If you wish to visit Stratonikeia, then you are almost certainly on your own – there are no organised tours. Against that, it is relatively close to Akyaka, and well worth a visit – albeit a relatively short one compared to some of the other sites.
Unlike most of the coastal sites, which were slowly deserted as the area silted up, being well inland Stratonikeia was in use as a site up until well into the middle of the 20th century, when it was deserted due to the next door lignite mine.
This considerably adds to the interest of Stratonikeia. As well as ancient ruins, there are relatively modern ones too, including a mosque and a shop / workshop, and the lower levels of the walls of the modern buildings are made by reusing the ancient stones, columns, etc. And there is a fascinating ancient arch in the middle of a working farmyard! Whilst this is probably not very sound archaeologically, it does make for an interesting stroll round.
Due to its relative ordinariness compared to the other major sites, very little excavation has taken place here, with the exception of the gymnasium and the bouleuterion (council house), interestingly right next to the modern ‘town hall’. The city walls are also still fairly obvious, as is the theatre – which, unlike elsewhere in Turkey where the theatre is one of the first buildings to be restored, is really just a bowl shape with a few seats still in place sticking out of the ground like broken teeth.
Like most sites, there is little shade here, and nowhere at all to get any refreshments. A fairly clean wooden hut acts as a toilet, but be warned, this is outside the gate, and is not normally well stocked with toilet paper! On the bright side, you can guarantee there will not be a queue, as you will almost certainly have the whole site to yourself (the odd farmer notwithstanding), and the entry cost is minimal, if anything. And you can at least park your car in the shade.
Stratonikeia is probably not worth a whole days outing, but its location makes it suitable for a stop-off on the way to Bodrum, or for combining with a trip to Mugla – either for the market, the wonderful cake shop, or perhaps an afternoon or evening in the Haman to clean all the dust off.
Getting There by Car
From Akyaka, take the Mugla road, and then at the main Mugla traffic lights take the E330 towards Aydin and Izmir. At Yatagan, take the left turn (confusingly still the E330) towards Milas and Bodrum. Stratonikeia (some maps etc spell it Stratoni Kya) is approximately 10 km along this road on the right. You cannot miss it, it is preceded by a power station that is a throwback to the ‘dark satanic mills’ which spreads for several kilometres along the road. Once you are past this, you will see the deserted village on your right followed by the Stratonikeia signpost which points down a right turn taking you back towards the village. Follow the track past the wooden hut (stop only if absolutely necessary!) and then park in the shade under the trees 50 metres further on (the mosque is to your right), where a ticket seller may or may not come and find you.
Total distance from Akyaka is about 70 kms, allow 1.5 hours at the outside.
NB. Don’t bother with the leaflet (although it is free) as it is just a reprint of this website!
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