The Temple of Zeus Lepsynos at Euromos, just northeast off the highway north of Milas on the drive between Selcuk(Ephesus) and Bodrum (map), is to me the perfect ruined Greek temple.
Set in a forest of olive trees, it almost looks like a Hollywood set, except it’s for real. Though it is partially ruined, in fact the temple was never completed. Apparently, an economic crisis left the local budget with insufficient funds for its completion.
Wealthy citizens stepped forward with financial support, and had their names engraved on plaques on some of the columns, but this support was insufficient. The temple was never completed, and some of its standing columns were never fluted (carved with grooves).
Stabilization efforts in 1975 used modern cement, which is now looked upon as a mistake. Archeologists resuming study of the temple in 2015 had no plans to change its “magical atmosphere” by re-erecting any columns toppled by earthquakes.
Stop for a half-hour’s look if you’re driving south from İzmir or Ephesus headed for Milas, Bodrum or Marmaris.
Located about 2 km (1.2 miles) south of the village of Selimiye, on the northeast side of the highway (map), the temple archeological site has no services, although there may be a villager selling cold drinks.
The small Euromos sign on the hghway is easy to miss, so keep your eyes open for it.
Your GPS may have the wrong location for Euromos and the temple. In April 2015, both Apple maps and Google maps had it wrong. Here is a map with the correct location. The temple is only a few hundred meters northeast of the highway. It is NOT up a steep and winding country road, as the GPS may tell you!
Beautiful…but never finished.
Euromos is actually a much larger archeological site than just the Temple of Zeus. The hillside to the east is littered with ruins, and if you spend an hour hiking around you can find a theater, an agora and massive defensive walls.
If you drive north on the highway after visiting the temple, look to the right for more extensive, unexcavated ruinsright next to the highway. This was a big city!
Distances & Travel Times
Bodrum: 82 km (50 miles), 1 hour
Ephesus (Selçuk): 105 km (65 miles), 1-1/2 hours
İzmir: 172 km (107 miles), 2-1/2 hours
Kuşadası: 73 km (45 miles), 1-1/4 hours
Marmaris: 100 km (62 miles), 2 hours
Milas: 12 km (7.5 miles), 15 minutes
Selçuk (Ephesus): 105 km (65 miles), 1-1/2 hours
—by Tom Brosnahan