Hidden treasures of Gumusluk
Based on a friend’s recommendation, I travelled to Gumusluk, one of Bodrum Peninsula's many little towns in Turkey. This place was more than I had ever hoped, giving rest to my body and freedom to my mind as I had never experienced before. But, before I tell you about my personal discoveries, let me share with you why this place is magical.
Gumusluk was originally known as Myndos. The best guess of archaeologists is that this area was one of the earliest settlements on the Aegean coast of Turkey. It sits on what is now known as the Bodrum peninsula. The original inhabitants, known as the Lelags, settled on top of the noticeable mountain. You’ll still see clever mentions of the Lelags in the names of some local businesses.
Lelags were believed to be very friendly with the Trojans during the height of the Roman Empire. It is believed that the group that conspired to kill Julias Caesar, including Brutus and Cassius, used this town as their headquarters to stay well clear of nosy Roman ears and spies loyal to Caesar. There is one other legend involving bad behaviour. It is thought that many of the area’s pre-excavation artefacts were loaded onto an Allied warship that was hidden in the harbour for repairs after a nasty German aerial bombing run. As I seek to find the good in men, I’ll assume that this was done to protect the artefacts from the Nazis who were already well known for their bad habit of raping conquered lands of their treasures.
I don’t, however, hear any stories about these artefacts being returned to the area with great pomp and ceremony, so perhaps I am injecting too much good will into the legend.
Dorians then inhabited the area. The peninsula was important because of its excellent harbour and the ability to control shipping lanes between the Anatolian mainland and the nearby islands of Kalymnos and Kos. Roman influence is found in some of the minimal archaeological excavations of a Roman bathhouse and other structures that clearly show Roman influence.
The fact that Gumusluk hasn’t been remotely excavated yet isn’t all that surprising and may be a function of the area itself. This is a place where slow is never slow enough. Most would probably rather contemplate the many mysteries of life than build something or dig something up. It’s usually too warm during the day to do much of anything anyway.
More than one great philosopher spent time here. Diogenes was consulted by Mousolos, according the legend. The leader was looking for a way to increase the population. As the story goes, Diogenes simply suggested that the town gates be locked for longer periods, forcing the men to stay in the village with little or nothing to do.
Eusebios also came from here. After being tutored by Aidesios, Eusebios became a favourite of Julian, another Roman emperor because of his excellent speech and wise counsel. Eusebios would become famous for rejecting the notion that the Gods could be made to heel to the will of humans, suggesting that the only way men could connect with the Gods was through spiritual purification. Trust me when I tell you that this place is perfect for purifying your spirit and clearing your mind.
As I have wandered over the hills and through the meadows, I have often found myself wondering what life puzzles these men were pondering while viewing the beautiful harbour and the sea beyond. Because life here was so simple, it would have been easy to have many hours to ponder the latest crisis in Rome or wonder why fish could swim under water for so long without breathing.
I’ve also thrown on a pair of old tennis shoes and walked across the slightly submerged wall to Rabbit Island. Some guess that the wall was a pathway that also served as a breakwater to protect the harbour, but I only consider the many ancients who followed this same path to the island. Rabbit Island is really
Legends suggest that a love story was behind the building of the wall, also called a mole. According to the lore, Queen Artemisiya was so loved by her king, Mausolos, that he built the mole so she could enjoy the amazing sunsets without getting her feet wet. This was, of course, before global warming caused the sea levels to rise, but the wall is still walkeable today.
It will probably be many years before all of the island’s secrets are excavated, but current excavations are plentiful and the staff loves to share their latest discoveries. I think this is a way to avoid digging in the afternoon sun because they seem particularly enchanted by visitors during the afternoon hours, but I’m just guessing.
When I’m not aimlessly walking the area, I can usually be found in one of Gumusluk's many small cafes and fish restaurants, sipping Turkish tea with newfound friends or buried in a good book. Here, you are most often greeted by a simple nod and a smile. Anything more would probably be viewed as a waste of energy. Food is absolutely amazing and always fresh. There are many small fish restaurants around the bay of old Gumusluk round the corner from the antique city of Myndos and the Rabbit island. The atmosphere in this part of Bodrum peninsula is like nowhere I have seen before. It is one of nostalgia, 'the incredible lightness of being', beauty and 'let the world go by'. You are in Turkey's most popular resort peninsula, yet it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. It is just difficult to explain, it needs to be experienced, that's all I can say.
I also wander through the small shops and among the new and very old buildings in “modern” Gumusluk. Local tradesmen sell their wares and enjoy tea together, but I can’t remember ever hearing a raised voice, so any haggling over the already low prices must be happening in a whisper.
I love enjoying the “catch of the day” at several local restaurants. These eateries are often owned and operated by the family that caught the fish. I especially love the Gumuscafe Fish Restaurant for dinner or Limon Café for a drink to share the sunset with.
There’s a wonderful weekly market held every Wednesday in Gumusluk's old town square. You’ll find the market behind the mosque. Here is where I buy fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and occasionally add a new Turkish teapot to my collection. Since you always offer tea to visitors, can you really ever have too many teapots? There is also handmade jewellery and other artisan offerings from the local villagers.
So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I decided to purchase a home in Gumusluk Bodrum. Although some might opt for the comforts of Bodrum town and its shopping and nightlife, I prefer the quiet and leisure of this amazing place. When I first looked at home prices, I was convinced there must be some currency calculation I didn’t understand being applied. But, I was assured that the very low prices were genuine and I quickly found an extraordinary detached villa with many rooms for less than 200,000 Euros AND with great sea vies. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the Turkish government had cleared any hurdles to an ex-pat directly owning real estate here in Turkey.
(Courtesy of Scott Hoffmann, 07 February 2014)
Why buy a property in Gumusluk and is it the right place for you?
As Scott very aptly described, the old town of Gumusluk, where the protected zone around the antique city Myndos was founded, is very bohemian indeed. It is home to several well known Turkish painters and writers, who tend to keep a very low profile here. As a permanent home in Bodrum, if you do not mind a place that is a little on the quieter side in the off-season, then a property in Gumusluk could be your little haven. There are enough shops and amenities open all year round to sustain life, so it is not 'the middle of nowhere', however, quieter than say Yalikavak or certainly Bodrum Town.
If you purchase a holiday home in Gumusluk, Bodrum you can expect sun-soaked summers and a vibrant atmosphere around Gumusluk's little bays and coves. Gumusluk area is not know for its sandy beaches, however, there are several very good beach clubs and many little bays to enjoy. Most properties in Gumusluk hills enjoy spectacular sea and island views and come in managed complexes that make it easier to lock up and go. Holiday rentals are pretty lucrative as well if you wish to cover your costs and earn some extra from your place in the sun. Gumusluk enjoys breathtaking sunsets and a lovely breeze in summer that brushes off from the Aegean touching the Greek Islands and then Gumusluk coast.
If you are looking for a viable investment property in Gumusluk, our advice would be to look at seafront land and property. This is because compared to neighbouring Yalikavak and Turkbuku, land prices are around 40% cheaper in Gumusluk and there are still some lovely waterfront plots available to buy, including some beachfront villas. We expect prices of waterfront real estate in Gumusluk to increase in the medium to long term as availability diminishes in other parts of the peninsula. Our experience shows that there is always going to be a premium attached at the seafront in Bodrum peninsula and Gumusluk is no exception.