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Lycia :: Myra

Myra

One can easily reach the famous ancient city of Myra, which is situated in Antalya's district of Kale, 24 kilometers outside Finike, on the Kas - Finike coast road. Myra retained her fame throughout the Middle Ages as the see of the servant of God, St. Nicholas, who spouted forth myrrh, in accordance with the city's name. Myra was established on the seaward cliffs of the mountains surrounding the plain of Dernre from the northwest. At first, the city was established on top of the hill where the rock tombs are, then later on, it expanded by moving down below where it became one of the six important cities of Lycia. The city's first coins, which were minted in the 4th century B.C., depicted the figure of a mother god.

Rather surprisingly, there is no literary mention of Myra before the 1st century B.C.; but the surviving monuments and inscriptions leave no doubt of her importance from at least the fifth century. In 42 B.C., after the capture of Xanthos, Brutus sent his lieutenant Lentulus Spinther to collect money; the Myrans were reluctant and Spinther had to force an entry to the harbor at Andriace by breaking the chain which closed it. The Myrans then submitted and complied with his demands. The city was well treated by the emperors; in 18 A.D., Germanicus and his wife Agrippina paid it a visit and were honored with statues erected in the harbor of Andriace. In 60 A.D., St. Paul changed ships at Myra, that is, at Andriace, on his way to Rome. Myra's neighbor to the east was Limyra, and we learn from an inscription that there was a ferry service between the two.

Dignified by the title of metropolis. handsomely endowed by gifts of money from Opramoas of Rhodiapolis and Jason of Cyaenai, whereas the theater and its portico were constructed a monument tomb which is found in Karabucak near Myra (Roman Age). Two separate views of the Lycian house-type tombs which are situated next to the Myra Amphitheater. by Licinus Lanfus of Oenoanda, to whom 10,000 denars were donated for its completion. Myra was finally made the capital of Lycia during the time St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra by Theodosius II (408-450). Myra and the church were demolished during the Arab raids in the 7th and 9th centuries, whereas the Church of St. Nicholas was totally razed to the ground during a naval assault conducted by the Arabs in 1034.

As a result of the discomfort caused I Arab raids, the frequent flooding over of the of the Myros Stream in which some structure: filled with earth, along with earthquakes that region, the city was abandoned whereas My! subsequently identified as being a village. When the Turks arrived in this area, they encountt shrunken Myra.

There isn't much remaning on the acropolis which is situated on the mountain abo, theater. Spratt, who visited Myra in 1842, that besides some small rocks nothing remained on the acropolis.

The city walls, from the Roman Age some wall remains that date to the Hellenist and in fact even as far back as the 5th century Near the theater as you go towards the city, you will come across some later period ruins on the le of the road that could be either baths or a basilica.

Myra's water needs were met through aqueducts that opened onto the rock face on the side of the valley where the Demre Stream flowed. It is possible to see these aqueducts today. The structures of Myra are buried underground a waiting for the time when they see daylight While arriving in Myra, one will notice a preserved Roman period monument tomb at , called Karabucak above the road.

Aildriace, which is the harbor of Myra mouth of the stream, was known as a famous soothsaying center, whereas there is at! ancient city of Trebenda, which is in Gurses, kilometers outside Sura.

Now beginning from the theater, let's get acquainted with the rock-tombs and the Ch St. Nicholas:

The Theater

The theater is large, some 115 meters in diameter, and of the Roman type. The vertical rock- face could not be utilized for the slope of the cavea, which is accordingly wholly built up. The building has recently been cleared and its appearance much improved; the general state of preservation is good. The cavea has a single diazoma with 29 rows of seats below it and six above, with fourteen stairways; it is surrounded by two concentric vaulted galleries, of which the outer gallery , two stories. In the west gallery, on the wall be the two corridors, is an inscription reading place of the huckster Gelasius'; we may imagine him stall purveying the ancient equivalent of peanuts and ice-cream to the spectators as they flock The diazoma is broad and backed by a 1.90 I high wall the point of which has a projection steps on either side giving access to the upper On the front of the projection is a figure of , with the inscription; "Fortune of the city, be ever victorious, with good luck." Fragments c decoration, including broken columns and ( blocks, are lying on the ground. In the orche an interesting inscription concerning import exports at Myra, requiring the city to pay League Treasury 7,000 denars annually out revenues from the import duty. The theater destroyed as a result of an earthquake in 14 J whereas the theater and its portico we] constructed by Licinus Lanfus of Oenoaru whom 10,000 denars were donated f( completion. The theater was used as an arena later on, which was the reason why some alterations were made.

Rock Tombs

The famous rock-tombs of Myra are in two main groups, one above the theater and the other in a place called the river necropolis on the east side.

Just to the west of the theater the steep is honeycombed with closely packed torn greatly varying form and size, though the mi are as usual of house-type. Many of them are elaborate, and some are decorated with reliefs color. A feware of temple-type. Again, one can see steps carved out of the rock that lead to the temples.

The tomb found at the level of the theater orchestra is of house-type with a pediment in which are two warriors carrying shields and moving to the left; the man on the right appears to be grasping the other's shield as if to tear it from him.

In the middle of the group, about half-way up, are two tombs one above the other, with a third at the side; over the upper tomb is a more elaborate relief showing a man reclining on a couch, with his wife sitting beside him and three armed men, apparently his sons, standing to the left; smaller figures carrying a bowl and a double flute approach the bed from the left. The most interesting inscription is found on the tomb next to the theater, in which it reads, "Moschus loves Philiste, daughter of Demetrius."

After sufficiently inspecting these tombs, let us check out the tombs on the eastern face of the hill, that is, the place that is called the river necropolis on the east side. The tombs here resemble those next to the theater. Not very much above ground-level, and approached by a somewhat uncomfortable rock-path, is the monument known as the Painted Tomb, certainly one of the most striking throughout Lycia.

It is of the usual house-type and has in the interior a bench on the right and left sides; in front is a leveled platform with steps leading up on one side. But the outstanding feature is the group of eleven life- size figures in relief. In the porch on the spectator's left is the reclining figure of a bearded man raising a wine-cup in his right hand, evidently the father of the family, and on the opposite wall a seated woman, presumably his wife, with her children either side of her.

On the smoothed rock-face outside the I there stands on the left a tall commanding n apparently the same as the reclining figure dressed for outdoors with cloak and a long staff his right hand. On the rocks to the right ar( more figures: first a tall female raising her similarly no doubt identical with the seated WI in the porch; her daughter stands beside her ho her hand. In addition to the family, servant also depicted in the tomb. The identification o scene is not entirely clear, but it appears that figures in the porch represent the family's indoor life, while those on the rocks outside show issuing forth from the house.

The three on the extreme right must depict a separate scene. At all events it is cleal there is no question of a family visit to the t the monument as a whole represents not a tom the family dwelling. The colors, which Fellow1 as red, blue, yellow, and purple, have now n disappeared, apart from a red and blue backgl to the reclining man. Higher up in the ea group is a tomb with a pediment showing G savaging a bull; in the porch inside is a scene, including eight figures, somewhat similar to that the Painted Tomb.

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