Arycanda (Arykanda) is a unique Lycian city, built upon five large terraces ascending a mountain slope, and was known for having the most pleasure and entertainment-loving (and debt-ridden) citizens.  The city overlooks a magnificent valley and its view makes it one of the most spectacular sites in Lycia.

Located near the small village of Aykiriçay, on the Elmali-Finike road.

Arycanda, Lycia

View over the bath complex

Arycanda is known to be one of the oldest Lycian sites - its name ends with -anda, indicitive of its Anatolian origin dating back as far as the second millennium BC.  Some of the oldest coins of Lycia (5th c. BC were also found here during a recent digging; the site is under continuous excavation.

Gods and goddesses known to have been worshipped here are: Apollo, Ares, Artemis (in the forms of Kombike, Lagbene, Tharsenike and Eleuthera), Athena, Kakasbos (an Anatolian horseman-deity), Hera, Helios, Mithras, Tyche, Asklepios, Hygeia, Hercules, Hermes, Aphrodite, Somondeus (a mountain god), and Nemesis .

Arycanda survived through Byzantine times, until the 9th century when the settlement moved to a new site south of the modern road.

Excavations and restoration work in recent years have succeeded in unearthing a beautiful city, well-organized with the look of an architectural model.

Luckily for us, whether due to landslides, earthquakes or the difficulty for robbers in getting material down to the sea (there were sites nearer to the sea for that), Arycanda has not lost much of its large-scale materials except for the columns of the agora.  Also, with no large settlement nearby in later years, many things have been spared the lime-kilns, at least none have been found on site yet.  Since much of the site has been protected by landslips, the limestone of Arycanda's buildings looks quite fresh.

Some features of this magnificent city include:


Click to enlarge