Ayaş Ayaş is a Mediterranean coastal resort town in Mersin Province, Turkey. Ayaş is a part of Erdemli district which is a part of Mersin Province. It is on the Datça Mersin highway at a distance from Mersin of 55 kilometers or 34 miles and to Erdemli it is 18 kilometers or 11 miles distant. Ayaş is situated at the coast and there are two beaches with tourism potential, namely Yemişkumu and Merdivenkuyu Beaches. Like most of the towns around Ayaş the economy depends on agriculture, but there are now hotels along the beaches and summer houses creating a tourism economy.
Ayaş has been inhabited since the ancient ages and was actually an island named Elaiussa and the town on the shore facing the island named Sebaste. But the island has since been joined to the mainland because of alluvion accumulation. During the Middle Ages Elaiussa-Sebaste lost its former importance and after the 12th century the ruins of the former town became a battle ground between The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and the Karamanids. The area around the former town was incorporated into Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and it became the grazing area of a nomadic Turkmen tribe named Ayaş. A part of the tribe was settled in the village named after Ayaş and in 1999 Ayaş was decleared a town.
What is left of the ancient city is the theater building built in the second century BC which was discovered during excavations in 1995-99. As a result of a number of raids carried out in ancient times the roofs, steps and decorations, unfortunately, have not surived. Seats and steps carved out of rocks and the sides of the seating area along with some architectural works in the orchestra section do survive to this day. The Agora is protected by large walls with both sides of the main entrance having a lion, which is the symbol of power, as well as two fountains. There is a church with a geometrically patterned floor that has survived to the present day without extensive harm. There are also tombs in the church along with religious articles.