South Aegean

The ruins of the ancient Carian port city Herakleia are scattered throughout Kapıkırı. In the upper village, the large Temple of Athena, just west of the central agora, occupies a promontory overlooking the lake. Only three of its walls remain, but the perfectly cut blocks (no mortar) are impressive. Other signposted paths lead eastwards to the bouleuterion (council chamber) in a private garden, a uniquely Roman bathhouse and the unrestored theatre, with barely a few seating rows remaining (it once sat up to 4000 spectators).

The Hellenistic city walls (circa 300 BC) extend for 6.5km. For sublime lake views, follow the road down past the rock-hewn Temple of Endymion and the ruined Byzantine castle, which overlooks the rock tombs of the necropolis. From the beach and its ruined Byzantine church, note the island just opposite – its base conceals ancient building foundations. Once joined to the mainland, the island is only accessible by boat nowadays, even at low tide.