The history of Marmaris is pretty interesting. Founded in about the 6th century BC, it was originally known as Physkos. It has been conquered and invaded many times, the most recent invaders being the tourist, who were welcomed with open arms.
The bay is surrounded by high rocky mountains, and the air can be very humid. Decades ago, the land by the sea was swampy. The villagers sent an envoy to the Turkish government, asking for relocation. They were sick, with tuberculosis and other diseases which was exacerbated by the heat and humidity. The government said no, and back the villagers went, to their small farming community on the gorgeous coast. The fathers left the less valuable swampy land directly on the coast to their daughters and the more agrarian land further back towards the mountains to their sons. Later the community built canals, which helped dry up the swamp lands. Then in the late 1970’s a Marmaris was discovered by mainstream tourists. There was a building boom in the 80’s and now the year round population of this small town is 28,000 and the summer population 400,000. While many foreigners have bought houses and land, the majority of the hotels and buildings are still owned by the villagers. Ironically the daughters ended up with the most valuable land.
While many of the villagers are wealthy now, most of them still work the land. Many have relocated higher up into the mountains where there is more land to farm. Some are still nestled in between the hotels. You know who is really wealthy, when you see a small home, with a large garden plot, and livestock in the back. Becausee you know, if they wanted to, they could sell the land for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The stories are pretty interesting, they go like this.
“See that man over there?
The man on the really old bike.
Oh Yes, what about him?
Oh, well he is our gardener, and he owns those homes over there.
See those five houses?
Well, those are all his.
I think the best story was told by a friend of the family. He said that there was this elderly village lady, who rode around on her bike selling eggs. She looked so poor, that he ALWAYS bought eggs, and slipped her a little extra. After all, she looked so poor, and old, He felt badly.
After this had been going on for a while he found out that she wasn’t that poor. She owns half the hotels in the village. But still bikes around selling her eggs.
What I think is amazing is that many of the villagers are doing the exact same thing they would have done, had they not been wealthy. Except now, they can enjoy it more because it is a not a life or death struggle. If the farming does not go well, they always have the hotels.