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Rhodiapolis - Wedrei  

The city is located on a hill overlooking the fertile plain, just northwest of Kumluca. Rhodiapolis forms the eastern border of cultural Lycia. Ancient sources state that the city was named after its founders from Rhodes. On the other hand, the local name "Wedrei", which is read on city coins and Lycian inscriptions, shows that the settlement has an earlier origin. There are 29 rock-cut tombs dated to the Classical Period. The findings of the excavations take the history of the city back to the 8th century BCE. The city was first identified by Spratt and Forbes in 1842. The dense forest covering the ancient city was destroyed by a fire in 2000, and the regular excavations were carried out by Akdeniz University between 2006 and 2012.
Rhodiapolis draws attention especially with its city plan. A very successful construction has been realized within geographical constraints. Rhodiapolis has almost all types of buildings that could be seen in a classical Roman city, albeit in smaller sizes. On the other hand, the Asklepios structure is the only known example in Lycia. It has been founded by the famous physician Heraclitus who lived in Rhodiapolis in the 2nd century BCE. Although the city had many cisterns, shortage of water resources prevented its further growth. The city gained particular attention among the researchers because of the Opramoas Monument which is famous for its inscriptions (see below).

Click on the pictures for larger images.

Rhodiapolis looks over to Kumluca. The two small hills of Korydalla are also clearly visible. Theater, Opramoas Monument, Opramoas Stoa and remaining part of the meeting hall.

Theater
Before the forrest fire. Before the excavation. After the excavation. After the restoration. Original, restored and reconstructed parts of the theater wall.

Other structures
There are few remains of the two-storey stoa in front of the Opramoas Stoa. There are many cisterns built under almost all the terraces of the city. These two cisterns were built under the agora. The ancestoral cult building and the main street. The stepped street behind of theater. An inscribed stone used in the paving of the Theater Street. Kenotaph building is located at the top of the acropolis. It could be used as a watch tower in Byzantine period. Masikytos (Bey) Mountains are shown at the back. The inscription in sebasteion building, before the excavation. The inscription in sebasteion, after the excavation and restoration. The temple of Asclepeion. The meeting hall is from the 4th century CE. The cisterns under the building complex in the south. A rock tomb with Lycian inscription in the northern necropolis. Rock tombs in the southern necropolis. View of Korydalla and Kumluca from the southern necropolis of Rhodiapolis.


Opramoas Monument
Opramoas of Rhodiapolis is one of the most famous figures of the Roman Period Lycia. He lived in the 2nd century CE, the most prosperous time of Lycia and Rhodiapolis as well as the entire Roman Empire. He was a member of the wealthiest family of Rhodiapolis and also had relationships with the wealthiest families of Lycia. He had reached an unprecedented wealth for his time with income from agriculture, trading and banking. He also carried out important public duties such as Lyciarch (president of the Lycian League), high priest, and chief judge. However, his greatest recognition comes from being a benefactor (euergetes). There is hardly a city in Lycia where Opramoas did not support with donations. After the earthquake that took place in 141 CE and caused great destruction in all of Lycia, he donated hundreds of thousand denarii for the restoration of the Lycian cities. The total donations he gave to the cities, to the Lycian League, to festivals held in different cities, to funerals and weddings, and to poor people amount to millions of denarii. He was one of the most generous benefactor not only of Lycia but of the entire Roman Empire.
The Opramoas Monument is a mausoleum made in the form of a temple. Most probably it was built by his succesors after his death. It is the only structure in Rhodiapolis made entirely of cut stone. Befitting the glory of Opramoas, it was built just in front of the theater building in the center of the city. The feature that arouses excitement among the historians is the inscriptions on its both sides and the façade. It is the second longest known Greek inscription in the ancient world (The longest being the Diogenes Inscription in Oinoanda, also in Lycia). A total of 70 documents including imperial letters, honorary decrees by the Lycian federation, and letters of Roman governors to individual cities and the league were engraved on the walls in chronological order and with excellent craftsmanship. The text is written in 20 columns of 100 lines each. It is a very important document that offers a lot of information about the social, political and economic life of the period.
A restoration work has been initiated in 2015 on the theater and the monument but it was stopped later due to faulty works.

Opramoas Monument before the restoration. The north corner of the monument is almost touching the stage building of the theater. During the reconstruction, some inscribed stones were used, ... ... some were not.




References:
Çevik, N., İ. Kızgut & S. Bulut. 2010. 'Rhodiapolis, as a Unique Example of Lycian Urbanism', Adalya XIII, 29-63.
Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.
Kızgut, İ. 2016. 'The City of Opramoas the Benefactor: Rhodiapolis', in From Lukka to Lycia: The Land of Sarpedon and St. Nicholas, eds. H. İşkan & E. Dündar, 288-299, İstanbul.
Kokkinia, C. 2012. 'Opramoas', in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, Vol. 9, 4907-4908.
Petersen, E. & F. Von Luschan. 1889. Reisen in Lykien Milyas und Kibyratis. Reisen im Südwestlischen Kleinasien II, Wien.
Spratt, T. A. B. & E. Forbes. 1847. Travels in Lycia, Milyas and Cibyratis, London.

Image sources:
Rhodiapolis Excavation Archive
kumluca.org.tr
T. A. B. Spratt & E. Forbes, 1847
E. Krickl, 1892
E. Petersen & F. Von Luschan, 1889
Rüdiger Gogräfe, 1982
Artichaeology
Gunthram, 2010
N. Çevik, 2021
Bora Bilgin, 2022, 2023
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2023
Tayfun Bilgin, 2023
Reha Özer, 2023


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Citation: Bora Bilgin, www.lycianmonuments.com