CULTURE


Xanthos-Letoon - ancient city recognized as UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkiye

Baku, April 21, AZERTAC

Made up of two neighboring settlements located in the southwestern part of Anatolia, respectively within the boundaries of Turkish provinces of Antalya and Muğla, Xanthos-Letoon is a remarkable archaeological complex.

The site, which was the capital of Lycia, was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1988.

Serving as the capital of the ancient Lycian kingdom in current-day southwestern Turkey, it "illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art.

The site represents the most unique extant architectural example of the ancient Lycian Civilization, which was one of the most important cultures of the Iron Age in Anatolia.

The two sites strikingly illustrate the continuity and unique combination of the Anatolian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations. It is also in Xanthos-Letoon that the most important texts in Lycian language were found.

The inscriptions engraved in rock or on huge stone pillars on the site are crucial for a better understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo-European language.

Xanthos, which was the capital of ancient Lycia, illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions with the Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art. The rock-cut tombs, pillar tombs and pillar-mounted sarcophagi in Xanthos are unique examples of ancient funerary architecture.

Their value was already recognized in Antiquity and they influenced the art of neighboring provinces: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is for instance directly influenced by the Xanthos Nereid Monument. The fact that some architectural and sculptural pieces of the sites were taken to England in the 19th century, including the Monument of Harpy, the Tomb of Payava and the Nereid Monument, led to their word-wide recognition, and consequently the Xanthos marbles became an important part of the history of ancient art and architecture.

East of the Xanthos River (Eşen Çayı), the first monumental zone includes the old Lycian Acropolis, which was remodeled during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. At that time, a church was built at the northeast corner, while an advanced defensive structure fortified the western side of the citadel along the river.

Letoon, on the other hand, was the cult center of Xanthos, the ancient federal sanctuary of the Lycian province and Lycian League of Cities. As many inscriptions found at the site demonstrate, the federal sanctuary was the place where all religious and political decisions of the ruling powers were declared to the public.

The famous trilingual inscription, dating back to 337 B.C., features a text in Lycian and Greek as well as an Aramaic summary and was discovered near the temple of Apollo. In the sanctuary of Letoon, three temples are dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo. In addition, the site includes the ruins of a nymphaeum dating back to Hadrian, built on a water source that was considered sacred.

Xanthos-Letoon directly influenced the architecture of the principal ancient cities of Lycia such as Patara, Pınara, and Myra, as well as the neighboring provinces.

The Halicarnassus Mausoleum, which was ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is directly influenced by Xanthos’ Nereid Monument.

 

 

 

© Content from this site must be hyperlinked when used.
Report a mistake by marking it and pressing ctrl + enter

FEEDBACK

Fields with * are required.

Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.
Letters are not case-sensitive.