The ancient city of Xanthos, located in the town of Kınık in the Kaş district of Antalya, is actually located on the highway between Fethiye and Kaş. The ancient city of Xanthos, built on two hills, also dominates the wide plain on the banks of the Eşen Stream. In the ancient city, there is the Lycian Acropolis, which starts from the shore of the Eşen River and extends to the steep cliffs, and the Roman Acropolis, which is built on a larger area and is located on the north side. The ancient city of Xanthos, which is known as the administrative center of the Lycian Union and is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is located close to many important touristic areas. We have compiled the history of the city, transportation options and activities that can be done in the vicinity for you.
History of Xanthos Ancient City
According to Homeros, the history of the city, which was under the rule of Sarpedon, dates back to the 8th century BC. The city of Xanthos, which is rumored to have participated in the Trojan War, was besieged by the Persian commander Harpagos between 545 and 546 BC. The Xanthos natives, who defended their city for a long time, realized that they could not win a victory, and left their lands by setting the city on fire and leaving a burnt and ruined city to the Persian commander Harpagos.
The city of Xanthos, which has survived many disasters such as fire and siege throughout its history, was ruled by Alexander the Great in 334 BC, the Egyptian Dynasty in 309 BC, and the Syrian king 3 Antiokhos. The city of Xanthos, which became the capital of the Lycian Union in the 2nd century BC, was destroyed by the Roman Brutus in 42 BC and then rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius. Some of the Roman buildings built during this period have managed to reach our day. When the 7th century was reached, the city was flooded with many Arabs and lost its importance to a great extent during this period.
Places to See in Xanthos Ancient City
Some remains in the ancient city of Xanthos, which were discovered by an archaeologist named Charles Fellows in 1938, were moved to London by the same name. Despite this, it is possible to see many important structures and ruins in the ancient city today.
The most important and remarkable of these is undoubtedly the Harpy reliefs… Just north of the Lycian acropolis, there is a Roman Era Theatre. On the Harpy reliefs located just behind this theater and placed on a high, rectangular, monolithic pedestal, woman-bodied and bird-winged creatures with a family of the dead are depicted and these creatures are believed to carry the souls of the dead to the sky. The original remains of these reliefs are exhibited in the British Museum.
The main remains to be seen in the ancient city of Xanthos other than the Harpy reliefs are:
- Lycian sarcophagus with a pedestal,
- Roman era agora, which was built as a square on a large area and surrounded by shops on three sides,
- A mausoleum with an inscription written in Lycian and Greek languages, which is largely similar to the Harpy reliefs,
- PaVaya, Merehi and Aslanlı Tomb sarcophagi,
- The Nereid Monument, the foundations of which remain today.
In addition to all these, it is possible to encounter many rock tombs and pedestaled tombs in the ancient city of Xanthos. Although it is a pity that many original remains here are exhibited in the British Museum, it is one of the important ruins that should be visited in order to have an idea of the functioning of the city in its period.
What Can Be Done Around The Ancient City of Xanthos?
The ancient city of Xanthos, located between Kaş and Fethiye, is also very close to the world-famous beaches in these regions. Especially in the summer months, Kaş, Kalkan, Ölüdeniz or Kabak Bay can be visited. Since there are many ancient cities on the route, it is possible to visit each of them. There are also plenty of accommodation options for long-term travel, including campsites on the road. On the other hand, Patara beach, also known as the spawning point of caretta caretta turtles and the ancient city of Patara can be reached with a short journey.
It is possible to reach the ancient city of Xanthos by minibus or shuttles departing from the center of Kaş and Fethiye or by taxi. If you are traveling with your personal vehicle, you will not encounter traffic or similar situations on the road.
The visiting hours of Xanthos Ancient City in the winter period and in the summer period are different. During the winter period determined as 3 October to 14 April, you can make your visits between 08:00-17:00. In the summer period, which is determined as between April 15 and October 2, you can visit the ancient city between 08:30-19:30. It is possible to enter the ancient city of Xanthos with a museum card. The entrance fees of the ancient city, which can be visited 7 days a week, are determined as 25,00 TL as of 2023.