Xanthos Ruins Turkey
Once the capital was the oldest and largest city in the mountain province of Lycia. It sits on a prime spot above a twist in the Xanthos River and has stunning views of the valley that is surrounded by the Taurus Mountains. Some of the items that have been found here date the city to the 8th century (BC) but it could well have existed during the Bronze Age or indeed the Iron Age. The history of Xanthos was a bloody one. It was an independent state until the Persian invasion. When they could no longer defend the city from the Persians the citizens killed and burnt their women, children, servants and treasure then committed suicide by throwing themselves into the flames or fought to the death, rather than fall into the hands of invaders. The city was rebuilt by a few of the families that survived and people who immigrated there. Unfortunately the city was destroyed by fire approximately 100 years later but it was again rebuilt. Around 429 (BC) the population were drawn into war when the Athenians wanted to impose taxes on them and the city was nearly destroyed. The Xanthians again rebuilt their city but continued to revolt against those that ruled them. The Lycians sided with Caesar against Pompeius during the roman civil war of the 1st century (BC). Following Caesar’s assassination by Brutus, Cassius went to Turkey to obtain money and recruit soldiers but, the Lycians did not want to contribute so, Brutus attacked Xanthos and for the second time in their history in the Xanthians committed mass suicide, again some citizens survived. Hoping that it would help heal the scars left by Brutus, Marc Antony rebuilt the city. Raided and ruined by Arabs the city was abandoned in the 8th century. In 1838 the city was rediscovered by Charles Fellows and a lot of the relics were taken to the British Museum in London. Some of theses items have now been copied and put back on the original place. There are still some significant monuments and structures to be seen here; these include The Harpy tomb standing at about 25 foot and sitting on a massive base. It has a thick pillar with a grave chamber on top. The chamber was originally made of marble and had splendidly decorated reliefs but these have now been replaced. A Pillar Tomb that is two tombs in one (a standard Sarcophagus standing upon a shorter than normal pillar tomb) is slightly shorter than the Harpy tomb. The Xanthian Obelisk has the longest Lycian inscription known to exist on it and was instrumental in helping historians understand the Lycian language. There is also an amphitheatre, a Byzantine church that has a lovely mosaic floor, a Roman Arch and a fortress at the top of the hill.