (Turkish tea) and refreshing drinks underneath the trees, in the shadow of the mosque. This makes Stratonikeia a perfect place for a break while on the road. Strange as it may sound, but sitting there sipping your Turkish tea may well be one of the things you will remember for a long time after you’ve left.

Perfect Place Under The Trees

Perfect Place Under The Trees

Turkey has a lot of ‘old stones’ lying around, as we tend to call it disrespectfully. Some of those old stone sites just happen to be more enchanting than others. Being far from the madding crowds helps to enhance the experience at Stratonikeia. Getting off the beaten track and exploring some more unknown parts of the country often gives you the satisfaction of being the sole visitors of places full of history and charm.

Stratonikeia Has A Particular Charm

Stratonikeia Has A Particular Charm

Practical information to visit Stratonikeia Turkey

You’ll find Stratonikeia near Yatağan, on the main road connection Milas and Muğla. We’d advise you to plan this as a day-trip, or as a stop during a road trip. It’s only a short drive away from the Bodrum Peninsula or beautiful Gökova bay. Entrance is free of charge and weather permitting, you can have a drink or a simple meal at the café. During the tourist season, the ruined houses near the old village square are turned into souvenir and gözleme stalls.

✔️ Have you been to Stratonikeia? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the site to your bucket list.
Near The Old Village Square, The Ruins Have Become Souvenir Stalls Or Gözleme Places

Near The Old Village Square, The Ruins Have Become Souvenir Stalls Or Gözleme Places

Comment on Facebook
341 Shares

Check out these raving reviews about Stratonikeia on TripAdvisor to see that we’re not the only ones who love this place! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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 must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online.

In any case, don’t miss out on stunning Lagina which is just around the corner of Stratonikeia!

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is 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! 😉

We like to use Skyscanner to find the perfect flight. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

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! 😉

Check out these raving reviews about Stratonikeia on TripAdvisor to see that we’re not the only ones who love this place! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

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 must have guessed it already, we’re independent travelers. Joining groups for excursions or activities isn’t really our cup of tea. But we fully understand that not everyone is keen on exploring Turkey on their own. That’s when Get Your Guide comes in handy. They offer plenty of activities and sightseeing tours that you can pre-book online.

In any case, don’t miss out on stunning Lagina which is just around the corner of Stratonikeia!

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

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 still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is 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! 😉

We like to use Skyscanner to find the perfect flight. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

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!

Make Lists & Reviews

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

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!

MAKE LISTS & REVIEWS

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

JOIN THE TRIBE, FOLLOW US

Stratonikeia, a well-kept secret in Southern Turkey