Milas (MEE-lahs,) is a very old town. As Mylasa, it was capital of the Kingdom of Caria, except during the period when Mausolus ruled the kingdom from Halicarnassus (now Bodrum). Today
it's a fairly sleepy agricultural town, with many homes where carpets are handwoven. Since Milas is actually closer to the new Bodrum international airport than Bodrum itself, you could stay the night in Milas if you arrive late in high season when Bodrum is likely to be full.
Approaching Milas from Söke, you pass the new otogar on 19 Mayıs Bulvan lkm before coming to Labranda Bulvan to the left. To the right inönü Caddesi is marked for 'Şehir Merkezi' (City Centre). It's another l km to the centre of town at the Milas Belediye Parkı.
Milas' postal code is 48200.
Things to See
Coming into town from the otogar along inönü Caddesi, watch for signs pointing to the right for the Belediye and, opposite, turn left for the Baltalı Kapı, or 'Gate with an Axe'. Cross a small bridge and look left to see the well-preserved Roman gate, which has marble posts and lintel and Corinthian capitals. The eponymous double-headed axe is carved into the keystone on the northern side.
Return to the road and continue south past the forgettable museum, bearing right to the traffic roundabout, in the centre of which is a marble scale model of the Gümüşkesen monumental tomb next to the shady Milas Belediye Parkı.
Continue straight on for three blocks, turn right, then turn again at Gümüşkesen Caddesi to reach the tomb, 1.4km from the roundabout on a hill west of the centre.
The Gümüşkesen ('That which cuts silver' or, construed as Gümüşkese, 'silver purse') is a Roman monumental tomb dating from the İst century, thought to have been modelled on the great Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus. As in the Mausoleum, Corinthian columns here support a pyramidal roof, beneath which is a tomb chamber, which you can enter. A hole in the platform floor allovved devotees to pour libations into the tomb to quench the dead soul's thirst.
You might also want to see some of Milas fine mosques, especially the Ulu Cami (1378) and Orhan Bey Camii (1330), built when Milas was the capital of the Turkish principality of Menteşe. The larger, more impressive Firuz Bey Camii (1394) was built shortly after Menteşe became part of the new and growing Ottoman Empire.
Like Muğla, Milas has held on to some of its older houses, and especially along Atatürk Bulvarı is some very impressive architecture dating back to the start of this century.
Places to Stay, Milas Hotels
Otel Arıcan (252-512 1215), next to the Hacı İlyas Camii (and, alas, its minaret)
Akdeniz (252-512 8661), across the street, is a distant second choice. The Yeni Hamamı, across Hacı tlyas Sokak from the Otel Ancan, fills the need for a Turkish bath.
A better option is Hotel Çınar (fax 252-512 2102, Kadıağa Caddesi 52), which offers much more congenial accommodation, with a lobby one flight up. Take a room at the back to avoid street noise
The plastic-looking Otel Sürücü (252-512 4001, fax 512 4000), on Atatürk Bulvarı opposite the statue of Atatürk, is slightly more comfortable, with bigger rooms than the Çınar or Turan
Places to Eat
The town's culinary offerings don't run much beyond pide. The market area has several pidecis where a pide and soft drink sell for US$2, including the locally es-teemed Pamukkale Pide Salonu. Otel Ancan has its own Arıcan Bolu Lokantası with soups, stews and kebaps. Beyaz Saray Pastahanesi overlooking the main junction looks promising but seems surprised to see foreign visitors. Eat early (before 7 pm), as these few places don't stay open late.