İçmeler’s history is believed to date back to 3000BC, but no written record exists to support this notion.
İçmeler came into the limelight in 1310 AD, when The Knights Hospitaller seized the territory from The Byzantine Empire after being repulsed from Cyprus by King Henry II. After 15 August 1310, İçmeler was used as a forward base by The Knights Hospitaller as a layer of defense between the mainland and their headquarters in the island of Rhodes.
The territory was conquered by The Ottoman Empire in 1425AD, and later on, was used by the armies of Suleiman The Magnificent as one of the bases used to mount assaults against Rhodes. What was planned to be a quick assault on a small Mediterranean island turned into an extremely bloody conflict, and during this time, İçmeler was used as a forward base by The Ottoman Sultan to organize the fresh troops and artillery coming in from Anatolia as reinforcements.
The siege lasted six months, between June-December 1522AD, ending with a bitter Ottoman victory. It is estimated that the Ottomans suffered 25.000 casualties in the bloody conflict. It is stated in “The Knights of the English Langue” that “İçmeler was utilized as a somewhat gathering point (O’Malley 2005)” for the wounded returning from Rhodes, and fresh troops being sent in.
After the siege of Rhodes ended, a state of tranquility took over İçmeler. It was settled by soldiers that participated in the campaign, and until the latter part of the 20th century, boasted a tiny population of just over 1.000. During this time, the main goods produced in the area were fish and sea sponges.
Following the tourism boom of Marmaris in the 1980s, İçmeler saw steady growth in construction, mirroring the growth of Marmaris. Today, İçmeler’s biggest industry is tourism.
O'Malley, G. (2005). The Knights Hospitaller of the English Langue 1460-1565. OUP Oxford.