Guide

Altınkum is a town in western Turkey, 123 km from Aydın. It is on the Aegean Sea, nearby the ancient Temple of Apollo and the ruins of the Ionian city of Didyma (Didim). Altinkum and Didim are located in Aydın Province between the city of İzmir and
the resort Bodrum, about a 90-minute car ride either direction.
The Greek holiday island Kos is an hour’s boat ride away and Samos, Rhodes and
Kusadasi are also in range. The region has developed from a string of small rural
fishing villages into a tourist area. Altınkum and Didim were formerly two separate
towns, but have grown together with a combined population of approximately
35,000 permanent residents, including about 5000 foreigners, mostly British with
some Germans.
Altinkum, or “golden sands”,or “little Britain” is the beach and promenade area within the town of Didim. Visitors are
predominantly Turkish or British but over recent years tourists from countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria and
Romania have been visiting in increasing numbers, mostly families and the older generation. Set on a sandy bay, the
resort is relaxed and informal. There are three beaches within easy reach, and all have been awarded the Blue Flag
Award. With 55 km (34 miles) of coastline in the immediate area, there are many beaches to explore, including eleven
that have been awarded a Blue Flag classification.
The Main (or First) beach in front of the resort is a long wide stretch of sand with sunbathing and water sports. Sun
beds and umbrellas are available for rent. Boat trips that tour the nearby coastline depart from the main harbour,
serving lunch and afternoon tea on board. Along the length of the beach are cafes, bars and restaurants.
The Second beach area is just to the east of Main beach and Third Beach is to the west. Just beyond Third beach is
Didim marina, currently one of the largest in Turkey which opened in September 2009 and has space for 1200
boats.
[1] There are café bars and restaurants within the marina. Altınkum and Didim (previously Didyma or Yenihisar) is surrounded by a number of ancient sites, most notably, the
Apollo Temple, located on the outskirts of Didim. The main temple was built in the 8th century B.C., was surrounded
by columns at the beginning of the 6th century B.C. and completed around 550 B.C.
Miletos and Ephesus is a short drive away, and also Meryemana – said to be the Virgin Mary’s last home. Many
pilgrims visit this place every year. Didim was originally referred to as Didyma and, next to Delphi, was the most renowned oracle centre of the Hellenic
world, first mentioned among the Greeks in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo but preceding literacy and even the
colonization of Ionia.
Didyma was originally home to a pre-Greek religious group of nomads that grew up around a sacred wood and holy
spring. This natural spring was the place where Leto conceived and gave birth to the twins Artemis and Apollo who
were fathered by Zeus.
According to some sources, “Didyma” translates as “twin”. It refers to the twin God and Goddess, Apollo and Artemis,
who were born here.
On the grounds of the Apollo Temple is a stone head of the gargoyle Medusa.
A road leading to a small harbour was lined with ancient statues, but they were taken to the British Museum in 1858. Around the mid-1980s, the people from large cities around Turkey such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir came to Didim
and built summer houses and holiday homes. When Turkey’s economy started to decline, these people found it hard to
survive in the big cities and many of the owners, the majority of whom were retired, decided to relocate to Didim
permanently.
Didim is a rapidly growing town, visited by large numbers of Turkish and European tourists every year, with its own
marina and beach festival.