Table of Contents Hide
The ancient city of Tlos is in a very different position both geographically and physically. The ancient city, which is physically included in the Aegean region, is geographically located in the Mediterranean region. When this is the case, it is necessary to show the ancient city of Tlos among the places to visit in both the Aegean region and the Mediterranean region. Before moving on to the information about Tlos, let’s also mention that the ancient city of Tlos was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on February 6, 2009.
Let’s say you entered the Mediterranean region and the Aegean region from the coast. In fact, let’s say you got bored of going to the beach and you wanted to hit the mountains a bit, you turned off the main road. Do you know which signs welcome you here? Tlos ancient city signs. First of all, let’s give a piece of small but important information, considering that you will be using google maps. You need to type Tlos ruins or Seydikemer Yakaköy in the map search. Otherwise, you can find yourself in Yakaköy in Datça. This means 276 km away from the Tlos Ruins. You should not forget this information.
As we said, although this ancient city is physically in the Aegean region, it is geographically located in the Mediterranean region. You can go to the ancient city of Tlos, 35 km east of Fethiye, by using the Antalya-Fethiye highway, by using the Çamurköy or Düğer turns. Tlos is also in the north of Saklıkent National Park.
Tlos Ancient City Entrance Fee and Visit Information
At the entrance of the ancient city of Tlos, the Müzekart is passed. However, if there is no Müzekart, the entrance fee is 10 TL.
The visiting hours of the ancient city of Tlos are arranged both in the winter period (between October 31st and April 1st between 08:30-17:30) and in the summer period (between April 1st and October 31st). The toll booths close half an hour before the closing time.
The ancient city of Tlos, one of the most important settlements of Lycia, is an ancient settlement that started on the steep western slopes of Akdaglar (Kratos), the highest mountains of the region. Saklıkent Canyon in the south and Kemer town in the north draw the borders of the ancient city. It is in a position dominating the Eşen plain with its mountainous structure suitable for defence.
The ancient neighbours of the city; Araxa in the north, Oinoanda in the northeast, Kadyanda in the northwest, the ancient city of Xanthos in the south, Pınara in the southwest and Telmessos in the west. Thus, it is understood that the settlement of Tlos spread over wider geography than in any other Lycian city, so the expression “country” was used for Tlos instead of “city” in Hittite sources.
History of the Ancient City of Tlos
The settlement of the ancient city of Tlos goes back to the Neolithic age. Excavations show this.
According to ancient Greek myths, every ancient city has a founding legend and a founding hero. The foundation myth of Tlos is also based on Hellenic myths. It is believed that the name of the city of Tlos comes from ‘Tloos’, one of the four sons of Tremilus and Praxidike. The name Tlos is derived from the Lycian word ‘Tlawa’. The name Tlawa, on the other hand, dates back to BC. It is identical with the ‘Dalawa’ settlement in the Lukka lands, which we have encountered many times in Hittite texts since the 15th century. Among the Hittite sources where the name Dalawa is mentioned, the great Hittite king IV. The orthostats of the open-air temple, which describes the Lukka expedition of Tuthaliya (1250 – 1220 BC), are of great importance.
Lycian League and Hittites
On blocks 14 and 15 of said orthostats: “I have landed in Dalawa Land. The women and children of Dalawa Country bow down before me.” The existence of the entire Lycian region during the Great Hittite Kingdom and its close relationship with the Hittites can be clearly seen from the Yalburt hieroglyphic inscriptions. For all the information about the Hittites, you can check the Hittite Civilization and Hattusa page.
The Hittite Period settlement in Tlos, which is emphasized in the written documents, is also supported by the archaeological finds found in the ancient city today. Among the finds dating to the Late Bronze Age, stone axes and hand tools, bronze axes with different forms, daggers and arrowheads can be given as examples. However, the history of the first people living in this region goes back much before the Hittites in the light of both the archaeological remains unearthed during the excavations of the ancient city of Tlos and the finds of Arsa and Girmeler cave/mound in the vicinity of Tlos.
Although traces of settlements that started with the Neolithic Period and continued uninterruptedly until the Iron Age were detected in Tlos and its close vicinity, it was found that from the beginning of the Iron Age to the BC. Not many archaeological finds have been recovered from the period until the Persian invasion in 540 BC. Only BC. Small potsherds, also called gray pottery, dated to the end of 2000, and a small number of Geometric period ceramics have survived to the present day. The finds belonging to the mentioned period are known from other Lycian cities whose excavations have been going on for many years. The Tlos excavations are quite new and therefore new archaeological data from the mentioned period are expected over time.
Lycian and Lycian League
B.C. The concept of ‘Lycian’ was used in the Attic Delos Union lists between 452 and 445. The plans of the Lycian cities to make a common defence against Persian or Greek domination can be considered concrete indicators of this idea of unity. B.C. The common symbols used on the coins of the principality period, which were minted before the establishment of the Lycian Union in the first half of the 2nd century, also indicate unity. The unity structure that the Lycians formed among themselves in the early periods, BC. It was institutionalized and formalized in 168/67, and thus, the Lycian Union was established, which was essentially based on the voting-based, electoral administration of Lycian cities and citizens within the framework of a democratic constitution.
Although a constant common unity is observed between the Lycian cities, BC. With the invasion of Lycia by the Persian armies under the leadership of Harpagos in 540 BC, independence was lost and the entire Lycian Region remained under Persian rule until the end of the Principalities Period. B.C. After the unsuccessful war of independence initiated by Perikle against the Persians in 360 years, Lycia was connected to the Caria region for a short time. B.C. Alexander the Great ruled Lycia in 334/33. After the death of Alexander, the sovereignty changed hands between Antigonos, Ptolemies, Seleucids and Rhodes, respectively. This complex period of Lycia, BC. It ends with the recognition of the independence of Lycia by the Roman Senate in 168/67 and the formalization of the Lycian Union.
Tlos Ancient City and Periods
The ancient city of Tlos, Xanthos, Patara, Pinara, Olympos and Myra has been accepted as one of the six largest cities of the union of ancient cities (Lycian Civilization) with three voting rights. M.S. In 43 BC, the Roman Emperor Claudius transformed the Lycian Region into a Roman province. In this period, the ancient city of Tlos preserved its importance in the union and continued to bear the title of Metropolis. It must have been due to this importance, as emphasized in the Road Guide Monument erected in Patara, the Lycian road network was connected to the city of Tlos in seven different directions, from Xanthos in the south, Pinara in the southwest, Telmessos in the west, Cadianda in the northwest, Trade routes from Araxa to the north, Oinoanda to the northeast, and Choma to the east intersected at Tlos.
It is also known that many of these routes are used today. During the Christian era, Tlos was one of the important episcopacy centres of Lycia. This religious significance M.S. It is documented with archaeological data that it continued until the 12th century. The ancient city of Tlos felt its importance within the borders of Lycia during the Ottoman period as well. The Ottoman overlord, who came to the region in the 19th century and became famous as Kanlı Ali Ağa, built his castle on the summit of the Tlos acropolis, using the ancient ruins. Today’s modern Yakaköy was built on the ancient settlement of Tlos.
Tlos Ancient City Excavations
The ancient city of Tlos was discovered in 1838 by the British archaeologist Charles Fellows. He took or led many of the finds unearthed during his excavations in the Lycian region to the British Museum. For example, Charles Fellows took the Nereids monument, known to the world, from the ancient city of Xanthos to the British Museum in these years.
The first extensive excavations in Tlos, where excavations were not carried out after these years, started in 2005 and have continued regularly until today. Today, the excavations are sponsored by Akdeniz University and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr It is chaired by Taner Korkut.
Excavations in Tlos are not only limited to the centre of the ancient city but are also carried out in the surrounding caves. Especially as a result of the excavations in the Girmeler cavern, a lot of things have been learned about the past.
Girmeler Cave and Tlos Excavations
The finds unearthed in these excavations shed light on many different periods and different subjects. If we count some of them; Excavations in the Girmeler cave reveal the gastronomic culture of the people living in the Neolithic Ages. In the excavations, where it was learned that the guests were served food on different plates in the Hellenistic era, it was also determined that the Roman cooks cooked the dishes using pressure steam cookers.
During the excavations carried out in and around the sacred rock tombs, a cave with rock paintings belonging to the Paleolithic Age was found on the outer walls. There are three caves in the vicinity. In addition, ceramic sherds pointing to the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages were also found.
The Temple of Kronos, which is not found anywhere else in Turkey, was also unearthed during the excavations. Kronos has a very important place in mythology. He is a Titan, father of the god Zeus.
Tlos Ancient City Architecture and Buildings
The settlement and life in the ancient city of Tlos go back to ancient times. Therefore, the architecture of Tlos is in a special place under the influence of various cultures. The city acropolis is in a dominant position. There are city walls around the hill where the acropolis is located.
There are rock temple tombs carved into the rocks on the slope while ascending the acropolis. The most magnificent of these is the mausoleum where the winged horse Pegasus is depicted fighting the three-headed monster Chmera.
There is a stadium, bath, theatre and church on the slope of the acropolis. There are Roman walls to the south of the city agora, whose six-arched gate is still standing. The theatre, which is the strongest structure that has survived to the present day, is on the other side of the agora area.
In addition, the temple of Kronos, the Great Bath, the Frigidarium, and the Parliament building are among other important structures. In addition, excavations are still continuing in Tlos.