Rich Cities of the Ancient World – Xanthos Ancient City in Antalya

Xanthos, also known as Xanthus, was an ancient city located in the Lycia region of Anatolia. It was a prominent city in antiquity with a rich history and several notable attractions. Here are some details about Xanthos and its attractions.

Xanthos Location

Xanthos is located within the borders of Kınık village of Kas district of Antalya. The ancient city was strategically positioned on a hill overlooking the Xanthos River (modern-day Eşen River), which was an important water source in the region.


Nereid Monument: One of the most famous attractions in Xanthos is the Nereid Monument, an elaborately decorated ancient Greek tomb. The monument features intricate relief sculptures depicting mythological scenes and figures, including Nereids, sea nymphs who were daughters of the sea god Nereus.

Amphitheater: Xanthos had an impressive amphitheater that was used for various performances and events. The amphitheater’s location provided sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.

Harpy Tomb: Another remarkable tomb in Xanthos is the Harpy Tomb, characterized by its unique architectural design and carvings of winged creatures, possibly harpies, on its facade.

Rock Tombs: Like many ancient Lycian cities, Xanthos is known for its rock-cut tombs. These tombs were carved into the cliffs and hillsides surrounding the city and served as burial places for the wealthy and prominent citizens.

Lycian Inscriptions: Xanthos, being part of the Lycian League, features inscriptions in the Lycian language and script. These inscriptions provide valuable historical and linguistic insights into the ancient Lycian culture.

City Walls and Acropolis: The remains of Xanthos’ city walls and acropolis are also significant archaeological features that provide insights into the layout and defense of the ancient city.

Xanthos was a prominent city in the Lycian League, a federation of ancient Lycian cities. The city had a complex history involving periods of independence and foreign rule by various powers, including Persians and Greeks. Xanthos is famously associated with the concept of “Xanthian Obstinacy,” where its citizens chose to commit mass suicide rather than surrender to invading forces in 546 BCE.

Today, Xanthos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant archaeological site, attracting visitors interested in exploring the remains of this ancient city and learning about its history and culture. Keep in mind that specific details about the site, accessibility, and available attractions may change over time, so it’s recommended to check with local authorities or travel resources before planning a visit.

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I have been living in Antalya since 2018. I have had the opportunity to explore many tourist attractions in the city. I write about places to visit, things to do, and various topics I have learned. You can ask your questions through the website. If you have previously visited Antalya, you can contribute by sharing your experiences on the website.

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