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XANTHOS

Xanthos1Between Fethiye and Patara, the ruins of the Lyican city of Xanthos are a one km walk uphill from the main road at Kınık. The site forms one of Turkey's eleven UNESCO-listed world heritage sites along with the nearby Letoon.

Backstory

Forgotten as it is now, this was once a hugely important town, the capital of Lycia, with fine monumental buildings to show for it.

The city was also more than usually determined to keep its independence, so much so in fact that in 540 BC when it was staring defeat in the face at the hands of the Persian general Harpagus, the women and children immolated themselves on funeral pyres while their men went down fighting. In 42 BC as the Roman general Brutus descended on them the locals once again preferred to kill themselves rather than surrender.

Around the site

As you approach Xanthos you pass on the lefthand side of the road a crumbling arched gateway. On the other side of the road are the scant remains of the Nereid Monument whose statuery is now in the British Museum.

Continuing up the road you come the remarkably preserved theatre, as well as to two soaring monuments. One resembles a raised Lycian tomb, while the other, a Persian-styled building, has a flat roof beneath which can be seen copies of carvings carted off to England via the port at Patara by the Englishman Charles Fellows in 1842. They now reside in the British Museum. 

In front of the theatre is an agora with a fine stone inscribed in the Lycian language. Behind it yet more ruins run out onto a headland above the Xanthos river, offering a panoramic view of the Kınık greenhouses.

XanchurchAcross the road from the theatre is a long stretch of glistening white flagstoned road which leads eventually to the remains of a basilican church that must have been in its heyday as big and impressive as the one in Demre. You can still make out the carved marble entrances that led from the narthex into the body of the church as well as the synthronon ringing the apse. A cloister-like area stood in front of the church.

Behind the ticket office a path leads uphill to the necropolis where you'll see a mixture of sarcophagi and temple-style rock tombs as well as a second tall, flat-roofed monument like the one beside the theatre, this time without any carvings on it. Furher uphill the path runs out but you'll come to the ruins of a small castle.Xannecrop

If you follow the road up past the ticket office you will come eventually to a vast rockface pitted with yet more picturesque tombs.

Like Stonhenge, Xanthos is a little unlucky in its location, with a road slicing through the site. Were it not for the road the ticket office could be positioned at the foot of the hill, making it less obtrusive. 

Sleeping

There's nowhere to stay in Kınık. Most people visit from Fethiye, Patara, Kaş or Kalkan.

Transport info

Any of the dolmuşes plying the coast road from KaşKalkan and Patara to Fethiye will be able to drop you off at Kınık whence the ruins are clearly signposted.

There are also tours to Xanthos and the Letoon from all the nearby resorts although they usually include other destinations as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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