Ancient Aegean city with sea view on sale for $8.4 million
Ömer Erbil – MUĞLA
The ancient city of Bargylia, dating back to the fifth century B.C., located near Güllük Bay on the northern coast of the Bodrum peninsula, is on sale for 35 million Turkish liras (around $8.4 million).
As no construction is permitted in first-degree archaeological sites, no excavations have been made on the site yet. So, the new owners will be free to enjoy an amphitheater hinted to be underground, an area which is believed to belong to the city’s temple, the remains of a Roman bath and a necropolis from the Byzantine era.
Archaeologists want the Culture and Tourism Ministry to step in and be the potential buyer of the ancient city established on 330 decares of land—a private property since 1927—to ensure its protection, in order to stop it from becoming a holiday site.
Experts also warn some owners might want to seek to downgrade the status of the first-degree archaeological site, in a bid to open it for construction.
One of the shareholders of the land, the 87-year-old Hüseyin Üçpınar, told daily Hürriyet the land has been on sale for years now, but there had been a disagreement among the shareholders. In 2015, the ancient city was again was put on sale, this time for 22 million Turkish liras, but the funds fell short of buyers.
Meanwhile, the ancient city has been wrecked by treasure hunters over many years, with experts pointing out the state should put the area under protection as soon as possible. “We hear the sounds of treasure hunters at night, but we cannot do anything out of fear,” said one of the locals.
The city was said to have been founded by Bellerophon, a hero of Greek mythology, in honor of his companion Bargylos, who had been killed by a kick from the winged horse Pegasus. Near Bargylia was the Temple of Artemis Cindyas. The Greek geographer and philosopher who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, reports the local belief that rain would fall around the temple but never touch it. Artemis Cindyas and Pegasus appear on the coinage of Bargylia.
In 201-200 B.C. during the Cretan War King Philip V of Macedon wintered his fleet in Bargylia when he was blockaded by the Pergamene and Rhodian fleets
Protarchus, the Epicurean philosopher and mentor of Demetrius Lacon, was a native of Bargylia.