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Tlos

TLOS
Best-known for its fortress-topped acropolis, with its rock-cut tomb-covered sides and its 360 degree panoramic views.  I especially like the Roman era baths.  One of the six principal cities of Lycia.

Xanthos is the Greek appellation of the name of the city of Arñna, of Lycian origin. The Hittite and Luwian name of the city is given as Arinna The Romans called the city Xanthus, as all the Greek -os suffixes were changed to -us in Latin. Xanthos was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory

 Tlos once bore the title under the Roman empire of 'the very brilliant metropolis of the Lycian nation'.  It is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia (known as 'Tlawa' in Lycian inscriptions) and was eventually inhabited by Ottoman Turks, one of the few Lycian cities to continue it existance through the 19th century.  There is evidence that Tlos was a member of the Lycian Federation from the 2nd century BC.  Two wealthy philanthropists, one of which was Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, were responsible for much of the building in the 2nd century AD.  Inscriptions tell us that the citizens were divided into demes, the names of three of them are known: Bellerophon, Iobates and Sarpedon, famous Lycian legendary heroes.  A Jewish community is also known to have existed with its own magistrates.

Acropolis Hill - overlooks a lovely valley of fertile fields and orchards with mountains rising in the distance.  Lots of Lycian rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi.  Crowning the top is the fortress of Kanlı Ağı ('Bloody Chief Ali'), a notorious Ottoman feudal lord, built upon the foundations of a Lycian fortress.  It was still in use in the 19th century - the explorer Spratt was entertained here in 1842 by the brother of the ağa occupying it at that time.  Also upon this hill are a Lycian wall and a Roman era wall.  Since early Lycian times, the city's settlement was probably concenrated on the southern and western slopes, for wide terraces with huge cisterns and the back walls of buildings carved from the rock are found there.The view from the top is spectacular with amazing 360 degree views over the Xanthos valley and the surrounding mountains.  Although the hill looks high, there is a good path and it is actually not difficult to get to the top.
Tomb of Bellerophon' - An interesting tomb of Tlos, a large temple-type tomb with an unfinished facade featuring a relief in its porch of the legendary (from Greek myth) hero Bellerophon riding Pegasus, the winged horse.  Punished by the Lycian king Iobates for an improper love affair, Bellerophon was sent to kill the Chimaera, a fire-breathing monster.  With the aid of Pegasus, a gift from Athena, Bellerophon slew the monster from the air and then married the king's daughter.  From their offspring came the later rulers of Lycia.  Today the Chimaera continues to exist as a perpetually-burning fire in eastern Lycia near Olympos.  Another carving of a lion or leopard is also seen inside the tomb.
Stadium - located just under the acropolis hill, from the Roman period.  It had a seating capacity of 2,500.  Today only the seats remain and the sporting area is being used as a farmer's field.  Granite columns were found strewn about the area and these probably indicate that there was a columned portico standing at the north side of the area.
Market Hall - running parallel to the stadium is what researchers presume to have been a market building.  This a a long 150 metre hall with two stories, over 30 feet wide, not divided into chambers, with small rectangular doors and large arched doors in its west wall.  The building is constructed of carefully jointed ashlar masonry. At the south end is a wider building with several chambers and four large arched doors.  In the first photo below, you can see the palaestra (gymnasium) to the right of the market hall complex.  The baths are on its other side.
Baths - Tlos has two baths.  The smaller stands right next to the larger bath (to its north).  Even today, the larger bath is still a very impressive structure and consists of three large adjoining rooms of equal size.  An apse with seven windows opens the easternmost room towards the south.  This is called "Yedi Kapı" ("Seven Gates") by locals and its dramatic set of seven arches overlooks a lush valley.  This magnificent room is probably the "exedra in the baths" that Opramoas donated to Tlos, along with contributions towards the theatre.  This would date the baths to around the first half of the second century AD.
The smaller bath is joined to the south end of a large hall.  Two of the bath's three rooms are located in the western part of the building while the third is a large rectangular room to the east.  Another room to the west may have been part of the complex.  All the rooms had barrel-vaulted ceilings.
To the north of the smaller bath stood a palaestra (gymnasium).  Also near the baths are the remains of a Byzantine church, temple and what is believed to have been the agora.  The area thought to be the agora is located across the road from the amphitheatre.
Amphitheatre - A large Roman era theatre with 34 rows of seats. A portion of the stage building still stands and its many highly-decorated carvings are scattered about.  An inscription records donations for the theatre from private citizens, ranging from 3,000 denarii by the priest of Dionysus and high priest of the Cabiria to lesser donations of 100 denarii.  The famous philanthropist Opramoas also made a very large donation for the theatre. It is also known from inscriptions that the theatre was under construction for at least 150 yea

 

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