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ANCIENT CITY OF PATARA
The name Patera is still attached to the numerous ruins of the city. These, according to the survey of Capt. Beaufort, are situated on the sea-shore, a little to the eastward of the river Xanthus, and consist of a theatre excavated in the northern side of a small hill, a ruined temple on the side of the same hill, and a deep circular pit, of singular appearance, which may have been the seat of the oracle. The town walls surrounded an area of considerable extent; they may easily be traced, as well as the situation of a castle which commanded the harbor, and of several towers which flanked the walls. On the outside of the walls there is a multitude of stone sarcophagi, most of them bearing inscriptions, but all open and empty; and within the walls, temples, altars, pedestals, and fragments of sculpture appear in profusion, but ruined and mutilated. The situation of the harbor is still apparent, but it is a swamp, choked up with sand and bushes.

The theatre was built in the reign of Antonius Pius; its diameter is 265 feet, and has about 30 rows of seats. There are also ruins of thermae, which, according to an inscription upon them, were built by Vespasian.

In 1993 a Roman milestone was unearthed, the Stadiasmos Provinciae Lyciae in the form of a monumental pillar on which was inscribed in Greek a dedication to Claudius and an official announcement of roads being built by the governor, Quintus Veranius, in the province of Lycia, giving place names and distances, essentially a monumental public itinerarium.

The site is currently being excavated during two summer months each year by a team of Turkish archaeologists. At the end of 2007, all the sand had been cleared from the amphitheatre and some other buildings, and the columns on the main street had been partially re-erected (with facsimile capitals). The excavations have revealed masonry in remarkable condition.


ANCIENT CITY OF LETOON
The sanctuary of Leto called the Letoon, near Xanthos, was one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian region in Anatolia. The site is located to 20 km west of Kalkan approximately four km south of Xanthos along the Xanthos River.

Archaeological finds at the site, which was never a fully-occupied settlement, but remained essentially a religious centre, date back to the late sixth century BC, before the Greek cultural hegemony in Lycia, which began in the early fourth century. In earlier times, the site was probably already sacred to the cult of an earlier mother goddess she is Eni Mahanahi in Lycia which was superseded by the worship of Leto, joined by her twin offspring. The "Lycian" Apollo, a Roman pastiche in a Praxitelean mannered Greek mythology, a claim for an early cult of Apollo in the valley of the Xanthus, unsupported by history or archaeology, was provided by two myths, each connected to an eponymous "Lydus". One sprang from the autochthonous Telchines of Rhodes and would have colonized the region at the time of Deucalion's flood; the other Lycus was an Athenian brother of Aegeus driven from Athens, a seer who introduced the cult of Lycaean Apollo, which a folk etymology connected with Lycia and therefore made him its Athenian colonizer.

The foundations of the Hellenistic temple dedicated to Leto, and her children, Artemis and Apollo, have been excavated under the direction of H. Metzger from 1962. Archeologists have excavated much of the ruins; discoveries include the Letoon trilingual, bearing inscriptions in Greek, Lycia language and Aramaic, which has provided crucial keys in the deciphering of the Lycia language; it is conserved in the Fethiye Museum.

The sacrosanctity of the site is the purport of an anecdote related by Appian concerning Mithridates, who was planning to cut down the trees in the sacred grove for his own purposes in his siege of the Lycia coastal city of Patara, but was warned against the sacrilegious action in a nightmare. The site remained active through the Roman period. The site was Christianized by the construction of an early church, which reused cut stone from the sanctuary, but was abandoned from the seventh century.


ANCIENT COTY OF XANTHOS
Xanthos is the Greek appellation of the name of the city of Arina, of Lycia origin. The Hittite and Luwian name of the city is given as Arinna. The Romans called the city Xanthus. Xanthos was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycia civilization, and later for the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory.

Xanthos is mentioned by numerous ancient Greek and Roman writers. Strabo notes Xanthos as the largest city in Lycia. Both Herodotus and Appian describe the conquest of the city by Harpagus on behalf of the Persian Empire, in approximately 540 BC. According to Heredotus, the Persians met and defeated a small Lycia army in the flatlands to the north of the city.

After the encounter, the Lycians retreated into the city which was besieged by Harpagus. The Lycians destroyed their own Xanthian acropolis, killed their wives, children, and slaves, and then proceeded on a suicidal attack against the superior Persian troops. Thus, the entire population of Xanthos perished but for 80 families who were absent during the fighting.

During the Persian occupation, a local leadership was installed at Xanthos, which by 520 BC was already minting its own coins. By 516 BC, Xanthos was included in the first nomos of Darius I in the tribute list. Xanthos' fortunes were tied to Lycia's as Lycia changed sides during the Greco-Persian Wars, archeological digs demonstrate that Xanthos was destroyed in approximately 475 BC - 470 BC, whether by the Athenian Kimon or by the Persians is open to debate. As we have no reference to this destruction in either Persian or Greek sources, some scholars attribute the destruction to natural or accidental causes. Xanthos was rebuilt after the destruction and in the final decades of the 5th century BC, Xanthos conquered nearby Telmessos and incorporated it into Lycia.

The prosperity of Lycia during the Persian occupation is demonstrated by the extensive architectural achievements in Xanthos, particularly the many tombs, culminating in the Nereid Monument.

Reports on the city's surrender to Alexander the Great differ: Arrian reports a peaceful surrender, but Appian claims that the city was sacked. After Alexander's death, the city changed hands among his rival heirs; Diodorus notes the capture of Xanthos by Ptolemy I Soter from Antigonos. Appian, Dio Cassius, and Plutarch each report that city was once again destroyed in the Roman Civil Wars, circa 42 BC, by Brutus, but Appian notes that it was rebuilt under Mark Antony. Remains of a Roman amphitheater remain on the site. Marinos reports that there was a school of grammarians at Xanthos in late antiquity.

The archeological excavations at Xanthos have yielded many texts in Lycian and Greek, including several bilingual texts that are useful in the decipherment of Lycian.


ANCIENT CITY OF SDYMA
To get to Sidyma, turn off the main Fethiye-Kalkan road about 6 km south of Eşen and continue on about 14 km to Sidyma (village of Dodurga). Not much is known about this site. However, the form of the name -yma, is proof of its high antiquity. There is evidence of settlement at least in the early classical period (including the ruin of a pillar tomb and a wall of ashlar and polygonal masonry) but most remains are from the Roman Imperial age.

Remains include numerous sarcophagi, impressive monumental tombs, a badly-preserved theatre, bath, stoa, temple, church and others things.


ANCIENT CITY OF PINARA
The city, though it is not often mentioned by ancient writers, appears from its vast and beautiful ruins, to have been, as Strabo asserts, one of the largest cities of Lycia, its chief port city until the harbor silted up to form the reed-filled wetlands of today. Yet another rare mention of the city in ancient sources is in connection with the help it provided, along with several other Lycian cities, to Pixodarus of Caria.

Pinara was a member of the Lycian League, in which it held three votes. The city surrendered to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. After Alexander's death, the city fell to the kingdom of Pergamum. Pinara became a Roman city when Pergamum was willed by its last king Attalus III to the Roman Republic in 133 BC. The city enjoyed prosperity during Roman rule, but was badly damaged by earthquakes in 141 and 240 AD. In the first occurrence, the city is recorded to have received a contribution from Opramoas for the repair of public buildings.

Pinara was Christianized early. Five bishops are known: Eustathius, who signed the formula of Acacius of Cesarean at the Council of Seleucia in 359; Heliodorus, who signed the letter from the bishops of Lycia to the emperor Leo I the Thracian (458); Zenas, present at the Trullan Council (692); Theodore, at the Second Council of Nicaea (787); Athanasius, at the synod that reinstated Patriarch Photius I of Constantinople (the Photian Council) in 879. Pinara was the birthplace of Nicolas of Myra. Under repeated pressure from invading forces, the city became uninhabited in the ninth century.


ANCIENT CITY OF TLOS
Tlos is known to have been one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian region. It is known as the city where mythological hero Bellerophon and his winged flying horse Pegasus lived. Determined as the oldest city of Lycian Region by the archaeological excavations, Tlos dates back to the time before 2000 B.C. The graveyard on the natural rocks of the city acropolis was filled with most elaborate house-type tombs Of Lycia. It is known that the king-type tomb in the necropolis is dedicated to Bellerophon.

As one of the six principal cities of Lycia (and one of the most powerful), Tlos once bore the title under the Roman empire of 'the very brilliant metropolis of the Lycian nation'. It is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia (known as 'Tlawa' in Lycian inscriptions) and was eventually inhabited by Ottoman Turks, one of the few Lycian cities to continue it existence through the 19th century. There is evidence that Tlos was a member of the Lycian Federation from the 2nd century BC. Two wealthy philanthropists, one of which was Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, were responsible for much of the building in the 2nd century AD. Inscriptions tell us that the citizens were divided into demes, the names of three of them are known: Bellerophon, Iobates and Sarpedon, famous Lycian legendary heroes. A Jewish community is also known to have existed with its own magistrates.

Tlos was re-discovered by Charles Fellows in 1838 and he was followed by the explorer Spratt, who thought that "a grander site for a great city could scarcely have been selected in all Lycia" - great praise indeed for a land abounding in grand scenery.


ANCIENT CITY OF ANTIPHELLOS
Although the Teke peninsula has been occupied since the stone age it seems Kaş was founded by the Lycians, and its name in Lycian language was Habesos or Habesa. It was a member of the Lycian League, and its importance during this time is confirmed by the presence of one of the richest Lycian necropolis.

The ancient Greeks later gave it the name of Antiphéllos or Antíphilos, since it was the harbor in front of the city of Phellos. During the Roman period, Antiphéllos was famous for exporting sponges and timber. Pliny the Elder refers to the town in the fifth book of his Naturalis Historia. After 395 the town became part of the Eastern Roman Empire and during the early Middle Ages was a bishop's see - and as Antiphellus is still a titular see.

A street in Kaş with traditional houses and a Lycian tomb in the background.The town suffered because of Arab incursions, then was annexed (under the name of Andifli) to the Anatolian Sultanate of Rüm, led by the Seljuks. After the demise of the Seljuks, it came under the Ottomans.

In 1924, because of the Exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey after the Greco-Turkish War, the majority of the population, which was of Greek origin, left the town for Greece.


ANCIENT CITY OF KEKOVA
Kekova dates back to the 5th Century. At that time, Lycia was an important kingdom. King Sarpedon who fought the Trojan War originally belonged to Lycia.

Kekova was the seaport of Lycia, connected to the mainland.

The Lycians traded extensively with the Greeks. This also made them vulnerable to pirates and so the cities were well fortified.

Over the centuries the region was ravaged by a series of earthquakes and the ancient cities were submerged six meters below the sea level. As you cruise down the sea, you can see the ruins of buildings and walls under the water.


ANCIENT CITY OF MYRA
There is no substantiated written reference for Myra before it was listed as a member of the Lycian alliance (168 BC - AD 43); according to Strabo (14:665) it was one of the largest towns of the alliance.

The Greek citizens worshipped Artemis Eleutheria, who was the protective goddess of the town. Zeus, Athena and Tyche were venerated as well.

The ruins of the Lycian and Roman town are mostly covered by alluvial silts. The Acropolis on the Demre-plateau, the Roman theatre and the Roman baths (eski hamam) have been partly excavated. The semi-circular theater was destroyed in an earthquake in 141, but rebuilt afterwards.

Rock-cut tombs in Myra. There are two necropoli of Lycian rock-cut tombs in the form of temple-fronts carved into the vertical faces of cliffs at Myra: the river-necropolis and the ocean-necropolis. The ocean necropolis is just northwest of the theater. The best known tomb in the river-necropolis (located 1.5 km up the Demre Cayi from the theater) is the "Lion's tomb,"also called the "Painted Tomb." When the traveller Charles Fellows saw the tombs in 1840 he found them still colorfully painted red, yellow and blue.

Andriake was the harbor of Myra in classical times, but silted up later on. The main structure there surviving to the present day is a granary built during the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE). Beside this granary is a large heap of Murex shells, evidence that Andriake had an ongoing operation for the production of purple dye.[1] In early Christian times, Myra was the metropolis of Lycia. The town is traditionally associated with Saint Paul, who changed ships in its harbor. Saint Nicholas of Myra was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century, and was an ardent opponent of Arianism at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Myra became the capital of the Byzantine Eparchy of Lycia under Theodosius II, who reigned from 408 to 450.

After a siege in 809, Myra fell to Abbasid troops under Caliph Harun al-Rashid. The town went into a decline afterwards. Early in the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (ruled between 1081 - 1118), Myra was again overtaken by Islamic invaders, this time the Seljuk Turks. In the confusion, sailors from Bari in Italy seized the relics of Saint Nicholas, over the objections of the monks caring for them, and spirited the remains away to Bari, where they arrived on May 9, 1087, and soon brought that city visitors making pilgrimage to Saint Nicholas.


LYCIAN WAY
Lycian Way is a 509 Km, way marked hiking trail in southwestern Turkey, connecting Fethiye in the west with southwest of Antalya (the village of Hisarçandır up on the mountains, to be more precisely) in the east along the Lycian coast. Lycian Way is great, if sometimes a bit tiresome, to get a sense of true Mediterranean Turkey, away from crowded beaches, fancy resorts, and posh palm trees.
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