The ancient Greek city of Bargylia, a once-prosperous community dating back some 2,500 years, is seeking a new protector. Under private ownership since the early 20th century, the 300-acre site, perched on a steep hill overlooking the Gulf of Güllük, includes the remnants of a temple, theater, a large defensive wall and an ancient gymnasium.

And it can all be yours for the relative bargain price of about $8 million.

The site is hitting the market to protect its buried secrets from treasure hunters and to help preserve the remaining ruins.

"We hear the sounds of treasure hunters at night, but we cannot do anything out of fear," one local told the Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey.

Rumors and legends

The site, littered with the remains of marble columns and other hints of the city's past, offers beautiful views of the Gulf of Güllük. The site, littered with the remains of marble columns and other hints of the city's past, offers beautiful views of the Gulf of Güllük. (Photo: Troels Myrup/flickr)

According to legend, the city was founded by a hero of Greek mythology named Bellerophon. He named it after his companion Bargylos, who had been killed by a kick from the winged horse Pegasus. What little history we know of Bargylia indicates that it likely derived much of its wealth from fisheries and nearby salt-pans in the shallowest parts of the gulf.

Because the site has remained in private hands, archaeologists have never conducted a proper excavation. Rumors abound that many of the city's most spectacular ruins still lay uncovered, including the possible remains of a mythological statue with special powers.

"There was at Bargylia a statue of Artemis Cindyas under the bare sky, probably in a temple, about which statue the incredible story was told, that neither rain nor snow ever fell on it," shared one report.

Today, the only occupants of Bargylia are cattle, who graze among the ruins and take shelter in a long-abandoned monastery. While no construction is currently permitted due to classification as a Grade 1 archaeological site, a new owner could downgrade that designation and build whatever they wish. Locals, concerned that a resort could one day spoil the wild beauty of Bargylia, are hopeful that Greece’s Culture and Tourism Ministry will step in and purchase the property.

You can view an extensive first-person tour of the ruins in the video below.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.