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  • hbanziger

B + 1 : Lycian Towns

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

First excursion day. The Venetians won't have taken the trouble to visit these sites. By the time they sailed to the Levant, these two towns were deserted for more than half a millennia. They were important towns of the Lycian Kingdom. Xanthos is mentioned several times in Homer's Iliad and put up a heroic but futile resistance against the Persians in 540 BC. Being between spheres of influence it suffered from changing hands again and again. But every time it was rebuilt. Last time by the Roman leader Mark Anthony after Brutus had destroyed it - again. The final blow for the town however came with the silting by the Xanthos river. Today it is almost inconceivable that Xanthos once had access to the sea. Today, it is 5 km inland.

The remains of Xanthos with the Greek theatre at the back

Just outside the town walls there is an impressive Necropolis with many Lycian graves - the site is very badly explained. Had there not been an old man who showed us around - for a nice tip though - we would not have found anything.

Impressive Lycian stone work - these walls were more earthquake proof than younger Greek and Roman walls

Closer to the beach is the town of Patara which apparently was founded by Apollo's son Patarus - love these founding myths. Everybody tried to have a diving connection. Patara was the equivalent to Delphi in Mainland Greece - it was the home to the second Oracle of Apollo. Like Xanthos, it was on the borderline between Persia and Greece and suffered from being under attack from both sides. It became a Roman town in 43 AD and became quite prosperous again due to Apollo oracle

Main Street in Patara - whilst we could easily find the ancient theatre and light house, we were not able to locate the Apollo temple that must have been here. Maybe it was destroyed by Christians? We found an old Christian Church on the site.

After a hot time on land, it was time to return to Carpe Diem V for a swim

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