The ancient area of Xanthos Turkey guide

Updated: 18 November 2013 Created: 12 November 2013
Xanthos TurkeyLocated between Fethiye and Kalkan is what remains of ancient Xanthos on a hilltop and with superb views. Part of Lycia, the city became known in 1842, when Charles Fellowes stole most of the artworks forty years after all the marble had been taken. It took him a couple of months to steal and load all of the artworks onto HMS Beacon on route to London, England. The Nereid Monument is on show today along with several other items in the British museum. Enough remains though to warrant a visit, as it is still a very interesting way to spend a few hours in Lycia.

The earliest finds date to 8th century BC. The only area fenced is the theatre area.

Beside the entrance road from Kinirk you will see the Arch of Vespasian and the Hellenistic gateway. The gateway bears the inscription of Antiokhos 111, who made a dedication to Apollo, Artemis and Leto. East of the road is where the original Nereid Monument stood and this is now marked with a commemorative board.

The Roman theatre has only the upper seats missing. It is near to the road and built on the site where an early Greek structure was found and incorporates the Byzantine city walls. 

At the back of the theatre with amazing views of the valley is the Lycian acropolis, which has the remains of what is believed to be an early royal palace in the southeast corner. 

Underneath areas of sand, which are protected, you can see original patches of mosaic, which indicates that the acropolis would have been used either by the Romans or Byzantines. There are also numerous water channels and a huge cistern.

To the front north of the theatre is the Harpy Tomb. Having had all of the marble stolen it has been restored with a cement cast reproduction. Besides this tomb a 3rd century BC Lycian sarcophagus stands and there were human remains and pots originally found inside; there is also a 6th century BC monument that has been re housed here.

Xanthos TurkeyThe Xanthian Obelisk is to the northeast and this is another pillared tomb, which is known as the inscribed pillar because it is covered with Lycian inscriptions.

To the east side of the car park lies the Byzantine Basilica although fenced it is easy to enter, just be aware of the local unofficial tour guides offering overpriced tours. In the basilica you can see extensive mosaics. To the north on the Roman acropolis are freestanding sarcophagi and carved into the hills are tombs, which are mainly houses. Finally, further north is a well-kept Byzantine monastery with the washbasins still intact in the courtyard.

Open from 8am – 7.30pm in the summer, and 8.30am – 5pm in the winter there is a cost of about 6TLR admission, plus a parking fee which is payable in the little souvenir/cafe stall.

Offering so much to see and being steeped in history it is hardly surprising that this is such a visitor attraction and one that really should not be missed.

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