Lycian Coast, Turkey

The ancient geographical region and once Kingdom of Lycia lies on the southern, Mediterranean coast of Turkey, bounded by Fethiye to the west, Antalya to the east and Korkuteli to the north. The region is steeped in both history and natural beauty.

The ancient Lycians were a democratic and independent people who spoke their own Indo-European language closely related to Luwian and Hittite. The Greeks admired the Lycians because while most Greek city states were often at war with each other, the Lycians had established a democratic federation that maintained peace between the various Lycian cities. Given its strategic location, the Kingdom of Lycia was of great interest to many competing powers. Lycia was first conquered by the Persians. When Alexander the Great arrived, after the Persians, the Lycians adopted Greek culture. After Alexander, Lycia became a part of the Roman Empire and the Romans built several cities and ports, theaters, temples, and ceremonial gates, all linked with paved roads. By the 4th century the Roman Empire crumbled, and Christianity took hold in Lycia. Several Byzantine monasteries were established in the Lycian hills at this time.

Today, the Lycian Peninsula is a popular tourist attraction. Tourists typically drive around the peninsula, starting from Antalya, and covering sights like Aspendos, Perge, Xanthos and Letoon, Patara and Demre (Myra). Another popular attraction is the Lycian Way, a 540 km trail around the southern coast of Turkey, from Fethiye to Antalya, that takes around 29 days to cover fully. The trail, which often has steep gradients, covers several of the ancient Roman roads, footpaths and mule trails, and several important historical sites.


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