was originally called Habesos or Habesa in
the ancient tongue of Lycia and later was given the name Antiphellos.
It is one of the oldest settlements in the region of Lycia. Most of the
ancient settlement is now covered by the modern town of Kas. The rock-cut
tombs to the north-east of the town date to the 4th century B.C. On a
rise between the open sea and the hill, which was probably the acropolis
of the ancient city, lies a rock tomb formed like a Doric structure with
Doric triglyphs on the facade. Inside the tomb is to be found a frieze
of dancing female figures. The acropolis was surrounded by a fortified
wall, of which traces are to be seen on the facade facing the island of
Meis (Kastellorizon). No traces of fortifications are to
be seen on the northern or western slopes. To the west of the modern town
stands the ancient theater overlooking the sea. This structure possesses
a remarkable view. It was constructed of local limestone and today the
tribunes and outer walls are still visible although no trace of the skene
is left. On the western edge of the acropolis are traces of a temple.
Tombs of the Roman period are scattered about the town and along the coast.
There are a number of stories connected with
the founding of Patara, one of Lycia's principal harbours. Some ancient
sources relate the legend that, the city was established by Patarus, the
son of Apollo and Lycia, a nymph of the river Xanthos. Strabo
describes the city as a large port, also explaining that it was founded
by Patarus. In reality, however, Lycians founded the city, and its name,
as seen on inscriptions and coins, was Patar in the Lycian language.
Patara derived its fame in ancient times
from the oracle of Apollo situated there. Oracles in the temple, which
was kept open only during the winter months, sought answers to questions
concerning the future.
Patara, which passed into the hands of Alexander
the Great in 334 B.C., retained its importance as a commercial centre
and naval base throughout the Hellenistic period. In the course of Egyptian
domination, Ptolemaios II (reigned 285-246 B.C) changed the city's name
to Arsinoe in honour of his wife. Apparently however, the name did not
catch on, and before long its original name was again in use.
Another interesting event in Patara's historical
record occurred in the year 42 B.C. during Brutus' seige of the city following
his capture of Xanthos. By surrounding Patara, Brutus, holding up the
tragic end of Xanthos as an example, hoped the Patarans would surrender
without bloodshed. When his proposal was turned down, Brutus began to
auction to the Patarans as slaves, people he had captured from neighbouring
Xanthos, whose citizens were related to the Patarans. When this initiative
also failed to produce results, he put his forces into action the next
morning. When the Patarans grasped the seriousness of their situation
they sent word of their surrender. Brutus killed no one after entering
the city, but wanted the people to turn their valuable possessions over
to him. They obeyed. Then a slave informed Brutus that his master had
hidden gold. In the trial the slave's owner said nothing, but his mother,
in tears, announced that her son was innocent, that it was she who had
concealed the gold. Even though the slave objected to the woman's testimony,
Brutus must have been moved by the silence of the young man and the suffering
of his mother, for he let them go free and punished the slave for informing
against his master.
Under Roman domination, Patara again became
one of Lycia's leading ports and received the title of metropolis. The
Roman provincial governor resided in Patara and the official archives
of the region were kept here as well. During this period, St. Paul passed
through Patara on his way to Rome (60 A.D). It is also known that the
Emperor Hadrian, along with his wife, stayed for a time in the city. In
addition, it undoubtedly won special honour during the Christian era as
the birthplace of St. Nicholas.
When one enters the ruins via a stabilized
road, the first monumental structure to catch the eye is the city gate.
According to the inscription on it, it was erected in the name of Mettius
Modestus, the Roman governor of Lycia-Pamphylia around 100 A.D., and his
family. Busts of the governor and members of his family were supported
by consoles on either side of the triple arched gate, which is in the
form of a typical Roman triumphal arch.
The remains of several buildings are visible
on the side nearest the sea along the plain at the foot of the hills.
Even though it is not possible to name these building with certainty,
one can partly distinguish, hidden among the overgrowth, a bath and a
Byzantine basilica with a nave and side aisles. The most important and
best preserved structure in this area is a small temple in the Corinthian
order. Measuring 13x16 metres and rising above a small podium, the Temple
of Inantis is highly decorated, especially its 6 metre high cella door.
It has been dated to the second century A.D.
The ruins of a large bath are located to
the south of the temple. From its inscripion it is apparent that the bath,
dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian (reigned 69-79 A.D.) who made monetary
contributions to public works in the region, was comprised of five main
intercommunicating compartments, each having its own specific function.
The small chambers in the eastern part of the bath made up the boiler
section. Small holes visible in the stone walls of the building were made
by nails that held marble-facing panels in place.
On the north-east slope of the hill is a
well preserved theatre. The cavea, which leans into the slope, is divided
in two by a diazoma entered by two galleries on the east and west. Because
the cavea and the orchestra are completely covered by sand from the sea,
it is impossible to be certain about the state of the seats. On the lower
floor of the two-storey stage building are the five doors standard to
Roman theatre architecture. On the outer face of the stage building is
a long inscription in Greek, according to which, a Pataran woman named
Vilia Procula had the building constructed in 147 A.D. and dedicated it
to Emperor Antoninus Pius; however, the theatre must be older than this.
Similarly, another inscription mentions a priestess of Apollo in connection
with certain repairs carried out during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius
(reigned 14-37 A.D.)
Besides a few tombs and large cistern, the
hill where the theatre is located, presumed to be the acropolis, contains
no other ruins worth describing.
On the western side of the ancient harbour,
which is now a marsh, is a granary which a Latin inscription informs us
was erected in the name of the Emperor Hadrian. This enormous structure,
completely intact except for the roof, contains eight long grain bins.
Eight separate doors along the front of the building give entry to these
A building in the form of a temple and exhibiting
excellent masonry, is situated to the north of the granary. The colonnaded
facade, approached by steps on its harbour side, and the half-columns
on the outer face of the one wall still standing, indicate that the building
was probably a pseudoperipteral temple or a monumental tomb.
The ruins of Antiphellos are spread around
the town of Kas, which lies at the neck of a small peninsula in the Mediterranean.
Its location makes it one of the most beautiful sites on the south-west
Anatolian coast. From what we can glean from Pliny, the original Lycian
name of this ancient city was Habesos. Later written sources however,
give the city's name as Antiphellos. It is agreed that Antiphellos was
a small port linked to neighbouring Phellos, some 7-8 km. to the north
as the crow flies. The term "phellos" means "rocky place"
in Greek. Antiphellos means "opposite the rocky place".
Because there was an increase in trade contacts
from Hellenistic times onwards, Antiphellos gained special importance
as a port for the export of the region's timber. Bearing in mind the difficulty
of land communications and the perpetual scarcity of suitable arable land
around it, it is certain that this town never became a large city.
In spite of the fact that it was established
in a place open to attack and difficult to defend, there is no trace of
city walls on the landward side. The only extant remains of fortifications
consist of rectangular walls of Hellenistic date that run the length of
the shore. An ancient breakwater Iying more or less below the foundations
of today's harbour has been completely destroyed. Behind the harbour,
on the road to the Çukurbag peninsula, are the remains of a temple
foundation. This temple, which is constructed of ashlar masonry, dates
to the first century B.C. Going from the temple directly west, one comes
across a lovely little theatre of Hellenistic type capable of seating
approximately 3.000 people. There is no diazoma in the cavea, which is
comprised of 26 tiers of wooden stage. There is an exit and an entrance
to the stage on two sides.
A tomb in the Doric order carved from living
rock is situated north-east of the theatre. In the funerary chamber, which
is entered by a high door, are three benches. That directly opposite the
door is decorated with a frieze having to do with funeral rites; it depicts
25 female figures, dancing hand-in-hand. The sides of the benches are
embellished with rosettes and oyster shell motifs. These features indicate
a fourth century B.C. date. Other tombs in a variety of forms are found
on the town's northern slopes.
An important monument worth visiting because
of its regional architectural characteristics, in the Lycian tomb on Uzunçarsi
Caddesi, the entire length of which is now a protected historic site.
This monument, which has become the symbol of Kas, is a single-doored
hyposorium, which together with the thick base surmounting it, is carved
from the solid rock. Above this is the sarcophagus itself, which is cut
from a separate piece of stone and its lid. Two lions' heads resting on
their paws are carved on each of the lid's two long sides. In addition
to providing decoration the lions'heads also facilitated lifting the lid
and placing it on top of the sarcophagus. Male and female figures connected
with funerary observances can be made out on the narrow western face,
which is divided into four panels. On the tomb's base is an eight-line
Lycian inscription. The monument dates to the fourth century B.C.
Xanthos, described by Strabo as Lycia's largest
city, takes its name from the river that flows beside it, the Xanthos
(today's Esen Çayi), which means "yellow" in Greek. Its
oldest name, however, appeared as 'Arnna' in ancient written sources and
Homer states that one of the heroes in the
Trojan War, a man named Sarpedon, came from Xanthos, However, the earliest
finds discovered in French excavations of the city, in progress since
1950, date to the eighth century B.C.
Xanthos maintained its independence until
545 B.C., when it was razed in the course of the Persian invasion under
the command of Harpagos. In spite of their defeat, Xanthians passion for
heroism and honour was immortalized in the pages of history. Herodotus
describes the horror of these events and the terrible fate of the Xanthians
thus: "Harpagos, marching to the Xanthos plain at the head of his
forces, in spite of their small numbers, performed many honourable deeds.
In the end, when they understood that they would be defeated, they retreated
behind the city walls and set fire to their wives, children, slaves, and
their goods, reducing all to ashes. And after this, they hurled themselves
on their enemies. Except for 80 families who were not present in the city
during the battle, all of the Xanthians perished."
As a result of excavations, it is also known
that some time between the years 475 and 470 B.C. Xanthos suffered another
major calamity when its acropolis burned to the ground. After this fire
the city was rebuilt, and, expanding rapidly, it soon developed into a
centre which had contact with the western world.
With the invasion of Alexander the Great,
Xanthos undoubtedly again went through troubled times.
Still another bitter chapter in this disaster-filled
history was Brutus' occupation of the city in 42 B.C. during Rome's civil
wars. Written sources describe these events in great detail. The Xanthians,
forewarned of Brutus' attack surrounded the city with a deep trench, destroying
the quarters that lay outside it so as to leave no provisions for the
Romans. Brutus, while attacking the walls from one side, marched his infantry
to the gates. The people, in spite of their exhaustion and the fact that
nearly all of them were wounded, continued to defend the city. Then the
neighbouring people of Oinoanda, in an act of treachery against the citizens
of Xanthos, showed the enemy the ways by which the city could be entered.
When Xanthos was on the point of being captured, the people ran to their
homes and voluntarily killed their families. They speared the envoys Brutus
sent to them to offer a truce and threw themselves on pyres they had made,
set fire to them, and died in the flames. Excluding slaves, Brutus was
able to take only a few women and 150 men. The Xanthians fought to the
death against the powerful Roman armies to protect their freedom, and
in doing so demonstrated their great courage one last time.
Under Roman domination, whether with the
contributions of Rome or of wealthy Lycians, Xanthos developed rapidly
and succeeded in recreating its former brilliance. Later, during the Byzantine
period, the city became the seat of a populous bishopric, but it was finally
destroyed once and for all by Arab raids in the seventh century.
Xanthos was first investigated in 1838 by
Sir Charles Fellows, who took a large number of the works of art he had
discovered back to the British Museum in London.
The city's main centre was the Lycian acropolis
that rises straight up from the bank of the river Xanthos (today's Esen
Çayi). On its east west and south sides, the acropolis is enclosed
by fifth century B.C. city walls in polygonal masonry. The northern wall
dates to the Byzantine era. Xanthos' earliest remains are located in the
south-east corner. One of the structures here, a building of square plan
comprised of several interconnecting rooms, is thought to have been a
palace destroyed in the course of Harpagos' invasion. Buildings were constructed
on top of the palace ruins during the period of Persian domination, however,
one can clearly see that these met with a fire.
On reaching the highest point of the acropolis,
one encounters a temple with a rectangular plan; only the large stone
blocks of its foundation survive today. It is unfortunate that, a number
of the structures like this in the acropolis suffered extensive damage,
and that their building materials were subsequently reused in a variety
of other places.
Located immediately in front of the Byzantine
walls is a second century A.D. Roman theatre that was in all probability
built atop a pre-existing theatre of Hellenistic date. The tiers of seats
are in a fairly good state of preservation. The orchestra, full of stones
from the stage building, which is in a ruinous state, is entered from
the east via a vaulted parados. The western parados serves only as a stage
exit and does not open to the outside.
On the west of the theatre are two famous,
magnificent Lycian sepulchral monuments standing side by side. The first
of these, which is 8.87 metres high and is known as the Harpy Tomb because
of a relief frieze carved on it, consists of a small funerary chamber
surrounded on all four sides by a massive stone pillar. This chamber is
covered at the top with a stone slab. The tomb's marble reliefs were taken
by Fellows to London in 1842. The reliefs now seen in their place are
plaster copies cast from the originals. The subject of these reliefs,
as difficult to understand as it is interesting, is the presentation of
gifts by family members to the owner of the tomb and his wife. On the
north and south sides, fantastic creatures called harpies-half bird, half
woman-carry the souls of the dead, represented as children, toward the
heavens. The monument dates to 480-470 B.C.
Next to the Harpy Tomb is another tomb of
a somewhat different type. This example, measuring 8.95 metres high in
its entirety, dates to the fourth century B.C. It consists of a pillar
made up of large stone slabs covered by a three-stepped roof, with a Lycian-style
sarcophagus at the summit.
The most important ruin in Xanthos is the
Inscribed Obelisk, situated behind the north portico of the agora. The
monument, dated 425-400 B.C., is an inscribed monolith rising atop a two-stepped
krepis. From fragments found during excavations, it has been determined
that this was originally a monumental tomb some 11 metres high, consisting
of the existing pillar, on top of which was a burial chamber encircled,
like the Harpy Tomb, by relief friezes. On top of this was a horizontal
stone roof crowned by a statue of a prince seated on a lion-shaped throne.
The inscription, which is on all four faces of the pillar and is more
than 250 lines long, is the longest known Lycian inscription and gives
important information about the period's history. According to the inscription,
the monument was erected to commemorate the battles and victories of a
Lycian prince named Kherei.
On the descent from the acropolis, there
is a beautiful Hellenistic tower and an ancient stone-paved road leading
to one of the city gates from the direction of the sea. An inscription
containing the name Antiochos dates the gate. An archway behind the gate
is dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 A.D.).A little further to
the north we can see some stone blocks of a podium, all that remains in
situ of a famous heroon in the form of an lonic temple. This building
is known in archaeological literature as the Nereid Monument. Almost all
of the rest of the monument, dating to c. 400 B.C., is now in the British
In the Roman acropolis are the ruins of a
huge monastery which has been excavated only recently. It has a large
church, built in the Byzantine period on top of a Roman temple. The church's
atrium and basilica are of the classical type with a nave and two side
aisles. The trefoil baptistry in the north of the apse, with its marble
pool and floor mosaics, is well worth seeing.
Several rock-cut tombs and monuments standing
side by side in the south-east corner of the acropolis present an impressive
sight. This site was the location of Lycia's oldest tomb usually known
as the Lion Tomb, but sometimes mentioned by the name of its owner, a
certain Payava. Today, all that can be seen of the tomb in situ are its
foundation walls; the upper portions of the monument are now in the British
Directly east of today's village of Üçagiz,
this ancient town, in which nature and history complement each other,
is one where the picturesque attains a beauty of which one can never get
Just as we have no knowledge at all of Teimussa's
history, there is also no known coinage from the site. The existence of
tombs bearing inscriptions in Lycian points to settlement prior to the
fourth century B.C.
Aside from an entry gate, a few simple foundations
and some walls in the sea, all of the visible remains consist of tombs.
Two rock-cut tombs in the form of houses, their doors broken, can be seen
in a spot near the store. On the tomb at the right is the figure of a
naked child; above the door is a Lycian inscription typical of the fourth
century. Continuing directly east, one comes to a wide area covered with
Lycian sarcophagi from the Roman period. It is interesting that inscriptions
on some of them mention individuals from Cyaneae or Myra, and inscriptions
have been found saying that people who desecrated the tombs would pay
their fines to those cities. In all likelihood, Teimiussa was a small
settlement tied administratively to these two cities.
At the town's eastern end one descends to
a small quay via steps hewn from living rock. As a result of settling
of the terrain, sone of Teimiussa's ruins are now under water, a feature
that gives the site added attraction.
To reach Letoon, you turn west one kilometer
beyond the road from KINIK to Fethiye and continue 5 km. The history of
Letoon is closely linked with that of Xanthos. It is known to have been
one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian region. Due
to the rising water level, archeological digs have been suspended. The
remains unearthed indicate they belong to the period between the 7th century
B.C. and the 6th century A.D. The most important edifice is the Greek
style theater which has been preserved until our day.