Labranda, which is the holy area of Zeus Labraundeus, is in ancient Caria (Southwestern Anatolia), 13 kms northeast of Milas (Mylasa), the city to which it is affiliated. The site is famous with its Temple of Zeus, its delicious water, and its pine and plane tree forests. There are daily tours to Labranda from Bodrum as well which is about 1 hr away.
The most ancient findings belong to the year 600 BC. The area that has been used as holy area in 6th and 5th centuries and then as temple terrace consisted of a single, small, artificial terrace. A war took place in the holy area in 497 and Carian army has been defeated by the Persians with its alliances.
The temple of Zeus is the most important relic of the ancient site. 4th century BC is the most important period of the temple. The dimensions are 25 x 16 meters and 6 x 11 meters one row columns with Attica.
At the times of the satraps named Mausolos (377–352 BC) and Idrieus (351–344 BC), this place gained a new appearance. In 355, during the sacrifice festival in Labranda, Mausolos escaped from an assassination towards him at the last moment. Buildings such as a series of artificial terraces here, one or two entrance buildings, a small Doric building (probably a fountain building), monumental stairs, two large feast halls (Androns), shed building (named as Oikoi), Stoa and Zeus Temple surrounded with columns must be constructed after this event. With the death of Idrieus in 344, such works have been stopped. After a big fire that took place in 4th century BC, the holy area has lost its feature of being a cult place.
The excavation works here have been started in 1948 and are continuing with intervals since that time.
The access from Mylasa to the holy area had been provided via the holy road having a width of 8 m, which was used for religious processions. Today, only the remainders of the Sacred Road can be seen. The laying traces on this road can be seen even today. Access to the area had been provided with one of the two entrance buildings (propylon). These were impressive passage doors made of Milas marble, having two columns and Ionian frontons on each side.
The building called as "Doric building" was located at just east of the southern propylon building with its irregular formation close to a rectangle. It is a building that is turned towards north, has four columns, a front courtyard, a marble side and is in Doric style. It absolutely had the function of a fountain building. This small building has been included in the bath complex.
200 m west of the holy building, lies the stadium whose back side is reinforced with a retaining wall. It is 176 meters long. The starting and end stones of the competitions are still existing at both ends. It is supposed that some competitions have been made here during the feast of 5 days made in the holy area.