Sidyma, was a town of ancient Lycia, at what is now the small village of Dudurga Asarı in Muğla Province, Turkey. It lies on the southern slope of Mount Cragus, to the north-west of the mouth of the River Xanthos.

Sidyma, for those who have not yet had the opportunity of visiting, is a tiny village situated over an unexcavated archeological site. It is a unique and timeless testimony to Turkish village life.

Locals campaign against plans for a marble quarry

The village is under threat from a proposed marble quarry at the base of the Byzantine fort hill ( Asar castle) at the border of the villages of Sidyma and Boğazici.

Byzantine fort hill ( Asar castle) at Sidyma

Locals are campaigning against the proposal, to finalise the permit to extract the marble and Canadian, Brea Pelletier, who made her home in Sidyma, and the villagers have moved swiftly into action and there is a court case underway to stop the quarry and destruction of the environment.

Save Sidyma - a unique and timeless testament to Turkish village life
Brea Pelletier in Sidyma

In the meantime, it was discovered from the map below that there are plans for three quarries in the area. The court action currently underway relates to the quarry highlighted in blue. A second court action is needed to stop the second quarry (highlighted in red). The third quarry, highlighted in yellow, is not yet registered so no action can be taken at this time.

Byzantine fort hill ( Asar castle)

Impact on the environment

The quarries would have a devastating impact on the local environment. Thousands of pine trees would be cut down, putting an end to local pine honey. Byzantine and Roman walls would come crumbling down and ancient roads bulldozed. The villagers and their ancient, gnarled olive trees would be choked with marble dust. Several kilometers of the Lycian Way, recognized as one of the ten best trekking routes in the world, would have to be diverted.

What’s happened so far?

Brea and the group are working with lawyer, Bora Sarıca and they are waiting for an archeological team to visit and assess the site, although an article dated September 28, 2018, written by an archeologist states permission has been granted and that an Environmental Impact Assessment (CED) is not required. 

Kate Clow from Culture Routes Turkey is also consulting with the group and is encouraging them to submit a local sustainability project to the Tourism department in order to make them fully aware of the situation.

A message from Brea

“I am a Canadian woman who made her home in Sidyma and I am asking for your help. We need to send a clear message to people in power that obliterating centuries of ancient treasures is unacceptable. This serene natural setting, a tapestry of Lycian, Hellenistic and Roman civilizations combined, deserves our immediate protection for generations to come. ”

A petition has been set up on which has so far been signed by over 1200 people.

If you are a lover of history or the environment and rural life please show your support for this special place by signing the petition.  

To read more about Sidyma, please click on the link below to read the article written by Slow Travel Guide