Kyaneai - Xbahñ

Ruins of the city are on a hill rising behind the village of Yavu, on the highway between Kaş and Demre. It was the second largest city in central Lycia after Myra. Although there has not been a regular excavation work, a comprehensive survey was conducted in and around Kyaneai by a team led by Frank Kolb between 1989 and 2001. According to Kolb, the Lycian name of the city was Xbahñ. The oldest findings in the city are dated to the 6th century BCE. It is thought that during the dynastic period, Kyaenai was a small city like Tüse, Korba, Trysa, Tyinda and Hoyran in the region and its importance increased after the abandonment of the centrally-located Zagaba for an unknown reason. The city grew as a “polis” since the Hellenistic period and became the center of the region with the participation of other small cities in the vicinity. Eventually Kyaneai had the largest territory among all the cities in the region. It is thought that the port of Teimiusa was used for the shipment of the products obtained from its large and rich agricultural areas. The most distinctive structures belonging to the dynastic period are the monumental tombs. Almost all of the other structures belong to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Iason Monument

Just like his contemporary Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, Iason of Kyaneai became known for his philanthropy. He was probably the second richest person in Lycia after Opramoas. Iason also served as the Lykiarkh, the most important office of the Lycian League. The Iason Monument is an inscription located on the ancient road from Yavu village to the acropolis of Kyaneai. It states that Iason was honored by the Roman Emperor, by other Lycian cities, as well as the people of Kyaneai. Next to the inscription, there is a bench and a fountain. It must have been arranged as a resting point on the steep road that climbs up to the city.

Tomb of Xudalije

The dynastic period sarcophagus is located near the square called the Lycian Agora in the northwest section of the acropolis, and bears a Lycian and Greek bilingual inscription. Although the monument was preserved intact during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, eventually the lower part of the sarcophagus was buried in the ground after the construction of new structures around. On both wide sides of the ogival-shaped lid, there are reliefs of four-horse chariots. Of the pairs of the lion-shaped protomes on each side of the lid, only one of them is preserved. On the narrow sides of the lid, there are scenes showing the tomb owner and his family. In the inscription that surrounds the sarcophagus, the name of the tomb owner is read as “Xudalije, son of Muraza”. It is dated to 380 BCE.


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Image sources:
Başgelen, 2005
W. Tietz, 2016
M. Seyer, 2019
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2022, 2023
Tayfun Bilgin, 2022, 2024
Bora Bilgin, 2022, 2023, 2024