The Xanthus Valley – visiting notes

Odysseus Cruising – visiting notes


The heart of ancient Lycia is the Xanthus River Valley. This contains Xanthus itself, the ancient capital set high on a hill overlooking the river, Patara, the great port and Letoon, the religious centre of the Classical Period.

All three sites can be reached by minibus from Kalkan quayside. Your Captain will arrange a vehicle for you. Allow 4 – 5 hours minimum. This can be reduced by omitting Letoon.


The harbour is now silted up and sealed by ‘The nine mile beach’. Approached by road.  A vast city awaiting further excavation.

1. The Mettius Triple Arch, a Roman monument not a triumphal arch as it has no road through the arch.  Nearby is the Roman graveyard and a fine Lycian boat-roofed tomb.

2. The Roman Bath.  As you approach the site, a hundred yards from the road on the right.  Note:  the large bay window and main street crossing.

3. The Early Christian Church, alongside the road

4. Theatre.  A fine Roman example, recently excavated

5. The large council chamber


The Capital, a very famous site from which many artefacts were taken to the British Museum using the lifting skills of the Royal Navy (Lt. Spratt) in the early nineteenth century.

1. Theatre, a fine Roman example, compare with Patara. Note: The Byzantine defensive wall at the back of the theatre and the famous Tower Tombs.

2. The Great Inscribed Stone, North of the Theatre

3. Roman paved main road, 40 feet wide, to the East of the Theatre. One of the finest in Turkey.

4. The Early Christian Church. One of the largest on the coast. At the end of the Roman main road just after the road turns right.


The religious area with Theatre and Temples.  Note:  Although worth seeing, this site can be skipped if time is short.