Xanthos Ancient City

Xanthos & Letoon Ancient Cities

Xanthos Ancient City

Xanthos, which is famous for its story and ruins, is known as the city of never-surrendering people. According to Homer, the history of Xanthos can be dated back all the way to 1200 BC. However, historical data also suggests that it was founded somewhere around 1000-800 BC. This city differentiated itself from other Lycian cities with many monuments on its hillside near an Esen stream. Xanthos, which was one of the most important cities of the Lycian Union and also its capital for a time, is a historically significant religious center. Excavations have unearthed many tombs and monuments from this ancient city.

According to Herodotus, when the Persians took control of Xanthos, the people of Xanthos set fire to the city and surrendered it to Persian commander Harpagos in a ruined state. Alexander the Great conquered this city in 334 BC. After his death, Xanthos came under the rule of Ptolemaios in 309 BC and then Antiochus III of Syria.

Xanthos Ancient City

Xanthos, the capital of Lycia in 2nd century BC, came under rule of Romans in 42 BC. Most surviving structures from that time period were built during Roman Empire rule. When Byzantine took over, Xanthos episcopacy center gained many new structures due to its higher importance. Arab invasions caused city to lose its importance in 8th and 9th century.

Harpy Tomb: The Harpy Tomb, a tomb structure of Lycia, is one of the most important artifacts in Anatolia. In this grave chamber are quite large rectangular columns that serve as supports for the entire structure and rest on simple pedestals with large coverstones at their tops.The tomb believed to belong to Kybernis, who died in the battle of Salamis in 479 BC.. The reliefs on the surface of the Harpy monument were taken by Charles Fellows to England in 1842, where they now reside in the British Museum.

Nereids Monument: According to the British Museum, Nereid Monument, the most famous Lycian tomb, was probably built for Arbinas, King of Lycia, and his family. The Nereid Monument is a Lycian classical period sculpture in the form of a Greek temple. It stands on a floor adorned with sculpted friezes. The sculpture, nicknamed the Nereid Monument due to its depiction of 12 female figures between columns, was erected in honor of a daughter's love and memory. The Nereids Monument was removed from Xanthos by Charles Fellows and taken to England. The monument is now on display in the 17th hall of the British Museum. .

Theatre: The theatre in Xanthos has a capacity of 2200 and was built in the Hellenistic Period before being renovated during the Roman period.

Stage Building: The stage building, which includes entrances to the vault and semicircle orchestra, is an example of Roman architecture.

Square Area: The square open area surrounded with porches on all sides to the north of the theater is the Roman Agora.

Letoon Ancient City

Letoon was not just a place where national festivals happened, but also where all religious and political decisions of the rulers were declared to the public in written form.

Letoon Ancient City

Letoon includes the stone inscriptions on which the longest and most important scripts in Lycian language are written. The famous inscription written in three languages was an unexpected discovery for the world of antiquity in 1973. Along with temples to Leto, Apollo and Artemis, visitors can find a monastery and the ruins of what is believed to be the Roman Theater.

Leto Temple: The largest temple in the sanctuary is Leto Temple and was built on the west side in peripteros style. It measures at 30,25 meters by 15,75 meters wide.

Apollo Temple: The Apollo Temple, modeled in the Doric style and built on the east side of the site, resembles Lycian tombs. The foundation remains are notable because they have a timber structure.

Artemis Temple: The Artemis Temple is smaller than the other two temples. It measures 18,20 meters by 8,70 meters.

Xanthos was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List with Letoon in 1988.