It is a port city located on the west coast of the Gulf of Antalya, 16 km south of Phaselis. The Olympos River, which reaches the sea by forming a deep valley, passes through the middle of the city. Although the foundation date of Olympos is unknown, the Lycian League coins minted in the name of the city suggest a date in the Hellenistic Period. It is likely that it was founded as a Doric colony like Phaselis. During the Roman period, Olympos was one of the six cities of the Lycian League with 3 voting rights and was the only Eastern Lycian city with this privilege. However, during the first quarter of the 1st century BCE, it was excluded from the Lycian League along with Phaselis due to the piracy activities led by Zeniketes of Olympos. After the end of the piracy activities, it became a member of the Lycian League again during the Roman Imperial Period.
The name of Olympos does appear neither on the Patara Road Monument nor the Stadiasmus Maris Magni which shows the Roman Time Mediterranean Ports. On the other hand, both texts mention the city of Korykos, whose exact localization is unknown, in the same region. Researchers suggest that the city of Olympos that we know today was actually built on the near by Mount Musa in the Hellenistic Period and that the coastal settlement we call Olympos today was established as a port city under the name of Korykos. According to Mustafa Adak, after the port city grew and the mountain settlement lost its importance, the name of Korykos was changed to Olympos.
Like all Eastern Lycian cities, Olympos is culturally not Lycian. The hundreds of inscriptions recovered in and around the city are all in Greek. There are no Lycian style rock tombs in Olympos. The only exceptions in the region are two Lycian style rock tombs found in Asartaş. All of the structures seen in the city today belong to the Roman and Byzantine Periods, except for a few Hellenistic Period walls. Olympos is also one of the cities in Anatolia where the remains of the Early Christian Period can be strongly observed. The famous clergyman Methodios, who was killed in Syria during the time of Diocletian, was from Olympos and was the first bishop of both the city and Lycia.
The first excavations in the ancient city of Olympos, which was first discovered by Francis Beaufort in 1811, were carried out by the Antalya Museum in 1991-92. The regular surveys and excavations were started by Anadolu University in 2000 and is still in progress.


Adak, M. 2004. ‘Lokalisierung von Olympos und Korykos in Ostlykien’, Gephyra 1, 27-51.
Adak, M., & N. Tüner. 2004. ‘Neue Inschriften aus Olympos und seinem Territorium I.’ Gephyra 1, 53-65.
Olcay-Uçkan, B. Y. & G. K. Öztaşkın. 2016. ‘Olympos: The City Sanctified with Water and Fire’, in From Lukka to Lycia: The Land of Sarpedon and St. Nicholas, eds. H. İşkan & E. Dündar, 274-287, İstanbul.
Olcay-Uçkan, B. Y. 2017. ‘Olympos’, in The Archaeology of Byzantine Anatolia, ed. P. Niewöhner, 291-293.

Image sources:
Carole Raddato, 2013
B. Y. Olcay-Uçkan, 2017
Bora Bilgin, 2022, 2023