Discover Ancient Lycian Culture through the Lycian Rock Tombs

Lycian rock-cut tombs in Hellenistic style - Dalyan, Turkey
Lycian rock-cut tombs in Hellenistic style - Dalyan, Turkey (Photo credit: Jacopo Werther)

Turkey is one of the world's top tourist destinations. With its clear blue coastal areas, its colorful culture, and its diverse blend of cultures and religions, it is an exotic region with an interesting and diverse history. In addition, its proximity to the European continent makes Turkey even more accessible to tourists from the West. Although there are countless things to see and do during a visit to Turkey, be sure to budget enough time to visit the impressive Lycian Rock Tombs.

Lycia was an ancient Anatolian region. It was located on the Southern Coast of Anatolia, which now comprises the Turkish provinces of Antalya and Mugla. The Lycian Rock Tombs are a impressive ruins, most of which were carved directly into the soft limestone that is predominant in the area, designed to honor the dead, and to provide them with a passage into the next life.

Tlos-tombs (Photo credit: File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske))

Funerary tombs are not an unusual remnant of ancient cultures. Notable ruins around the world include the ancient Egyptian pyramids, as well as the Mayan pyramids on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. These, along with the Lycian Rock Tombs in Turkey provide valuable insight into the ancient cultures they represent, including their belief systems, their craftsmanship, and the influences of neighboring cultures.

Myra Rock Tombs
Myra Rock Tombs (Photo credit: Saffron Blaze)

The ancient tombs of Lycia, despite being thousands of years old, are still available for viewing, and continue to provide insight into this ancient civilization, which was highly respected by both the Greeks and the Persians. Presently, there exist well over a thousand of these tombs, scattered throughout the landscape, that are still intact. They reveal unique architecture and high quality craftsmanship. Special features of most of the rock tombs include both detailed relief work and sculptures, and although some of the stylings reveal Greek and Persian influence, they also reveal the fact that Lycia itself was an advanced civilization, with its own unique cultural heritage.

Lycian tombs Xanthos IMGP8884
Lycian tombs Xanthos IMGP8884 (Photo credit: Nikodem Nijaki)

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