This remote hillside site occupies the area that supplied drinking water to Mylasa (Milas) and is one of the most interesting sites in Caria. Never a city but a religious centre linked by a sacred way with Mylasa, Labranda worshipped a local deity since at least the 6th century BC, subsequently becoming a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. The great Temple of Zeus Labrayndus honours the god’s warlike, ‘Axe-Bearing’ aspect. Festivals and athletic games occurred at Labranda, which possibly possessed an oracle.
To reach the temple, walk west from the guardian’s kiosk at the main entrance, past the distinctive Doric House and up a magnificent stairway with 24 steps. The temple and other religious buildings stand on a series of steep artificial terraces.
Labranda is 15km northeast of Milas via rural lanes. Milas taxis charge ₺130, including 40 minutes of waiting.