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Patara - Amphitheatre
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Xanthos Ancient City
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Letoon Ancient City

Xantos - Patara - Letoon

Xantos (or Xanthos) Ancient City is located in the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, near Fethiye. The ancient city was the capital of Lycian Empire, which was one of the most powerful of their time.

The people who came from Crete according to Ancient Greek Mythology founded the city in around 6th century B.C. According to the myth, the enemies attacked them and there was no chance to escape. What they did was amazing. They set fire to their homes and properties and they fought until they die. As a result, only a few families who were away from the city survived and when they came to their city, they rebuilt the entire city and it finally became the most powerful city of their time and capital of Lycian League.

Alexander The Great conquered the city at the end of 4th century B.C. and after his death, the city was controlled by The Ptolemaic Dynasty. Finally, it became an important city of Romans.

A British traveller, Charles Fellows, first discovered the city in 1842. He spent a few months there and got the best-protected statues and sculptures and took it back to England. Most of the original pieces of this ancient city can be seen in The British Museum. The ones in the ancient city are the reconstruction of their originals.

The most beautiful artifacts in the city are the Lycian Tombs. Harpy and Nereids Tombs have amazing reliefs with the depiction offemale birds and nereids.

The other buildings in the city are the Artemis Temple, A Byzantine Church, Roman Theater and Acropolis and the cisterns. You can also see the Xanthian Obelisk with the longest description in Lycian language in the world. 


Letoon was the sacred cult-center of Lycians and the city was dedicated to the 3 national deities of Lycian Mtyhology: Leto and her twins, Apollo and Artemis.

Letoon was not a real city, but a sanctuary place where people pray and the national festivals were held. Leto was a very important goddess in Lycians and we can easily say that The Mother-Goddess religion of ancient times dating back to since 3000 B.C. affected the Lycians a lot.

There are the ruins of three different temples in the city. Each of them was dedicated to the 3 deities and located side by side in the center of the city.

The Nymphaeum (fountain) is another important area and it has a connection to the natural spring. The fountain was probably used in the religious ceremonies. Finally there is a very nice theater vaulted passages leading to different entrances. One of the entrances has nice reliefs including Dionysus, The god of wine.

The city was silted by The Xantos River, so it is still waiting for more excavations.


Patara was the most important port of the Lycians, located at the end of the Xantos River meeting with Mediterranean. It was a very prosperous city because of advanced trade and was one of the 6 biggest cities of Lycian Empire. The city is also very important forChristianity as Saint Paul visited the city in his third missionary journey and changed his ship to go to Jerusalem. So, manyBiblical Groups are visiting the city.

Patara is also the birthplace of Saint Nicholas who is known as Santa Claus in the western world.

The city has Roman-type triple-arched triumphal arch in excellent condition, many sarcophagi, a bath complex, a Byzantine Basilica, ancient main road, The Amphitheatre and the large Granary of Hadrian.

Patara has also one of the longest and nicest beaches in Turkey and offers a very nice swimming experience. 

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