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Lycia :: Cyaenai


Another place of ruins off the Kas-Finike Road is Cyaenai, which is situated on a steep rocky slope above the village ofyavu, 23 kilometers from Kas. One can drive up to the theater, and from there trek 45 minutes from the village over a rocky path. Cyaenai is another of the Lycian cities with a Greek name; like Xanthos, that of the color of dark blue. Cyaenai is also the name of the Symplegades, the Clashing Rocks, at the northern entrance to the Bosphorus.

We don't know exactly when this city was established, but judging from existing inscriptions we are abl~ to date it as far back as the 4th century B.C., whereas Cyaenai was continuously inhabited since that time. The longest of these inscriptio] concerned with the honors decreed to a citizen n Jason, son of Nicostratus, a contemporary of Opra of Rhodiapolis and like him, generous with gi money to various cities; as manyas 16 of the L cities issued honorific decrees for him at diff times. It is for these reasons that Jason held the t Lyciarch. The town grew very prosperous durin Roman period, and was the center of a Bish during the Byzantine era, before being abandon the lOth century, with no trace of settlement beyond this date.

The town is situated on a steep hill rising 290 meters from the little plain of Yavu; the clil the summit takes 45 minutest the present path fc the ancient one part way up. The top of the hit surrounded by a wall on three sides enclosing ar some 450 meters in length and breadth. As it s the wall is late, of poor, irregular masonry with re-used blocks; but the original wall, well built in or less regular bossed ashlar, is visible in its parts on the north and west sides. Three gates on the north and west, are still to be seen, and a f must be supposed at the south end of the west where an ancient road entered the city.

The theater rests on the southern slope I acropolis. The central section of the auditoriuIl stands, containing 25 rows. The uppermost le1 the lower diazoma contains framed seats. II probably built in the 2nd century A.D. and )0011 over Trysa, Apollonia, with a fine view of the is and bays of the coastline.

Between the acropolis and theater lie necropolis, containing a large number of tombs sizes dating to the Roman period. Cyaenai hold most sarcophagi throughout Lycia. For this reason this place is called 'City of Sarcophagi.'

The ones on the west side are plain, while the ones on the eastern slope are varied and some of them have reliefs. These sarcophagi with reliefs date backto about 350 B.C. All the rest of the sarcophagi belong to the Roman period. In the lower part of the city, one encounters a very impressive tomb community that belongs to the Early Period. These are on both sides of the ancient road. The rocks here were carved in the shape of ladders. Just south lies a vertical rock that was shaped in the form of a sarcophagus. This sarcophagus is decorated in heads of lions and reliefs. There are rock tombs, which were cut out of the living rock in the bottom part of this sarcophagus. Behind this group, a stele with four facades can be seen.

Next to the other side of the ancient road are a number of rock tombs, some of which have inscriptions in the Lycian language. The tomb near the top of the hillside can be seen from the valley but it is not easy to reach. It has the form of a temple-to the Ionic order; unusually, the porch has a : column between pilasters, with a dentil friez pediment above. Its inscription, written in GreeJ the door of the main chamber, refers to the up pj lower tombs and to the sarcophagus. The lower is the main chamber itself. There is a deep cut the pediment of the upper tomb whereas it is si as though it is sitting on top of another tomb's pediment. The tomb is dated by the style of the to the 3rd century B.C.

A relief of soldiers with spears dating frc Lycian period was taken from one of the rock ton this site and is seen in the Antalya Museum 1 Although the library I baths and water cisterns been clearly identified, several of the remai Cyaenai are unknown.


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