Xanthos Ancient City

Xanthos Ancient City

Xanthos, once the capital of Lycia is about 20 minutes drive from Kalkan and is now known as Kinik. The site is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and has been since 1988. It can be recognised by its large amphitheatre, and has some wonderful historic remains. The Roman Baths show the first under floor heating system with clay pipes that were used to hold hot water as well as beautifully coloured mosaic tiles.

Occupied by the Persians in around 540 BC, the Lycians fought many battles to try and conquer Xanthos from the mighty Persians who at this time were already minting their own coins. Then one fateful day the Lycian army, hell bent on a suicide mission stormed Xanthos killing everyone. Only around 80 families survived the slaughter because of their absence from Xanthos that day.Reports on the city’s surrender to Alexander the Great who favoured Xanthos with his visits differ, but one thing that is clear is that it was destroyed around 42 BC during the Roman Civil Wars but re-built, possibly by Mark Antony.

The archaeological excavations at Xanthos have unearthed many texts in Lycian and Greek, including several bilingual texts that have proved useful in the decipherment of Lycian.

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