Ancient ruins stand alongside recently constructed beach resorts here on the sun-baked hills of the southern section of Turkey's Aegean coast. This coast is a long one, and the state of stewardship can vary widely from place to place. Parts of it "still maintain a rugged character," but other spots are "overcrowded" and "blighted by second-home developments."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"An enormous coastline that undulates between untouched beaches, large cities and cruise-line ports of call. As such, tourism development and the degree to which it is appropriate are hard to pin down. Kusadasi, the main gateway city to the historic ruins of Ephesus, is as unauthentic of a Turkish experience as you can get. However, the charming port town of Cesme remains a delightful glimpse into modern Turkish culture with a splash of well-maintained architecture from the ancient times."
"Magnificent coastal settings are degraded. What little remains of forests is regularly uprooted in favor of development. Archaeological sites, protected by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, are in better shape."
"Coastal resorts have lost much of their cultural integrity but settlements away from these areas remain largely intact."
Travel Photos From Your Shot
Browse Stunning Images of These Natural Marvels
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.