Limyra

Location: 

GPS coordinates: 36.342831, 30.170519

The ancient site of Limyra lies 6 km inland from the sea. Limyra (Λιμύρα) was a small city in Lycia, on the Limyrus River. It was a prosperous settlement, and one of the oldest cities in the region of Lycia.

Limyra
Limyra

Historical overview: 

This city played a significant role in history during the 4th century BCE when the Lycian ruler Pericles supported a rebellion of satraps in Asia Minor against the ruling Persians. Persian rule eventually was reestablished with the involvement of Mausolus, the Carian satrap at Halicarnassus. After Alexander the Great ended Persian rule in 333 BCE, much of Lycia including Limyra was ruled by his successor Ptolemy in Egypt, followed by the Syrian Seleucids, then by Rhodes and finally by Rome after 167 BCE.

Roman rule brought centuries of prosperity. Limyra has the unusual distinction of commemorating each of these historical periods with a specific monument to the 4th century BCE ruler Pericles, the 2nd century BCE period of Ptolemaic rule and finally a cenotaph to a 1st century member of the Roman imperial family.

Sightseeing: 

The lower city at the base of the hill encompasses two separate walled areas. A gate in the district to the west leads through to a marshy area and down toward a massive structure standing on a stone podium. This is the cenotaph of Gaius Caesar, grandson and heir apparent of Emperor Augustus. Augustus had adopted Gaius Caesar in 17 BCE and designated him as his heir. At age 21 Gaius Caesar was sent on a political mission to Armenia, which the Parthians had recently invaded. Gaius successfully placed a pro-Roman king on the Armenian throne but was seriously wounded during a subsequent skirmish. On February 21 in the year 4 Gaius Caesar died from his wounds at Limyra during his return to Rome. Only the basic structure of the cenotaph remains in situ.

A path leads across a stream to the other walled area containing a large 5th century church with a nearby bishop’s palace. Back on the modern road is the theatre cut into the base of a hill with seating capacity for 8000 spectators. Behind the theatre is the tomb of Xatabura which dates back to 350 BCE and belonged to a close relative of Pericles. At this moment that area is not open for visit by the public.

To the west of the theatre stands a small 2nd century bathhouse with a complex heating system, but that area is also closed for visit at this moment. Near the south wall of the acropolis is the 4th century Heroon of Pericles a huge temple raised on a high podium decorated with reliefs. The necropolis of Limyra extends beyond the theatre and contains a vast number of elaborate tombs.

Visitor tips: 

The site of Limyra is free visitable but a large part is at the moment not open for visitors.

Getting there: 

Limyra is very easily reachable. From Antalya one can take the main road 400 in the direction of Kumluca and further to Demre/Kale. Near Finike a good road leading to Elmali to the right passes the site of Limyra. Cafés and restaurants are in nearby Turunçova.