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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.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

A part of the upper west necropolis and the thaeter building. View of the acropolis hill from the theater. The retaining wall of the theater is of polygonal masonary. Tombs in the western necropolis. Tombs in the western necropolis. Tombs in the western necropolis. Tombs on the southern cliffs. Tombs on the ancient road from Yavu village to Kyaneai acropolis. Tombs on the ancient road. Tombs on the ancient road. A wall from the Byzantine period in the southeast of the acropolis. A sarcophagus used as spolia in a Byzantine period wall. The vaulted roof of the large cistern. A rock altar in the acropolis. An inscription block used as spolia on the north wall of acropolis.

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.

A part of the inscription on the Iason Monument.

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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Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.
Hülden, O. 2010. 'Die Nekropolen von Kyaneai. Studien zur antiken Grabkultur in Lykien', in Die Siedlung von Kyaneai in Zentrallykien II, Lykische Studien 9.2, ed. F. Kolb, Bonn.
Kokkina, C. 2001. 'Verdiente Ehren: Zu den Inschriften für Opramoas von Rhodiapolis und Iason von Kyaneai', Antike Welt 32, 17-23.
Kolb, F. 2008. Burg – Polis – Bischofssitz. Geschichte der Siedlungskammer von Kyaneai in der Südwesttürkei, Mainz.
Seyer, M. 2019. 'Some Terms for Funerary Monuments of Lycia in the Classical Period 1: Sarcophagi', in Luwic dialects and Anatolica, BMO vol.12, eds. I.X. Adiego et al., 251-284, Barcelona.
Tietz, W. 2016. 'Central Lycia: Kyaneai, Phellos, Kekova', in From Lukka to Lycia: The Land of Sarpedon and St. Nicholas, eds. H. İşkan & E. Dündar, 362-373, İstanbul.
Zahle J. 1979. 'Lykische Felsgräber mit Reliefs aus dem 4. Jh. v. Chr.', JDI 94, 245–347.

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

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