Sura - Surezi

It is a small dynastic settlement located behind a hill northeast of the port of Andriake. It was known for the oracle center established there since the Hellenistic period. The slopes of the rocky hill of the settlement descends into a swampy area that used to be a small bay in ancient times. It was filled with the alluvium of the Karaemir stream that flows through the valley. Today’s Çayağzı beach covers both the mouth of Sura bay and the Andriake harbor which was likewise filled by the Myros (Demre) stream. The Lycian name of the city is Surezi. The name Soura (Sura) has been in use since the Hellenistic period until today. The dynastic period settlement is in a castle built on a rocky hill. A large dynast mansion built on the acropolis was in use even in the later periods. On the slope north of the hill, there was a dynastic period watchtower that was in use until the Byzantine time. A dozen Roman period sarcophagi are spread around the acropolis hill. The most remarkable monument in Sura is the dynastic period tomb located at the southern end of the acropolis hill. The lower part of the tomb is in the form of a classical Lycian wooden imitation house. Above this, there is a sarcophagus so high that it almost resembles a pillar tomb. It is the largest sarcophagus found in Lycia. However, tomb owner is unknown since there is no inscription on it. Just behind this tomb, there is a classical Lycian rock-cut tomb with a Lycian inscription. Another Lycian inscription found in Sura is on a ‘base’ located at the southern end of the acropolis hill and in a position overlooking Sura Bay. It is in the form of a monolithic cuboid carved from the bedrock. Borchhardt suggests that it may have been a statue base.
The prophecy activities performed in the Temple of Apollon established on the shore of Sura Bay, by the Roman period caused the settlement to became a religious center under administration of Myra. This is supported by inscriptions found around the acropolis. The prophecy center and the Apollon Surios cult are also mentioned by several ancient writers such as Plinius the Elder, Plutarchos, Polycharmos, and Artemidorus. Although there are some differences in their accounts, in general they all state that the temple priests prophesied by observing fish in the water. The temple was built in the Doric order with a south facing façade. Today, only the northern wall and parts of the side walls are preserved up to the height of the roof as well as some remains of a stepped road leading from the acropolis to the temple.


Borchhardt, J. 1975. Myra – Eine lykische Metropole in antiker und byzantinischer Zeit, 1st Forsch 30, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin.
Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.
İbci, R. O. 2019. Sura Apollon Tapınağı ve İlişkili Kült Kalıntıları, Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Antalya.
Wurster, W. W. 1993. ‘Dynast ohne Palast – Überlegungen zum Wohnbereich lykischer Feudalherren’, in: Akten Lykien II Bd. 2, 27-30.

Image sources:
W. W. Wurster, 1993
Tayfun Bilgin, 2022
Reha Özer, 2022
Bora Bilgin, 2022, 2023, 2024