Throughout history, this region has been inhabited by Lycians, Lecs, Kavalı people, Persians, Helens, Athenians, Romans, Byzantines, Menteşeoğulları and then by Ottomans. The Lycians, one of the greatest civilizations of Anatolia, lived in these territories for 1600 years. The region was first named as Lycia due to its residents, and then it was called Karia, derived from the name of Karios during the İran Rule in Anatolia. During the reign of Ottomans, the region was mostly associated with Hıdıvi Abbas Paşa.
The historical places of the region include Kapıdağı area- Lycia stone graves, Hyppocome (City of the Horses), Octapolis (Eight City) ruins, as well as the ruins of the antique city walls in Delikli Kavak, Seljuk walls on Ardıçlı hill, the old Byzantine winehouse in Hisar area, stone graves and walls from Karia era in Şerefler (Kalynda), the Monastery hill and Demirci Bazaar in Gürköy Area, the Gökdağ stone graves, Kavaklı Dede Tomb, White Tomb, White Bridge and the Cleopatra bath.
The tourist resorts in the area include Denizli-Pamukkale, Ephesus, Saklıkent, Rhodes, Dalyan-Kaunos, and Fethiye-Dead Sea. Becoming an official county of Muğla in 1983, Dalaman is situated in the south-west of Turkey, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Agean Sea. As region it is surrounded by Köyceğiz, Ortaca and Fethiye counties as well as Denizli and Çameli County. The Dalaman Brook is between the Mediterranean and Aegean Regions, it attracts people with its rich mountains, birds' heaven, developed hunting and plateau tourism, as well as bays which are adequate for yacht tourism. Yassıcalar, Zeytinli, Zeysare and Göcek islands, as well as Boynuzbükü, Bünyüş, Kurşunku, Göbün, Sıralıbük and Taşkaya bays are the stop-off points during a blue cruise.
The region used to be called “Ahhiyava”. People from Greece and the western coast immigrated and settled in this area around 3000 BC, the inhabitants dealt in olive groves, agriculture, forestry and fishing. Over the centuries, Lydian’s, Lycian’s and Persians lived around these coastal plains.
In 1261, the Menteşe Bey, founder of the Beyliks (principality) that carried his name and that had its capital in Milas, established his control over Muğla region. The Beys of Mentese held the city until 1390. The Turkish settlement in the region as a whole during the Menteşe period is known to have taken place through migrations following the Kutahya - Tavas axis. In 1390, Muğla was taken over by the Ottoman Empire. However, just twelve years later, Tamerlane and his forces defeated the Ottomans in the Battle of Ankara, and returned control of the region to its former rulers, the Menteşe Beys, as they did for other Anatolian Turkish Beyliks. Muğla was brought back under Ottoman control, this time by Sultan Mehmed II. the Conqueror, in 1451.
After 1806, others stared coming to this region including ‘Çerkez Turks’, who settled on the Koycegiz plain, followed later by ‘Turcomans’ and ‘Yörüks’ who dealt mainly in woodcutting and stock farming. In the following years, Abbas Hilmi Pasha came from Egypt to Koycegiz and then Dalaman, where he wanted a hunting lodge built, as the area was abundant in wild life. A French construction company was given the task of building the lodge, but at the same time was also building a railway station in Egypt. Due to a bad mistake, the station was built in Dalaman and the Lodge in Egypt. Where the station is situated, Abbas Pasha founded a farm, which is still in production today.
The farmhouse is a huge building surrounded with green grass just like that on a golf course, monumental palm trees and the right next to it is the Abbas Pasha Camii (Mosque). Although it was never used by Abbas Pasha, the building stayed in Dalaman, providing both a thing of architectural beauty and a nice story. The workers came originally from the Sudan to work the farms in Dalaman and Koycegiz, where they then settled, so the origins of many Dalaman people are from the Sudan, Africa.
These lands were owned by state in initial years of Republic. Then used be employed by State Production Farm. Dalaman before having that title known as ‘Çakallık’. In the year 1943 following the establishment of State Production Farm another village ‘Karaçalı’ was established. After the establishment of State Production Farm due to large treasury areas Agriculture Open Jail. In the year 1967, Dalaman paper and Cellulose factory was built. After privatization this factory is keeping operating since that time. As long as population density and economic productivity prosper Dalaman kept earning popularity. And at the end Dalaman Airport started to operation in the year 1981. And establishment of municipal was carried out. On 29th November 1983 became a town separating from Köyceğiz. When the airport provided international status became known all around the world. Dalaman Airport after 1998 became the third biggest airport after Istanbul and Antalya welcoming foreigners. In the year 2002 Dalaman Public Aviation Transportation Management and Travel and Tour Management divisions under Muğla University increased its quality pertaining to tourism.
Land Structure: In north and in west Toros Mountains starts and in south surrounded with Mediterranean Sea. Dalaman River, originates from those mountains located in north arrive to Mediterranean Sea by creating prosperity over Dalaman plain. In southern part in the town in the residues before arriving to sea level among mountain masses around Incebel hills Kocagöl, Kargın Lake and entirely containing sulphur water resources feeding is the lake Kükürtlü Lake.
Plant Cover and Natural Life: Above mentioned mountainous landscape are occupied by pine trees occasionally corrupted by fires.
At the slopes olive trees; ground levels of water, reflects the various sorts of green colour together with the trees. Flat areas belong to living areas are covered by all sorts of fruit trees developing landscape. Plantery life is in active state all over the 12 months in one year. Initerenean climate that geographical life it is possible to meet many of the living species living in sea or on land. Many Nil turtles living in ‘Kükürtlü Lake’ and Caretta Caretta living at the Mediterranean coast are the important members of natural life.
Climate: Summers are warm and humid, winters are rainy and mild. Even in winter mild spring weather is very common.
Population: According to the last Census, the population of Dalaman is 18,148, of which 17,607 live in the centre, while 10,541 people live in the surrounding villages. It's believed to be nearer to 28,000 people now, due to the amount of foreigners and outside workers living or have bought properties in the area.
Public Dance: Since very early time not very common public dances used to be organized in our town. In that life quality in the town, district folklore is influenced by Ege and Teke districts. Families thought district games to their children and at the end like all around Anatolia public dance developed with the accompany of drums, flutes musical instruments in private celebrations, weddings and in religious festivals.
Weddings: Weddings are presented in villages together with drums and flutes. Weddings starting on Friday’s ends on Monday’s with the acceptance of bride. In some villages, following the day of accepting bride only for women bridal veil used to be carried out. In past one day before accepting bride in son’s house wrestling used to be performed “catching” games for the present parcel suspended from a branch of a tree full with fruits and horse races used to be performed. In party tradition night presented in bride’s house is still going on today.
Traditional Cloths: In the town centre and villages women cover their heads with the “dastar”. Cloth and long trouser used to be dressed. In past men used to cover their heads with fez and hats.
Regional Foods: Dalaman is a city filled by eatable plants. Beet, mustard, stinging nettle, chicken nail, and many other plants are used for cooking. Yogurt, rise, egg, milk are the mixtures of those foods.
Traditions: Usually weddings starts on Friday’s and goes on three days. Weddings end on Sundays with the acceptance of bride. In past a day before the acceptance of bride in son’s house wrestles, horse races and running races used to be performed.
In religious days cemeteries are visited. Flowers and Mersin branches are brought to cemeteries. People who are resentful to each other comes closer, young visit older people. Except religious other days such as “Hıdır-Ellez” deserts and ‘aşure’ foods are offered to each other. Help is given to poor people. When boys joins to army for their military services are celebrated still and festivals are organized. As protection of evil sky and nails are given. For the people under evil sky lead is scattered around salt is cooked.
There is a Vocational High School, 6 Primary Schools, 1 Private Primary School, 1 State High School, 1 Anatolian High School as well as 4 Private Schools. ‘The Seka Paper Factory’ was privatized and renamed ‘Mopak’, and the State Production Farm is now known as ‘Tigem’.
It is believed the sulphurous thermal waters of Kapıkargın and İncebel have healing powers. The İncebel thermal waters are used by the Therme Maris Hotel. Within the hotel you have beauty and care facilities, mud bath and sulphurous water pools.
Most of the material needed to build the train station of Dalaman came by ship from France. These ships pulled into the sheltered and calm cove of Sarsala, which is 12 kilometres from Dalaman. The cove today is one of the most popular stop points of the boats and yachts on the Blue Cruise. On the Blue Cruise route the boats go to the coves of Sarsala, Büngüş, Sıralıbük, Kurşunlu and Taşyaka (Bedri Rahmi) on the Kapıdağ Peninsula.
The water of the cove is very clean, and where there is no construction pine trees grow down to the sea. The only drawback of the area was that it had a very bad road. However, now you can get there easily using any type of vehicle. To get there you take the road from the airport through the village of Kapıkargın. Keeping to the forest road you come to one of the branches of Dalaman Stream, the Tersakan Çayı, and arrive after passing by many sulphurous lakes that are linked to the sea. The trip is scenic and extremely pleasant. When you reach the top of the cove you come across a really wonderful panoramic view.
Hippokome is 30 kilometres from Dalaman. The ruins of the ancient city are on a hillside in the Asarı region near the village of Çöğmen and are interesting to see. In Hippokome whose name meant the City of Horses, there are six stone tombs in the south east that attracts one’s attention.
In the south west part of the old city there are more tombs, similar to the ones in Telmossos in Fethiye and in the Kepezbaşı region there are ruins of buildings that are dated to Roman and Byzantine eras.
There are other sites to visit that we can recommend to those who stay in Sarıgerme or Dalaman and want to spend more time looking around. There are stone tombs in Gökdağ, Lycian stone-cut tombs in Kayadibi, the ancient city of Oktapolis in Bozbel, the Hiras, Ilıca and Çal streamlets in Hisar, the Demiriçi Çarşısı (the metal market) in Gürköy and historical Akköprü on the Dalaman Stream.
There have been no excavations carried out on these ancient cities. The ruins are spread around but we are certain that they will offer a pleasant tour.
The ancient settlements on the Kapıdağ Peninsula
Krya, according to some historians, was a Carian city and according to others a Lycian one. The tombs cut into the stone in Taşkaya, to the south west of Krya, are an indicator that the city was Lycian. The ancient city of Lissa is to the south of the Kargin Lake. On the western end of the Gulf of Fethiye you will comes across the ruins from the ancient city of Lydia. Lydia gained importance under Byzantine rule and you can see remains from this era also.
After you have travelled for two kilometres away from Dalaman towards Fethiye you will see the turn to Şerefler village. Leave the main road and take it. Şerefler is only a kilometre from the turning point. The ruins from the ancient Carian city of Kalynda are on a hillside just 200 metres above the village school building. Little of Kalynda has survived to present day. All in all, there are just a few pieces of wall and that is it. The historian Herodotus wrote of Kalynda that the city for some time was under the rule of Kaunos and, by allying itself with Knidos, it revolted against Kaunos. Under siege, it then asked for the help of the people of Rhodes.