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WHO WERE THE LYCIANS?

If you've ever traveled to the Mediterranean region of Turkey, you may have heard of the Lycians - an ancient civilisation that inhabited the area for centuries. The Lycians were a unique and fascinating people with a rich cultural heritage that is still evident today. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at who the ancient Lycians were and what makes them such an important part of Turkey's history.



The Lycians lived in the region that is now modern-day Turkey, primarily along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They were known for their skill in maritime trade and seafaring, as well as for their impressive architectural feats, including their elaborate tombs and rock-cut cities. The Lycians were also known for their unique language and alphabet, which has yet to be fully deciphered.

The origins of the Lycians are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that they were an indigenous people who inhabited the area for thousands of years. They were likely influenced by neighbouring civilisations, such as the Greeks and Persians, and played a significant role in the trade networks that connected the Mediterranean world.

One of the most striking features of Lycian culture is their funerary architecture. Lycian tombs are among the most impressive and well-preserved examples of ancient architecture in the world, with elaborate facades that depict scenes from daily life, mythical creatures, and deities. The most famous of these tombs is the Tomb of Payava, which is located in the city of Xanthos and dates back to the 4th century BCE.

Another impressive example of Lycian architecture is the city of Myra, which was carved into the cliffs along the Mediterranean coast. Myra was a thriving city during the Lycian period and was known for its theatre, which could seat up to 12,000 people, and its numerous temples and other public buildings. The city is also famous for its rock-cut tombs, which are carved into the cliff faces and decorated with elaborate reliefs.

Despite their impressive architecture and skill in trade and seafaring, the Lycians were ultimately absorbed into the larger Greek and Roman empires. However, their influence can still be seen in the culture and architecture of modern-day Turkey. For example, the city of Antalya, which was a major Lycian settlement, is still home to many examples of Lycian architecture, including a theatre, a necropolis, and a variety of other public buildings.

If you're interested in learning more about the Lycians, there are a number of sites in Turkey where you can explore their history and culture. Xanthos, which was the capital of the Lycian Federation, is one of the most important sites and is home to numerous tombs and other public buildings. Other important sites include Myra, Patara, and Tlos, all of which have well-preserved examples of Lycian architecture.


The Lycians were a unique and fascinating civilisation that played a significant role in the history and culture of the Mediterranean region. Their impressive architecture, skill in trade and seafaring, and rich cultural heritage continue to be an important part of Turkey's history and identity. If you're interested in learning more about this fascinating civilisation, be sure to visit some of the many archaeological sites that are scattered throughout the region.



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