Standing on the ancient city of Myndos, this quaint seaside village holds a plethora of sunken ruins and is now an official archaeological site. Boasting calm waters and sheltered bays perfect for families, it is also the best place for snorkelling. Visit the famous restaurants on the waterfront where you can almost dip your toes into the sea whilst dining on freshly caught local fish, or paddle across the causeway to explore Rabbit Island.
The peaceful village of Gümüslük is one of the oldest settlements on the Bodrum peninsula. It stands on the site of the ancient Carian city of Myndos (or Myndus) whose seafront sections slid into the sea in some long-forgotten earthquake. If you look into the clear waters around the small harbour, you can see some remnants of the ancient city. Today these remains are a magnet for snorkellers. In 2006 one hundred archaeologists descended on Gümüslük to start excavating the land, so far they have uncovered further walls and mosaics.
Myndus is referred to in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The story goes that Brutus and Cassius, the principal characters in Caesar's murder kept their fleet in Myndus harbour in the civil war that followed. In another historical reference, Alexander the Great made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Myndos in 334 BC whilst on his way to sack Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum).
One of the major products of ancient Myndos was cheap wine and this had a very poor reputation. This was allegedly mixed with sea-water (not uncommon in ancient times). Its effect was described as relaxing the stomach, causing flatulence, and leaving a hangover. This unappealing beverage led to the Myndians being dubbed the 'brine-drinkers'.
The origin of the word 'Gümüslük' is uncertain. Gümüslük means a form of "silver". Piri Reis explains how this village got its name in his writings in 1521. He explains that during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II flourishing silver mines existed near the town and the city was named after them. However, many locals believe that Gümüslük gets its name due to the common sight of 'yakamoz' (the reflection of the moon on the water) turning the water in the bay a glistening silver.
Today Gümüslük retains a small-scale, relaxed atmosphere thanks to strictly enforced building prohibitions, designed to protect the ancient site. The charming white-washed houses follow the curve of a small, attractive bay, and the shelter of the bay provides a natural harbour for yachts and local fishing boats. The waterfront restaurants enjoy a nationwide reputation for excellent fresh fish and seafood and during the summer months, the small resort is often frequented by Turkish actors, artists and musicians who appreciate the easy-going, informal atmosphere.
Rabbit Island separates the two well-sheltered bays of Gümüslük and is accessible by a partially sunken causeway. Take your shoes off to paddle across the causeway and enjoy a lovely panorama of the bay and a glimpse of the famous rabbits scurrying around.
Although relatively little remains of ancient Myndos, rock-cut stairways and house-foundations may be seen on the hillside and there is also a ruined basilica (now restored as a cultural centre). There are, however, numerous ancient stones to be seen in and around the village, and at the school about a mile inland there are some column capitals and Roman mosaics