Lycian Rock Tombs

On a wet and dreary day we combined taking Hasan’s new boss’s car for a service in Ortaca, with a visit to nearby Dalyan to see the magnificent Kings Tombs carved into the Rock face.

To find the tombs we had to drive down some quaint narrow streets, we eventually ended up at a restaurant across the lake from the tombs that was full of very pleasant German tourists. Once they had re boarded their coach we polished off their buffet lunch and sat with the owner of the restaurant. He was very knowledgeable about the tombs and the nearby ancient city of Kaunos and it was a joy to listen to him.

The tombs were built, probably in the 4th to the 2nd century bc, to bury the Kings of Keunos, hence the name! They are built in the Hellenistic period style, using columns and temple facades. They really are quite an incredible sight and I just looked in awe of the achievements of those ancient builders.

The city of Kaunos behind the tombs on the other side of the hill  is an ancient seaport town, architectural finds at the site have been dated back to 4th century bc.  In mythology Keunos the son of King Miletus ran to this area and settled there to escape his twin sister Byblis who had developed incestuous feelings for him.

The city was inhabited through many civilisations; 1st and 2nd Persian rule, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine. But in the 15th century the area was hit by a Malaria epidemic and the city was abandoned.

Unfortunately we never got to see Kaunos because the weather was so foul and we had to get the car back to Icmeler. But I will definitely make time to visit there on my next trip to Turkey.