Date of inclusion on the World Heritage List: 12/9/1988
List reference: 484 Criteria: Cultural
LAND OF EPOPES
Xanthos, between 700 and 300 BC The capital of Lycia, is known in ancient times as the largest administrative center of Lycia. Letoon, which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with Xanthos in 1988, was one of the most famous religious centers of the ancient world.
Serpedon lived in Xanthos (Arrina). Sarpedon encouraged Prince Hector during the Trojan War by writing a poem for him. The site is on the road between Fethiye and Kas, 46 km from Fethiye. It is part of today’s Kinik village on Esen, a stream that separates the provinces of Mugla and Antalya.
The archaeological value of Xanthos and Letoon makes them very important parts of the world heritage. The locations are approx. 4 km apart.
The original Lycian sarcophagi that once stood directly above the amphitheater and the original harpy tomb are in the British Museum.
The Leto sanctuary was discovered in 1840. There is a six-row theater, a basilica, inscription panels, three temples, a round portico attached to the cult building of the empire, and an L-shaped stoa. There are three temples in the ancient city dedicated to Leto and her twin sons. Leto’s twins Apollo and Artemis were deities and, like their mother, were each honored with a temple.
The largest temple dedicated to the mother of Artemis and Apollo is the Leto Temple, built on the west side in the Peripteros style. It is 30.25 m by 15.75 m. On the east side is the Apollo temple in the Doric style and is 27.90 mx 15.07 m in size.
The Temple of Apollo looks just like the houses in the Lycian tombs. The remains of the foundation are remarkable as they have a wooden structure. The smaller Artemis Temple is located between the other two temples. It is 18.20 m by 8.70 m.
Since the water level has risen since ancient times, the lower parts of the buildings are now under water.
Xantos with its spectacular theater, structural ruins, mosaics and the underground ruins waiting to be discovered, and Leton with its temples Leto, Apollon and Artemis, monastery, fountain and Roman theater ruins are waiting for their visitors to tell their stories.
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This site, which was the capital of Lycia, shows the amalgamation of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, particularly in its funerary art. The epigraphic inscriptions are vital to our understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo-European language.
Excellent universal value
Xanthos-Letoon consists of two neighboring settlements in the southwestern part of Anatolia within the borders of the provinces of Antalya and Muğla and is a remarkable archaeological complex. It is the most uniquely preserved architectural example of the ancient Lycian civilization, which was one of the most important Iron Age cultures in Anatolia. The two locations impressively illustrate the continuity and unique combination of the Anatolian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. The most important texts in the Lycian language were also found in Xanthos-Letoon. The inscriptions, engraved in rock or on huge stone pillars, are crucial to a better understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo-European language.
Xanthos, the capital of ancient Lycia, shows the merging of Lycian traditions with Hellenic influence, particularly in its funerary art. The rock tombs, columnar tombs and column-mounted sarcophagi in Xanthos are unique examples of ancient funerary architecture. Their value was already recognized in ancient times and they influenced the art of neighboring provinces: the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, for example, is directly influenced by the Xanthos Nereid Monument. The fact that some architectural and sculptural pieces of the sites were brought to England in the 19th century, including the Harpy Monument, Payava’s Tomb and the Nereid Monument, led to their worldwide recognition, and consequently the Xanthos marbles became too an important part of the history of ancient art and architecture.
East of the Xanthos River (Eşen Çayı), the first monumental zone includes the ancient Lycian Acropolis, which was rebuilt during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. At the time, a church was built on the northeast corner, while an advanced defensive structure fortified the west side of the citadel along the river. Just north of the Acropolis is a very nice theater that dominates the Roman agora. This area is also home to great Lycian funerary monuments imitating woodwork and characteristic of the archaeological landscape of Xanthos, rising spectacularly from the ruins. There is a second, more complex archaeological zone that extends between the Vespasian Arch in the south and the Hellenistic Acropolis in the north. In this part of the site was the lower part of the city, which includes the Hellenistic agora and the Byzantine church.
Letoon, on the other hand, was the cult center of Xanthos, the old federal shrine of the Lycian province and the Lycian league of cities. As many inscriptions on the construction site show, the federal shrine was the place where all religious and political decisions of the ruling powers were explained to the public. The famous trilingual inscription from 337 BC BC Contains text in Lycian and Greek as well as an Aramaic summary and was discovered near the Temple of Apollo. In the Letoon Sanctuary, three temples are dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo. The site also contains the ruins of a Hadrian nymphaeum, which was built on a water source that is considered sacred.
Criterion (ii): Xanthos-Letoon directly influenced the architecture of the most important ancient cities of Lycia such as Patara, Pınara and Myra, as well as the neighboring provinces. Classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Halicarnassus Mausoleum is directly influenced by the Nereid Monument of Xanthos.
Criterion (iii): Xanthos-Letoon is an exceptional testimony to Lycian civilization, both from the many inscriptions in the two locations and from the remarkable funerary monuments preserved on the property. The longest and most important texts in the Lycian language were found in Xanthos-Letoon. The inscriptions, most of which were carved in rock or on huge monoliths, are considered exceptional evidence of this unique and long-forgotten Indo-European language. The rock paintings, columned graves and column-mounted sarcophagi represent a new kind of grave architecture. The rich array of Lycian tombs at Xanthos and Letoon allows us to fully understand the successive acculturation phenomena that began to appear in Lycia from the 6th century.
The registered property contains all the necessary attributes, mainly original monuments and archaeological remains that convey its outstanding universal value. All components remain largely intact and are not affected by the negative effects of tourism or modern settlements.
Today the only factor that threatens the integrity of the property is the paved road that has crossed the ancient city for many years. As part of the revised nature conservation legislation that came into force in 2004, the Regional Council for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage decided to close this road in 2010. In addition, a wire fence was used to surround the area. However, since these measures could not be implemented efficiently, further measures are required to ensure that the integrity of the property is no longer compromised. This includes the diversion of the road according to the proposals of the nature protection plan.
Xanthos-Letoon hat die Authentizität seiner Merkmale bewahrt, hauptsächlich aufgrund der Entfernung des Anwesens von jeder modernen Siedlung.
Die bei archäologischen Ausgrabungen freigelegten Denkmäler wurden wichtigen Restaurierungs- und Konservierungsarbeiten unterzogen, die ihre Authentizität in Bezug auf Design und Layout nicht beeinträchtigt haben. Das wichtigste Projekt war die Rekonstruktion des Leto-Tempels in seiner ursprünglichen Umgebung zwischen 2000 und 2007. Die architektonischen Stücke des Leto-Tempels, die bei Ausgrabungen seit den 1950er Jahren gefunden wurden, ermöglichten den erfolgreichen Abschluss dieses Projekts. Einige wichtige Restaurierungs-, Konservierungs- und Konsolidierungsarbeiten wurden auch an der frühchristlichen Kirche und dem monumentalen Nymphäum durchgeführt.
Schutz- und Verwaltungsanforderungen
Die antike Stadt Xanthos und Letoon wurde als archäologische Stätte 1. Grades registriert und unterliegt der nationalen Naturschutzgesetzgebung. Das beschriftete Grundstück befindet sich auch innerhalb der Grenzen der „Umweltschutzzone“ unter der Verantwortung des Ministeriums für Umwelt und Urbanisierung. Der Regional Conservation Council und die Special Environmental Protection Agency genehmigten 2001 den Schutzplan für Xantos, und der zugehörige Regional Conservation Council genehmigte 2006 den Conservation Plan für Letoon. Beide Planungsinstrumente wurden implementiert und erfordern eine systematische Überwachung und Überprüfung, um ihre Effizienz für das Land zu gewährleisten Verwaltung der Immobilie.
Die Denkmäler und archäologischen Überreste im Heiligtum von Letoon sind durch saisonale Steigungen des Grundwasserspiegels bedroht. Im Jahr 2006 wurden mit dem Bau von Wasserkanälen Minderungsbemühungen unternommen, um den Wasserstand während der Ausgrabungsarbeiten zu verringern. Ein weiteres Problem für Letoon ist die visuelle Verschmutzung, die durch viele Gewächshäuser in den fruchtbaren Schwemmlandgebieten des Gebiets verursacht wird. Was Xanthos betrifft, so erfordert das Vorhandensein der asphaltierten Straße, die durch das Gelände führt, zusätzliche Maßnahmen, um vollständig angegangen zu werden.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has started preparing a landscape project for Xanthos and Letoon, which will address issues of the property including environmental control and the preservation of the monuments. As part of this project, the Letoon site will be equipped with recreational and promenade areas. This project will also address visitor management issues, develop awareness strategies and aim to actively involve both local communities and visitors.
Xanthos directly influenced Lycia throughout the ancient world, as evidenced by the many epigraphic texts in the two places, as well as the notable funerary monuments that have been preserved there or come from the region, as well as the neighboring provinces. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is a direct descendant of the Nereid Monument in Xanthos.
Xanthos, the capital of ancient Lycia, and the neighboring and inseparable site of Letoon, 8 km away, form a famous archaeological complex. The excavations were carried out from 1838 to 1844 by the Englishman Charles Fellows.
The Lycians belonged to the “sea peoples” who lived around 1200 BC. BC invaded the Hittite Empire. Herodotus reports that they came from Crete to take part in the Trojan War. Throughout its long history, this ethnic group has exhibited two seemingly contradicting characteristics. First, they were extremely faithful to their traditions: the Lycian language was preserved for a very long period of time. Even today, the farmers of the region build wooden houses and barns, the structure of which is comparable to the monuments of the Lycian rock tombs. Their second characteristic is their ability to assimilate the cultural contributions of Hellenism and the Romans. The city was still inhabited in Byzantine times when several basilicas were built; It was not until the 7th century that the Arab raids left the city in ruins.
A long and complex history has left many great but sometimes difficult to distinguish remains at the two neighboring sites of Xanthos and Letoon.
East of the Xanthe River, in a first monumental zone, is the old Lycian Acropolis, which was rebuilt during the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. At the time, a church was built on the northeast corner, while an advanced defensive structure fortified the west side of the citadel along the river. Just north of the Acropolis is a very nice theater that dominates the Roman agora. This entire area is characterized by large Lycian funerary monuments, characteristic of the archaeological landscape of Xanthos, which rise spectacularly from the ruins. There is a second, more confusing archaeological zone that extends between the Vespasian Arch in the south and the Hellenistic Acropolis in the north. This is where the lower part of the city was.
The Letoon archaeological site, dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo, includes the ruins of a Hadrian nymphaeum built on the site of the sacred spring that was the origin of the creation of the sanctuary.
The famous trilingual inscription in Lycian, Aramaic and Greek from 358 BC. BC (year I under Artaxerxes III. Okhos) was discovered near the temple of Artemis in Letoon. Xanthos and Letoon contain the longest and most important texts in the Lycian language: most of them are carved in rock or on huge monoliths. They cannot be moved and are the main monuments of a unique Indo-European language that disappeared a long time ago. The rock tombs, columnar tombs and column-mounted sarcophagi represent a new type of tomb architecture. The rich array of Lycian tombs at Xanthos and Letoon makes it possible to understand the successive phenomena of acculturation that began in the 6th century BC. Took place in Lycia.