DALYAN GUIDE

About Dalyan

CAUNOS: A LEGEND COUNTRY

Caunos was said to have been founded around 9th Century BC by Caunos, son of Miletos and Kyane, on the southern coast of Caria, opposite Rhodes, it was known as Rhodian Peraea and went on to become an important country in 400 BC.

The foundation of Caunos is seeped in mythological tales. Do you like legends ? If you like, you will be upset, after hearing the legends that we will tell you.

TEARS OF BYBLIS

The Roman historian and poet Ovidius told the story. The best known myth about Caunos from the famous Latin poet, Ovidius and recites as follows:

“Miletos is the father of twins, a son, Caunos and a daughter, Byblis. According to popular legend as they grew up Byblis is purported to have fallen ‘in love’ with her brother, Caunos. One day she decides to write a letter to her brother expressing her love for him, Caunos is repelled by her feelings for him and reacts with anger, deciding to leave his home with his followers for a place called ‘Karya’; there he establishes his own city naming it ‘Caunos’ after himself. Byblis, deserted by the man she loves is beside herself with grief and unable to live without her brother tries to commit suicide by jumping off a high cliff. As she jumps Nymphs take pity on her and whilst in flight turn her in to a spring, which in time became a flowing river, said to be the tears shed by Byblis."

ARCHAEOLOGICAL KNOWLODGE ABOUT CAUNOS

The end of the great city is equally sorrowful, in time the harbour overflowed followed by an invasion of mosquitoes which spread deadly diseases and finally an earthquake which destroyed most of the city. Following archeological excavations it is understood that the history of Caunos dates back to around 3,000 BC. Caunos was one of the Greek colony cities in the region of Karya. Throughout history, Caunos witnessed Persian, Hellenic, Roman and Byzantium civilizations.

After the 14th century, Caunos came under the sovereignity of the Menteshogullari State and the Ottoman Empire. In ancient times in Anatolia, the region between the Meander (Menderes) and Indus (Dalaman) rivers in the south was called Caria. The inhabitants were Carians and Lelegians. In his Iliad, Homeros describes the Carians as the natives of Anatolia, defending their country against Greeks in joint campaigns in collaboration with the Trojans.

ACROPOL

The inner fortress which contains the most important structures and temples is called acropol. Acropols were generally built on high hills where the defence is easier.

The fortress in Caunos is on a high hill. From this hill you can view the whole of the antique city, Dalyan, Ýztuzu coast, the town of Dalyan, the whole of the canal which extends between the Mediteranean like a blue line, fields, gardens, forrests which look like a paradise. The eastern and the southern sides of the fortress is a steep abyss descending into the canal. That’s why it is only possible to reach the fortress from a path at the side of the antique theatre in the west. The double ramparts which surround the fortress were built in the 5th century BC. From the walls, embrasure and merlons we understand that the fortress was restored in the middle age.

THEATRE

As in every antique habitation there is a theatre in Caunos. The theatre draws the attention with its settlement and architectural style. It’s in the west of Acropol. It’s composed of 3 sections; scene, orchestra and cavena (seats). Some of the cavenas are rested on the slope. The remaining cavenas are supported by vaults. The theatre overlooks the harbour and the city. Judging from the architectural structure, we can understand that the theatre witnessed 3 different eras. In 150 BC some of the cavenas, in 50 AD the remaining cavenas and some part of the stage, and in 150-200 AD the remaining part of the stage were built. Cavenas are in 9 rows and of 33 seats.

Today except for the stage and some of the cavenas, the theatre is in good condition. The orchestra section is covered with soil. The theatre is of medium-size.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CAUNOS

CHURCH

At the right-hand side of the path leading to the theatre, a nice church stands. The researchers claim that there are two churches in this region. That’s why, the one which is next to the theatre is called the grand church. Existance of churches in Caunos shows that formerly Christians lived here.

The church is estimated to have been built in the 5th century or later. It’s composed of one entrance and three sections. The entrance is in the west, the sacred direction is in the east. The tombs and the old buildings which surround the church were cleaned and the structure of the church came into sight.

ROMAN BATH

This bath is in the best condition among others in Anatolia. The bath consisted of an undressing section, cold water, warm water, hot water sections, creaming section, heating system and a swimming pool. These sections which became ruins in the course of time are now being restored. The most beautiful part of the bath is the southern part which consist of many windows. From these windows it’s possible to view the city and the harbour.

PALESTRA

In the east of the bath a sports school extends towards the church. Wrestlings were held here and training for all sorts of sports was given here. The sports school which covers a large area is not available today.

TEMPLES AND TEMENOS

During the antique era there were multi-god religions. People who lived in this area believed in Zeus, Aphrodite, Artemis and Apollon. In some antique cities people chose a god or goddess that would protect their city. In an inscription which was found in Caunos, the names of Apollon, Posedion, Artemis and Aphrodite are mentioned. Heredotos said that the people of Caunos worshipped their own gods and not foreign gods.

Archaeologists found six temples in Caunos. Four of them belong to the Roman Period, two of them belong to the Hellenistic Period.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL KNOWLODGE ABOUT CAUNOS

AGORA AND STOA

At the end of the road, in the west of the fountain and to the parallel direction of the trade harbour there is an agora and stoa. In this area there are statues and pedestals. At the back of the stoa which belongs to the Hellenistic Period there’s a sacred temple on an unnatural slope. It was built in the 2nd century BC. It’s 97 meters and has a stone ground. Some inscriptions were found around the temple.

NYMEHEUM

It’s in the east of stoa and is known with the name of Roman Emperor, Vespasian (69-79). In the south of the monumental fountain there is an inscription. Emperor Vespasian and some records related to the customs are mentioned in this inscription. The inscription is considered an important written document because it contains some information about trade in that period.

STORE HOUSE

It’s situated on a road descending into the harbour from the theatre. It has two stores and it’s not so big. Storehouses which were built for the purpose of storing various goods, are available at different locations of the city. It’s thought that there are some other storehouses on the coast of Caunos.

HARBOUR AND CUSTOMS

The harbour which is known as Sülüklü Lake now, played an important role for Caunos to be a commercial city. The harbour which was very deep was protective and a closed type of harbour. Trade ships were able to enter the harbour easily. Today the harbour has turned to a semi marsh. According to Strabon, once upon a time the entrance of the harbour was closed by a chain. On the monumental fountain there is an inscription which contains some regulations and information about the customs. The inscription was read and evaluated. There’s also remnants of a breakwater in the harbour.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL KNOWLODGE ABOUT CAUNOS

The end of the great city is equally sorrowful, in time the harbour overflowed followed by an invasion of mosquitoes which spread deadly diseases and finally an earthquake which destroyed most of the city. Following archeological excavations it is understood that the history of Caunos dates back to around 3,000 BC. Caunos was one of the Greek colony cities in the region of Karya. Throughout history, Caunos witnessed Persian, Hellenic, Roman and Byzantium civilizations.

After the 14th century, Caunos came under the sovereignity of the Menteshogullari State and the Ottoman Empire. In ancient times in Anatolia, the region between the Meander (Menderes) and Indus (Dalaman) rivers in the south was called Caria. The inhabitants were Carians and Lelegians. In his Iliad, Homeros describes the Carians as the natives of Anatolia, defending their country against Greeks in joint campaigns in collaboration with the Trojans.

ACROPOL

The inner fortress which contains the most important structures and temples is called acropol. Acropols were generally built on high hills where the defence is easier.

The fortress in Caunos is on a high hill. From this hill you can view the whole of the antique city, Dalyan, Ýztuzu coast, the town of Dalyan, the whole of the canal which extends between the Mediteranean like a blue line, fields, gardens, forrests which look like a paradise. The eastern and the southern sides of the fortress is a steep abyss descending into the canal. That’s why it is only possible to reach the fortress from a path at the side of the antique theatre in the west. The double ramparts which surround the fortress were built in the 5th century BC. From the walls, embrasure and merlons we understand that the fortress was restored in the middle age.

THEATRE

As in every antique habitation there is a theatre in Caunos. The theatre draws the attention with its settlement and architectural style. It’s in the west of Acropol. It’s composed of 3 sections; scene, orchestra and cavena (seats). Some of the cavenas are rested on the slope. The remaining cavenas are supported by vaults. The theatre overlooks the harbour and the city. Judging from the architectural structure, we can understand that the theatre witnessed 3 different eras. In 150 BC some of the cavenas, in 50 AD the remaining cavenas and some part of the stage, and in 150-200 AD the remaining part of the stage were built. Cavenas are in 9 rows and of 33 seats.

Today except for the stage and some of the cavenas, the theatre is in good condition. The orchestra section is covered with soil. The theatre is of medium-size.

CITY RAMPARTS

Conservation

THOLOS

This structure is believed to have been built for a hero named Tholos. It’s in the south of the harbour and nearby the city ramparts. Since it’s full with water, it’s diffic ult to make research.

CITY RAMPARTS AND DOORS

Apart from the ramparts that surround Acropol, there are also ramparts surrounding the city. The ramparts extend through Balýklar Mountain in the south and southeast, through the smaal fortres in the north and northwest, through Çömlekçi Hill in the west and through the region that overlooks the town of Dalyan in the south. It was built during the antique era but restored in different periods. The height of the ramparts is a few metres at some points. The remnants of the doors inside the ramparts are visible.

COMLEKCI HILL

It’s in the west of the city, opposite the small fortress. It’s claimed that the area between the small fortress and Çömlekçi Hill of the trade harbour was closed by a chain. There are tombs, ramparts, west fortress en west door around the hill. The fortress and the ramparts must belong to the 3rd century.

SMALL FORTRESS

It’s in the southwest of the harbour. There’s a rampart connection between Acropol and the fortress. There’s a door inside the city ramparts. The rampart wall is polygonal typ e.

BATTLE HARBOUR

NECROPOL

Like in other antique cities, there is a big cemetry outside the settlement area in Caunos. Various tombs, which overlook the view, attract the attention. The most striking ones are the monumental rock tombs which belonged to kings and loyal personalities. The stone tombs which were made by carving the high stones are the landmark of Dalyan.

Some ceramic crockeries and other things found in these stone tombs show that the tombs may belong to the IV th century BC. The tombs look like Likya type tombs. The reason of this is the region nearby the Karya-Likya border. We can’t see such stone tombs anywhere except Anatolia. Especially, we can see the most distinguished stone tombs of the antique cities in the Likya region. In Caunos which is between Karya and Likya we see Likya type stone tombs. It’s possible to see the most resembling stone tombs in Telmessos (Fethiye). The tombs which look like small temples were built on slopes and it’s difficult to reach them. The tombs overlook the river.

The tombs in Caunos have great similarities with the other tombs around Telmessos and the monumental stone tombs are believed to belong to King Amnythas in the 4th century. These tombs are on a slope in Telmessos.

BATTLE HARBOUR AND DOCKYARD

Historical documents claim that there were a battle harbour and a dockyard near the Dalyan river of the antique city. The harbour was in the north of Acropolis. Now, it’s completely full with water.

HOUSES

During the archaeological excavations, at the back of the stoa some house remnants which belong to the early Byzantium Period, were found. The housing area is estimated to extend through south and west from the sacred temple.

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