The ruins of Letoon are situated in the village of Bozoluk. They can be
reached by a road 4 kms long, leading off the road from Kas
The cult of Apollo was based on that of an Anatolian god and was initiated at Patara. As the cult spread, many places were adopted as his
birthplace, among them the most widely accepted being Delos. It has often been said that
many of the Greek gods were imported to Greece from Anatolia and were developed from the
religious culture of the Hittites. This idea was popularised by
the Turkish poet, the fisherman of Halicarnassos. Similarly
Artemis was considered a continuation of the Kybele cult, under a new name, and the
clearest evidence of this is the Artemis temple at Ephesos. Letoon
was the sacred cult center of Lycia.
We can trace settlement at Letoon as far back as the 7th centruy B.C. After 1962,
excavations were carried out by Dr. H. Metzger, and are now under the direction of M. Le
Roi. The excavation site covers an area containing three temples placed side by side. The
first of these, of the Ionic order, is dedicated to Leto.
This has six columns on the front and rear facades and eleven on each side. To either side
of this temple are two small temples dedicated to Apollo and Artemis. However, as the
inscriptions from both temples have been confused, it is now not clear which temple
belonged to whom, although mosaics discovered flanking the main temple to show the bow and
quiver of Artemis and the Lyre of Apollo. An inscription which came to light near a flight
of steps cut into the rock north of the temples refers to Artemis in the Lycian script as
Ertemi, which suggest that the central temple belonged to Apollon, and the third temple to
In recent excavations, an area designed for the display of statues and the remains of a
fountain were discovered to the west of the temples. The temple was apparently built
during the reign of the emperor Hadrian and was constructed over an older building.
Excavation has been largely obstructed by the fact that these remains now lie under
several feet of water.
The theater lies opposite the temples, resting on the slope behind, with an entrance
visible to one side. This theater belongs to the Hellenistic period. The portals to the
east and west were decorated with Doric friezes and the auditorium was in good condition
when excavation began although the skene building was completely destroyed. Among the
foundations of the temples at Letoon, many inscriptions were found during excavation.
Of these, the most important is an inscription referring to a visit by Alexander to
Letoon, and another inscription, near this which is multi-lingual and contains texts in
Aramaic, Greek and Lycian. This is very important in that it helped expert to decypher the
Lycian script. Letoon was a center of cult activity and a living settlement until the 7th
century, after which it was abondened.