Lonely Planet Writer

The ancient city of Bargylia in Turkey is up for sale for $8.3m

An ancient city in Turkey is for sale with a price tag of a cool 35m lira ($8.3m/£6.1m). The 2500-year-old city of Bargylia is located 30 km away from the Aegean resort of Bodrum, and the sale is designed to protect its archaeological sites from treasure hunters and decay.

The ancient city of Bargylia in Turkey is for sale. Image: The ancient Greek city of Bargylia in Turkey is for sale. Image: Larry Washburn

According to mythology, the city was founded by hero of Greek mythology, Bellerophon, in honour of his friend Bargylos, who was killed by a kick from his winged horse Pegasus. Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reports that the 330-acre site has been private property since 1927. One of its owners, Huseyin Ucpinar, has urged the government to step in to protect the city, whose theatre, acropolis, fortification walls and necropolis are listed locally as a Grade 1 archaeological site. Despite this, treasure hunters have already caused damage with illegal excavations, and cattle graze around, and take shelter in, a long-abandoned monastery.

The ancient city of Bargylia in Turkey is for sale. Image by Jordan Pickett CC BY-NC 2.0

Turkish archaeologists have called on the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism to expropriate numerous archaeological sites, such as the one in Bargylia, to ensure their protection. Many of Bargylia’s ancient structures are under ruins and located underground, and the report says no government-backed preservation work can take place at Bargylia because it’s on private land. The owners believe therefore that the city might be a good addition to the Turkish culture ministry’s land portfolio.

The ancient city of Bargylia in Turkey is for sale. Image by Jordan Pickett CC BY-NC 2.0

There was a previous failed attempt to sell the site in 2015. It was described as “a first degree archaeological site, facing the Bird Heaven Lake near the Bogazici Village, with full sea and lake view,” but no buyer was found. This time around, the asking price has been reduced by almost $2m (£1.5m).