Milas: Gemuşkesen! What's That?

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gemuşkesen: It's not a sneeze.

Even if you know of Bodrum in Turkey you probably don't know of Milas, a town inland from Bodrum about 1 hour by mini-bus. I liked Milas better than Bodrum. I stayed in Milas because I thought it would be cheaper than Bodrum. But, considering the Milas hotel plus the bus fare back and forth I probably fooled myself. Money-wise it was probably a draw.

I arrived in Milas from Kapikiri, given a ride in by Emin, the pension keeper. He was making a regular run to the Tuesday market (pazar). That afternoon I went into Bodrum.

The next morning I had a real delight. The market was cleared of the congestion of the pazar, and before heading again for Bodrum I walked straight up the street from my hotel--only maybe a
quarter of a mile--and there took delight in a structure called the Gemuşkesen. Gemuş (hard g, ge-MUSH) is Turkish for silver. "Silver purse" as the LP guide has it. But, it's a tomb. It might be the most complete 2nd century Roman structure. I don't know. But I reveled in finally seeing a pretty complete ancient structure, and one so pleasantly designed. It is said to have been inspired in its design by the long gone Mausoleum in Halicanarssus (present day Bodurm). Furthermore, it is preserved in a small but respectful park. Probably not many tourist see it.

There was an attendant, who whiles away his time in one of the portable plastic cubes one sees all over Turkey for such purposes. He was sweeping the grounds when I came in, saying hello to him. Later, in the uniquely friendly, hospitable way of the Turkish, unsolicited, he brought out to me a couple of English language brochures telling of other sights in Milas, including some 19th century houses called the Hungarian Houses, as they were designed and built for european businessmen.

So, all in all, my experience in Milas was a short nice one. So, if you are like me (probably not) and not all hot pants for Bodrum, Milas has its Turkish charm, and is a good location for exploring other sights in the area.
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