Milas (ancient Mylasa Mylasa) is an ancientIts Anatolian name Mylasa is pre-Greek. city in southwestern Turkey. It is part of Mugla Province and is administered from the provincial seat of Mugla. It was the ancient capital of Caria and of the Anatolian Turkish Beylik of Mentee. The territory of Milas district contains a remarkable twenty-seven archaeological sites.
Milas is situated on a fertile plain at the foot of a mountain on which there are great quarries of the white marble that has been used for the construction or decoration of the city's temples and other buildings since Antiquity.
Government and politics
Milas's political colour has traditionally been centre-left. In Turkey's 2004 local elections, Fevzi Topuz of the CHP, a cartographer by profession, was elected for the third time, with one interval resulting from the 1994 local elections, when votes of the two centre-left parties had been evenly divided among electors and the municipality was won instead by the centre-right DYP by 200 votes. Topuz increased his votes to 37.71% in 2004, while DYP remained at 26.73%. Turkey's incumbent AKP have obtained 25.10%. There has been some immigration from Eastern Anatolia to Milas, which is confirmed by the 5.33% obtained by SHP, acting in these elections as cover for votes for DEHAP, campaigning on Kurdish-identity consciousness arguments. The rightist MHP campaigning on Turkish-identity consciousness arguments continues to have a very weak presence in Milas city (2.02%). Other parties failed to exceed the 1% threshold.
Features and sights of interest
The Cyclopean walls surrounding the temenos of the temple of Zeus Osogoa are still visible, as well as a row of fourteen columns.
The eighteenth-century English traveller Richard Pococke relates, in his Travels, having seen the temple of Augustus here; its materials have since partially been taken by Turks to build a mosque.
There is also a two-storied tomb, the Distega, apparently a copy of the famous tomb of Mausolus in Halicarnassus, who was native of Mylasa.
There are a number of historical Turkish buildings in Milas, dating from both the Mentee and the Ottoman periods. A number of old houses built in the nineteenth or early twentieth century that have been preserved in their original appearance are worthy of mention.
Milas carpets and rugs woven of wool have been internationally famous for centuries and bear typical features. In our day, they are no longer produced in the city of Milas, but rather in a dozen villages around Milas. For the whole territory of Milas district, up to 7000 weavers' looms remain active, either full-time or at intervals following the demand, which remains quite lively both in Turkey and abroad.
Becin Castle, the capital of Mentee Beys, is situated at the dependent township of Becin, at a distance of 5 kilometers from Milas city. The fortress has been restored in 1974, and the compound includes two mosques, two medreses, a hamam, as well as the remains of a Byzantine chapel.
Under Achaemenid rule Mylasa was the chief city of Caria, until the capital was moved to Halicarnassus; a tyrant appointed by the Persian satrap Oliates ruled the city.
In 40 BCE Mylasa suffered greaty damage when it was taken by Labienus in the Roman Civil War. In the Graeco-Roman period, though the city was contested among the successors of Alexander, it enjoyed a season of brilliant prosperity, and the three neighbouring towns of Olymos, Labraunda, and Euromos were included within its limits. Its finest temples were that dedicated to Zeus Osogoa, which recalled to Pausanias the Acropolis of Athens,Pausanias, Description of Greece: VIII, x, 3. and those of Zeus Karios and of Zeus Labraundos, or Stratios. Mylasa is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. At the time of Strabo the city boasted two remarkable orators, Euthydemos and Hybreas. Various inscriptions tell us that the Phrygian cults were represented here by the worship of Sabazios; the Egyptian, by that of Isis and Osiris. There was also a temple of Nemesis.
An inscription from MylasaThe inscription was published in '', 1890, pp. 621-623. provided one of the few certain data about the life of Cornelius Tacitus, identifying him as governor of Asia in 112-13.
Among the ancient bishops of Mylasa was Saint Ephrem (fifth century), whose feast was kept on January 23, and whose relics were venerated in neighbouring city of Leuke. Cyril and his successor, Paul, are mentioned by Nicephorus CallistusNicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos. Historia ecclesiastica:XIV, 52. and in the Life of Saint Xene. Michel Le Quien mentioned the names of three other bishops,Michel Le Quien. Oriens Christianus, I, 921. and since his time the inscriptions discovered refer to two others, one anonymous,Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, 9271. the other named Basil, who built a church in honour of Saint Stephen., XIV, 616. The Saint Xene referred to above was a Roman noblewoman who, to escape the marriage which her parents wished to force upon her, donned male attire, left her country, changed her name from Eusebia to Xene ("stranger"), and lived first on the island of Cos, then at Mylasa.
Since the Fourth Crusade Mylasa has remained a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Mylasensis; the seat has been vacant since the death of the last bishop in 1966. Mylasa (Titular See); Catholic Encyclopedia'': Mylasa".
Milas and the surrounding region was taken over by Turks under the command of Mentee Bey in the mid-thirteenth century, who gave his name to the principality that has established its capital in the city, the administrative center being the Becin Castle located in the contemporary dependant township of that name at a distance of from Milas and which was easier to defend.
Milas, together with the entire Beylik of Mentee was taken over by the Ottoman Empire in 1390. However, just twelve years later, Tamerlane and his forces overcame the Ottomans in the Battle of Ankara, and returned control of this region to its former rulers, the Mentee Beys, as he did for other Anatolian Turkish Beyliks. Milas was brought back under Ottoman control, this time by Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, in 1451.
At the turn of the twentieth century, according to 1912 figures, Milas' urban center had a population of 9,000, of whom some 2,900 were Greek, a thousand or so Jewish, and the remaining majority were Turkish.According to the same sources, for the whole area covered by the subdistrict (kaza) of Milas, these figures were 28,500 for the whole population, 21,000 of which were Turkish and 3,500 to 7,000, according to varying sources, were Greeks. Data from Anagiostopoulou 1997 and Sotiriadis 1918. The Greeks of Milas were exchanged with Turks living in Greece under the 1923 agreement for the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations between the two countries, while the sizable Jewish community remained as a presence till the 1950s, at which time they emigrated to Israel; Jews formerly of Milas still visit frequently to this day.
Notable people from Milas
Mausolus; Satrap of the Persian Empire, virtual ruler of Caria between 377-352 BC, builder of the famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Rabbi Albert Jean Amateau: U.S. Sephardic Jew community leader and social activist.
Turhan Selcuk: Turkish cartoonist. Creator of the fictional character Abdulcanbaz and the homonymous serial comics.