Ancient city comes up for sale in Turkey

A cow tied to an old column in the ruins of Bargylia Image copyright Hurriyet
Image caption Cows graze among the ruins

A 2,500-year-old city in modern-day Turkey has gone up for sale in an effort to protect it from treasure hunters and decay, it's been reported.

The city ancient Greek city of Bargylia is near the Aegean resort of Bodrum, and its owners are advertising the site with a 35m lira ($8.3m; £6.1m) price tag, Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper reports.

The 133 hectare (330 acre) site is currently private property, and cattle graze among the theatre, acropolis, fortification walls and necropolis which are listed locally as a Grade 1 archaeological site.

A long-abandoned monastery serves as an animal shelter, the paper says.

One of the site's owners, Huseyin Ucpinar, said he alone cannot protect the ancient city, and has urged the government to step in.

Image copyright Hurriyet
Image caption Looters have already stolen mosaics, but some examples still remain

Treasure hunters

No significant archaeological excavations have been conducted in the city, and it has been targeted by treasure hunters who reportedly stole a Roman-era mosaic.

Despite its Grade 1 status, no government-backed preservation work can take place at Bargylia because it's on private land, hence the owners' hints that it might be a fitting addition to the Turkish culture ministry's land portfolio.

This isn't the first attempt to sell the city, it's emerged. In 2015, it was listed by a local estate agent as "a first degree archaeological site, facing the Bird Heaven Lake near the Bogazici Village, with full sea and lake view," Hurriyet said at the time.

Despite the enticing write-up by the agency, no buyer was found. It's now up for sale again with nearly $2m (£1.5m) clipped from its original asking price.

Image copyright Hurriyet
Image caption The tractor tyre is not an ancient Greek original, but the site seems perfect for aspiring 'bonekickers'

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

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