Datça is a town in Aegean Turkey, located on the long and narrow Reşadiye Peninsula, which forms the boundary between the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Known as the Chersonisos Cnidia in ancient times, the extreme western end of this peninsula is marked by the ruins of Knidos.
Palamutbükü developed as a quiet resort on one of the best beaches of the peninsula, about 20 km west of the town centre. A lot of cheap hotels, guesthouses and restaurants can also be found here.
Datça is located 70-80 km west of Marmaris. The road from Marmaris (road number: D400) is the only way to arrive overland.
Although it’s possible to find direct bus services from main centres of the country, such as Istanbul during summer months; in the rest of the year your best bet is to arrive at Marmaris first, then transfer to another bus bound for Datça there.
There are ferries from Bodrum, arriving at the port on the northern coast of the peninsula. From there, Datça -which is on the southern coast of the peninsula- is a 10-15 minutes drive away.
It is easy to get around between the town centre and Palamutbükü by taking the frequent buses.
Aphrodite of Knidos
Knidos was the site of the Aphrodite of Knidos, a statue depicting a nude goddess of love created by the sculptor Praxiteles of Athens in the 4th century BC.
When Praxiteles got an order from the people of the island of Kos for a statue of Aphrodite, he decided to sculpt two versions, one of them of a more conventional type, the lady being fully draped, and the other one much bolder, the deity visualised completely bare. The Koans were shocked at the self-confidence of a naked goddess statue, and decided to go for the covered version. The controversial one, then, found an unexpected purchaser — the Knidians, the mainland neighbours of the Koans.
The Knidians built a circular open air temple for the statue of their patroness, so that it could be appreciated from all sides. The statue became so famous that it attracted travellers from far and wide to the city in numbers, sparking one of the earliest forms of tourism in the Mediterranean. The Knidians were so proud of their statue that they minted coins with images of it, and even turned down an offer by Nicomedes I, the king of Bithynia (modern İzmit) to pay over the huge debt of Knidos in exchange for the statue.
During the Byzantine period, the Aphrodite of Knidos was taken to Constantinople. The record of its whereabouts and its fate got lost during the Nika revolt of 532 CE, the most violent riot in the history of the Byzantine capital which devastated most of the city.
In the centuries following its creation, the statue was reproduced over and over again so many times that it is possible to have an idea on how the original looked. The Colonna Venus, a Roman copy of the statue now in display in Museo Pio-Clementino (part of the Vatican Museums), is thought to be the most faithful reproduction, while in the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli is an attempt to recreate the original round temple in similar dimensions with another copy of the statue in the middle.
And the clad Aphrodite of Kos? It didn't survive the following centuries, either. Some argue it never existed in the first place, with the word about it being made up by later Romans with the intention of forming an interesting back story in praise of the already much adored Knidian Aphrodite.
|“||God would send his beloved servants to Knidos to get well and live longer.||”|
—a popular local quote, attributed arguably to Greek geographer Strabo (63 BC–24 CE).
Knidos (Tekirburnu Mevkii, Apr-Oct 08:00-19:00 Nov-Mar 08:00-17:00 daily, 10 TL) was an ancient Greek city on the highly scenic tip of the peninsula, 38 km west of Datça past the village of Yazıköy. Ruins here include among others a Roman era sundial, the stairs of the circular temple that had the Aphrodite of Knidos as its centrepiece (these stairs form the only remaining bits of this once hugely famous house of worship), and a fully excavated amphitheatre that overlooks one of the harbours. Cape Deveboynu, the steep hill topped by a lighthouse facing the ruins, was originally an island connected to the mainland by a causeway built by the Knidians (now a low lying sandy isthmus), thus creating two harbours out of the severed channel — the smaller one to the north, which has a narrow opening to the sea, was used by Knidians for mooring their navy, while the larger harbour to the south was where the trade ships anchored. Turkish geographers usually consider the Reşadiye Peninsula to be the dividing line between the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean proper, making Knidos one of the few places where you can watch the waves of two seas at the same time.
There are two minibus services daily running to Knidos from Datça (check their timetable with the drivers), as well as excursion boats sailing out of Datça and Palamutbükü (less frequently from the latter), which let their passengers to debark for about an hour at the site, which is just about sufficient time for a quick tour of the ruins and a quick dip at sea. The road leading to the site is not the best highway around, so you may want to park your car and take public transportation instead, although this is obviously the less convenient option if you want to take your time in the ruins.
Datca Yacht Club
The town (and the peninsula) is famous for its almond trees, and a local dessert made of almond and dried figs is remarkably tasty, so you may consider buying a few packages.
- Cafe Inn, Atatürk Cad. 51, ☎ +90 252 712-94-08. A small cafe with limited but great food options. Beer, wine and limited cocktails such as G&T are available. Outdoor sitting with a superb view of Datca bay. Casual, easy going place with friendly owner working on the premise.
- Iskandil Apart Hotel, Palamutbükü, Datça, ☎ +90-505-822-14-35. A small family-run hotel close to the beach and the town centre. All air-conditioned guest rooms include self-catering kitchenette, satellite TV, balcony, private bathroom, and free Wi-Fi. €60.
Telephone code of the town is (+90) 252.
|Routes through Datça|
|END ←||W E||→ Marmaris → Antalya|