Nimara Cave

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Nimara Cave, Heaven Island

Nimara Cave is a cave on Heaven Island,[1] near the city of Marmaris, Turkey.

The space in the cave reaches heights between 3 and 5 meters and has a width of 5 meters. The filling material has been used to create and protect the space within the cave.

Human presence[edit]

Since ancient times, the cave was used as a place of worship. According to the writings of ancient Greek historian Herodotus, human presence in the cave (as well as the old city of Physkos, today called Marmaris), dates back to 3,000 BC. However, excavations carried out by the Municipality of Marmaris in 2007 extended this period to almost 12,000 years back.[2]

The research conducted in this place has revealed the existence of a cult of Mother Goddess Leto, believed to be the mother of God Apollo and Goddess Artemis, in the ancient city of Physkos. The cave is located at the highest point of Heaven Island and was used as a place of worship by the ancient residents of the town of Nimara.

By the fifth century BC, the place had become a prominent place of worship with no further modifications in the cave and the worshipping took place pretty much around the main rock that exists even today. This main rock is surrounded by stone altars in a semi-circle raised at about 30 cm from the ground. Offerings to the Mother Goddess Leto were placed on these elevated stones. The offerings were made in the form of cremations, glass beads, terracotta, and sculptures of Leto. The cave was also in use during the Roman period. The recent excavations in the cave (2007) have proved that Muğla’s earliest human settlements were in and around Marmaris. The cave has become a popular tourist destination since then.

Animal life[edit]

The cave shelters trogloxene butterflies, identical to those living in Fethiye's Butterfly Valley (Turkish: Kelebekler Vadisi) The cave has been declared a protected area in 1999.

External links and references[edit]

Coordinates: 36°48′47″N 28°17′49″E / 36.813°N 28.297°E / 36.813; 28.297