Xanthos Archaeological Site is 212 km (131 mile) far to Antalya centurum. Xanthos was the capital city of the Lycian Federation and its greatest city for most of Lycian history.  It was made famous to the Western world in the 19th century by its British discoverer Charles Fellows.  It is very old – finds date back to the 8th century BC, but it is possible that the site may have existed during the Bronze Age or during the first centuries of the Iron Age Xanthos and Letoon are often seen as a “double-site”, since the two were closely linked and Letoon was administered by Xanthos. Letoon was the sacred cult center of Lycia, located less than 10 km to the south of Xanthos.  Xanthos-Letoon is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Turkey. For this reason, it has been registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Currently there is a French team excavating Xanthos and Letoon.

The history of Xanthos is quite a violent – the Xanthosians twice demonstrated the fierce independence of the Lycian people when they chose to commit mass suicide rather than submit to invading forces.  The Xanthosian men set fire to their women, children, slaves and treasure upon the acropolis before making their final doomed attack upon the invading Persians.  Xanthos was later repopulated but the same gruesome story repeated itself in 42 BC when Brutus attacked the city during the Roman civil wars in order to recruit troops and raise money.  Brutus was shocked by the Lycians’ suicide and offered his soldiers a reward for each Xanthosian saved. Only 150 citizens were rescued.

Xanthos became the seat of an archbishopric in the 8th century, but was deserted during the first wave of Arab raids in the 7th century. Although Charles Fellows carried away most of the finds of Xanthos (now in the British Museum) many interesting monuments and structures remain, including two of the most interesting tombs in Lycia.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing Fellows took from Xanthos was The Nereid Monument, a very large and elaborate Lycian tomb dating from about 380 BC, an interesting mix of Greek and Lycian styles.  Other notable objects taken were the lovely Lion Tomb and the Tomb of Payava.

Open daily between 08:30-17:00
Address: Kınık – Antalya
Tel: +90.242.2385688-89
Admission: 3 TL

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