Limyra Ancient City

Limyra Ancient City

Limyra, an ancient city in Lycia, played a significant role during the reign of King Pericles as it served as the capital of Lycia and held three votes in the Lycian Union. Its historical significance dates back to at least the 5th century BC, as evidenced by a spelling of its name in an inscription from that period.

In the early 4th century BC, during the reign of King Pericles, Limyra was chosen as the capital city for the establishment of the Lycian Union. The city's location on the mountain side of the hill to the northeast of the Finike Plains made it an ideal location for the capital.

Limyra Ancient City

Limyra continued to be an important center during the Byzantine Empire, serving as an episcopal center. Today, the ancient city of Limyra is located in Zengerler village on the Kumluca-Finike road, approximately 11 km after Kumluca. It remains an important historical site, offering insight into the rich history of Lycia.

Following the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great, Limyra came under the rule of various powers such as Helen, Ptalemaios, Lysimakhos, and Syria. However, it was during the 2nd and 3rd centuries that the city experienced a golden age after the Pericles period. During the Byzantine era, Limyra served as an important bishopric center but was eventually abandoned after being raided by Arab forces in the 8th and 9th centuries.

The acropolis of the city is located on Tocak Mount, approximately 300 meters above sea level. The inner fortress and lower castle can be found to the north of the ancient city. The naturally protected hill is surrounded by walls and features a castle, palace, and fortress. There are also stairs and pits carved into the rock that are believed to be examples of Persian fire altars.

Located on the south side of the acropolis is the Mausoleum of Pericles, which is decorated with caryatids dating back to around 300 B.C. This tomb, also known as the Heroon of Pericles, is a temple facade that overlooks the city and the Mediterranean from an elite location on top of the acropolis. Measuring 10 meters by 6 meters, the tomb was built on a 19 x 18 meter terrace and was dedicated to one of the founders of the city. The important parts of the Perikle Heroon are now on display at the Antalya Museum and should not be missed.

The Ptolemaion Monument is a tomb monument with a cone-shaped roof that sits atop a 15-meter base. Constructed by the Ptolemaic kings, who were once rulers of Egypt and considered themselves to be gods, this monument was built hundreds of years ago. Following the death of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemaic Empire shifted its focus to Lycia, where they constructed temples similar in design and influence to those in Egypt. Of these structures, the Ptolemaion monument in Limyra is the most well-preserved, featuring a cylindrical main temple with a square plan that contains friezes depicting the kings.

The Cenotaph of Gaius Caesar is a monument built to honor the memory of those who have died, despite their body not being present. Gaius Caesar, the son of Emperor Augustus, died in Limyra, but his body was taken to Rome. He perished in battle on February 21st, 4 CE, and the monument was built in his honor.