Aperlai - Aprlla

Aperlai was a port city between Kaş and Kekova. It is located in Asar Bay, 7.5 km southeast of Simena, east of the narrow isthmus connecting the Sıçak peninsula to the mainland. The oldest surviving remains in the city are the walls of from the Hellenistic period. There are 2 baths and 4 churches among the many building remains inside the city walls. Although there are dynastic period coins minted with the Lycian name Aprlla, there is no remaining structure or tomb from that period in the city. It is also claimed that Aperlai was the port of Apollonia in the dynastic period, and that these dynastic period coins may belong to Apollonia instead. In the necropolis, there are many Lycian type sarcophagi from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. According to the inscriptions, the city was founded at the end of the 4th century BCE. Aperlai led a sympolitea (together with Simena, Isinda and Apollonia) that shared a single voting right in the Lycian League, and minted coins under its own name during this period too. The earthquakes affecting the Lycian region caused serious damage to this coastal city as well. Along with the breakwater and port structures, many structures close to the coast were submerged as a result of the earthquakes. Underwater investigations of the submerged Murex workshops found in the harbor area show that Aperlei was enriched by the production and trade of purple dye (Tyrian purple). Purple dye, which is used especially for dyeing fabrics in magenta and purple color, is obtained from a sea shell called murex (murex trunculus) and was a very valuable commercial material in ancient times. The city continued to exist as a bishopric center in the Byzantine period until the 7th century.


Aslan, E. 2010. ‘Kekova Bölgesi Liman Araştırmaları 2009: Aperlai Limanı / Harbour Surveys in Kekova Region in 2009: Harbour of Aperlai’, ANMED 8, 181-188.
Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.
Vann, R. L. & R. L. Hohlfelder. 1998. ‘Survey of Ancient Harbours in Turkey: 1997 Season Aperlae in Lycia’, AST 16.2, 443-460.
Vann, R. L., R. L. Hohlfelder & K. Shedrick. 2000. ‘The East Baths at Aperlae’, Adalya IV, 195-206.
Zimmermann, M. 1992. Untersuchungen zur historischen Landeskunde Zentrallykiens, Bonn.

Image sources:
R. Vann et al., 2000
K. Filler, 2015
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2016
Bora Bilgin, 2023