Monumental tomb and sarcophagi, Sidyma

Sidyma is little-visited, and this is a shame because it is a beautiful place.  I think this may be due to little publicity and reports that the road leading to it is poor.  In any case, the road must have been improved in recent years because even though the last part of it is a track road, it is a good road and a car can easily reach the site.  The drive up is gorgeous with beautiful views along it.  To get to Sidyma, turn off the main Fethiye-Kalkan road about 6 km south of Eşen and continue on about 14 km to Sidyma (village of Dodurga).

The site is interesting not only for its ruins, but for the fact that the lovely village of Dodurga has been built among the remains, charmingly reusing pillars and other ancient pieces in the villagers' houses and other structures.  The site is virtually untouched and gives visitors the chance to see a Lycian site much like those seen by the first European explorers.

Not much is known about this site.  However, the form of the name -yma, is proof of its high antiquity.  There is evidence of settlement at least in the early classical period (including the ruin of a pillar tomb and a wall of ashlar and polygonal masonry) but most remains are from the Roman Imperial age.  Remains include numerous sarcophagi, impressive monumental tombs, a badly-preserved theatre, bath, stoa, temple, church and others things.

One very striking temple-type monumental tomb is located not far from the village center.  It is large, raised on two steps and seems to have originally had two columns in antis.  A large slab remains in place, decorated on the underside with beautiful carved reliefs of human heads (believed to be women) and flowers.  Traces of bright red paint can still be seen on one of the flowers.  More photos and details of this beautiful tomb.

Although the city is recorded by geographers throughout history to Byzantine times, only one story is recorded of its history.  While still a simple soldier, the future emperor Marcian (450-457 AD), fell ill while on his way through Lycia and was left behind in Sidyma.  He was befriended by two brothers who took him into their home and nursed him back to health.  When he recovered they all went hunting and while taking a siesta, one of the brothers awoke to see a huge eagle shielding Marcian with its outstetched wings.  He later asked Marcian "If you become emperor, what favor will you do us?"  Marcian replied that in that unlikely event he would make them Fathers of their city.  When he did indeed become emperor, he did one better and appointed them to a high position in Lycia.

Those living in Sidyma (Dodurga) are still very friendly, kind, gentle people (only about 80 people) and they would love to see more visitors.  Some of the young people that we met speak some English. The village is along the Lycian Way walk and the muhtar (village headman) who is also the imam, has told us that anyone may camp in the courtyard of the mosque if they wish.  In case of bad weather, seek him out for permission to sleep in the mosque - he speaks a little English and is a very kind man.  There isn't a shop in Sidyma, but water can be found at the mosque.  Some of the people of the villagers sell carved wooden spoons of sandalwood (we bought some, they are inexpensive and very nice) and kilim articles woven in the village.  But don't worry, they aren't pushy.

Some of my friends recently returned from a camping trip to Sidyma and said that the people there were just wonderful, so friendly and helpful, and that they are the friendliest villagers they have met on their many camping/walking trips in the Turkish mountains (and most villagers in Turkey are very friendly).  The villagers brought them some food and invited them over for tea and the imam had them park their motorcycle at the mosque. My friends found an area near the necropolis to be an ideal camping spot and walked to the top of the hill behind the mosque where the views were spectacular.

Villagers of Sidyma

Sidyma Photos 1

Sidyma Photos 2

View over the village, you can see the remains of a tower peeking out.