Tlos, Lycia

As one of the six principal cities of Lycia (and one of the most powerful), Tlos once bore the title under the Roman empire of 'the very brilliant metropolis of the Lycian nation'.  It is one of the oldest and largest settlements of Lycia (known as 'Tlawa' in Lycian inscriptions) and was eventually inhabited by Ottoman Turks, one of the few Lycian cities to continue it existance through the 19th century.  There is evidence that Tlos was a member of the Lycian Federation from the 2nd century BC.  Two wealthy philanthropists, one of which was Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, were responsible for much of the building in the 2nd century AD.  Inscriptions tell us that the citizens were divided into demes, the names of three of them are known: Bellerophon, Iobates and Sarpedon, famous Lycian legendary heroes.  A Jewish community is also known to have existed with its own magistrates.

Lycian tombs on the acropolis hill

Tlos was re-discovered by Charles Fellows in 1838 and he was followed by the explorer Spratt, who thought that "a grander site for a great city could scarcely have been selected in all Lycia" - great praise indeed for a land abounding in grand scenery.

Tlos lies on the east side of the Xanthos valley, and is dominated by its acropolis. This rocky outcrop slopes up from a plateau with a charming village, but ends on the west, north and northeast in almost perpendicular cliffs. On its slope are several Lycian sarcophagi and many house and temple-type rock-cut tombs cut into the face of the hill.  The influence of many cultures upon Tlos has resulted in an interesting collage of structures.  It is a romantic place with lush nature and many of the buildings are vine-covered (especially the large bath), it would have been the perfect location for any romantic painter.

Fortress atop the acropolis hill

Yaka village now co-exists with Tlos and the fields and pomegranate trees make for very picturesque scenery.  Tlos is a popular destination for tours from the coastal cities.  The whole area it is situated in is beautiful with many small villages.  Tours often include a trip to the beautiful Saklikent Gorge and the lovely Yakapark Restuarant.  Opposite the acropolis of Tlos are some small cafés with toilet facilities.  Tlos is about 4 km. northwest of Saklikent Gorge. 

Features of Tlos include:



All photos, with the exception of the last, are of the larger bath.
The large bath  
"Yedi Kapı"  
  Arch of the smaller bath
Theatre and remains of the stage building
Reliefs from the stage building