Known as ‘Zemuri’ in ancient times, Limyra was one of the oldest cities in Lycia of which we have proof of its existence back to the Sth century B.C. The city, with its rich and abundant soil, gradually became a prosperous trade settlement Pericles adopted Limyra as the capital of the Lycian League to go up against the Persians, whereas the everlasting flame of Lycia was symbolized here with a constantly burning 1 During the 4th and Sth centuries B.C., Lycia, as v the rest of Anatolia, was under the administrat local governors called satraps, who were undj control of the Persian kingdom. Alexander the put an end to all that when he arrived on the so 333 B.C. Thus, the Limyra region, which was ca] by Alexander, was subsequently administer Governor Nearchus, Alexander’s commander, 1 was left in Lycia to govern in his absence. Alexander’s death, the Empire was divided be the neighboring states, and the region of Limyr given first to Antigonos, and later to the pt( dynasty of Egypt. It was captured in 301 B Lysimachus, after which for a period the Pto] dominated the area once more. Finally, it ren under Ptolemic control until 197 B.C., when the Limyra was taken over by King Attalos ill, of Syra.
Subsequently, Limyra was handed o Rhodes as a result of the Apemaia Treaty, whicl about after the defeat of Antiochus at Magnesi; the Lycians did not much care for Rhodian domi of .Rome, whereas frequent riots that the L; caused were more than enough for Rome to con: turn its attention to this region. Finally, in 16 the region was taken from the Rhodian Kingd the Romans, and included in the Roman El Limyra, which had become a member of the League in the 2nd century B.C., was even in a p to strike its own coins. The period from th Pericles died in the 1st century B.C. until the mid – 2nd century A.D. was considered the halcyon d Limyra. However, the city was literally knocked feet by the earthquake which struck the area in 141 A.D. As a consequence, the town was reconst thanks in large part through the patronage wealthy Opramoas, who from what we can determine from his inscription, was also responsible for the construction of the theater.
During the Byzantine period, Limyra was a prosperous town once more, and in fact, became the center of a diocese. However, the city lost its importance and was abandoned soon after the Arab raids of the 9th century. Now, let’s go through the ruins of this interesting city together, the site of which we encounter several monuments that have been excavated by Prof. Dr. J. Borchardt.
Climbing up a winding road to the top of the hill above the city and we encounter Limyra’s acropolis, which is comprised of an inner fortress, or keep, to the north along with a lower fortress in the southern part which widens out into the shape of a triangle. There are surrounding battlements, cisterns and a Byzantine church in the lower fortress. Besides these, the most impressive remains are those of the Pericles Heroon. Situated near the southern walls mausoleum was carved from the natural rock overlooking the plain of Limyra, measures 10.40 x 6.80 meters in size, and sits on a rock tA that measures 19 x 18 meters. The Heroon of ti which resembles the Nereids’ Tomb in Xanthos constructed in 370 B.C. after the death of King Pericles, of Limyra, who worked tirelessly to establis Lycian League.
The roof of the Heroon is held in place i front and rear by caryatids. Today, manyarchite fragments as well as reliefs of the monument are found in the Vienna Museum. The 5.3 meter monument is in the form of a temple, and be friezes six meters in length. These friezes conI scenes of a war chariot pulled by four horses, foE by the King and his entourage, who were in followed by calvary and foot-soldiers at the bearing spears in the right hand, and shields i left. From the style of dress, it appears that the: Lycian and Persian soldiers.
Now let us look at Lirnyra’s theater, whid the side of the road. As we previously mentione theater was destroyed in the big earthquake o A.D., whereas it was rebuilt by wealthy Opramo~ vaulted, double diazoma skene of this Roman it has since fallen into ruin. Immediately opposil remnants of fortifications of the Roman and Byzc periods. These walls divide the site into two sec the eastern one containing the ruins of a Byzc church and a palace. This area is reached throu archway in the center of the northeastern wall, flI on both sides by towers. In the western area, , also has an archway, is the cenotaph of Gaius Caesar, who was adopted by Augustos in 17 B.C., and appointed to be his heir. Gaius Caesar was actually the son of Agrippa and Julia. When Gaius Caesar was maliciously wounded at a conference in Armenia and died at Limyra in 4 A.D., the Limyrians erected this monument over his tomb on behalf of his step – father Augustos. Subsequently, Limyra’s relations with Rome were put on a good footing which culminated with Limyra’s independence, whereas the state remained independent up to the mid-lst century A.D. Today, only the ruins of a wall in the shape of a tower can be seen of this tomb. It is understood that there is an explanation of Gaius Caesar’s great deeds on top of the parts that were found of tomb. Nearby this monumental tomb lies the Ptolemy Monument from the following era. Only a very small part of this monument, which was decorated with acanthus leaves and Egyptian influences and which had a wall that passed through it, can be seen today. The Byzantine wall that passed over the monument was revealed while research studies were being made on the statue of wife of Ptolemy.
The city wall makes a turn at the top, whereas one encounters Pericles Palace inside. It would be easier to reach this part if you pass between the walls. In addition, the city’s avenue has remained underwater as a result of the stream flooding over, which has taken on a dramatic appearance.
The necropolis of Limyra is situated beyond the theater and is scattered over a wide area, roughly separated into the western, northern and eastern necropolis. The most noticeable tomb in the western necropolis is a two-tiered tomb, near which stands another interesting monument, the tomb of Tebur the portal of which is carved in relief. This tomb ( to the 4th century B.C. The relief carving sh Tebursseli and Susantre in battle with Arttumpara, King of Telmessos.
Situated above the theater one encounters the tomb of Catabura, who was most probably the brother or another relative of King Pericles of Limyra. From the inscription on the tomb, we learn that it was around 350 B.C. The sarcophagus is mounted on an ornamented base, on which there are scenes of traditional banquet of mourning, accompanied by an interesting relief of the judgment of the dead. The deceased is portrayed nude, with his clothes draped over his arm, appearing before the court in the world of the dead.
In the eastern necropolis, there is a monument tomb dating back to the 4th century B.C. with Ionic columns that were carved out of the rocks. There are also other tombs nearby, a number of which have reliefs depicting various scenes.
Not far from Limyra itself, there is quite an interesting tomb to be found on the banks of the Cavdir River which is decorated with reliefs of the familyowners of the tomb; the father in one comer, with the mother and child in the other.
There are also a group of rock tombs to be seen in the vicinity, on the way to Elma11 from Finike, on the northeast side of the ride, close to the top of the hill. These tombs are interesting, as they seem to have been carved out of the rock to resemble medieval fortresses.