Muğla Kaunos Archaeological Site

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KAUNOS RUINS

Kaunos is located on the right bank of Dalyan Stream (Calbis), which connects Köyceğiz Lake to the Mediterranean, within the borders of Çandır Village of Köyceğiz county, opposite the current Dalyan Town. The city, which was a port city in its period, has moved away from the sea shore today due to the formation of the Dalyan delta. The city is surrounded by Sivrihisar and Balıklar Mountain, which are the foothills of Ölemez Mountain (İmbroz), and Kızıltepe in the north and west directions. The geomorphological and topographic change of the environment in the period when the city was founded and before and after it distinguishes Kaunos from other contemporary cities not only in terms of historical geography and urbanism, but also with its political and social life, economic and cultural changes and developments. The 100 square kilometer Dalaman Plain in the east of the region is irrigated by the Dalaman Stream, which is formed by the Horzum Creek, which originates from the Güntutan Mountains.

Although the people of Caunos say that they are from Crete, Herodotus thinks they are indigenous people. Herodotos also says that the beliefs of the Caunos people are different from their neighbors. Basileus Kaunios is one of the leading Caunos gods. The name of this god, documented in the excavations of the ancient city of Caunos, is also mentioned in the trilingual (Lycian, Greek, Aramaic) inscription found in Letoon in 1973 and exhibited in the Fethiye Museum. The significance of this stele for Kaunos, which was erected during the satrapy period of Picodaros, is as follows: After capturing Xanthos, Picodore, who was the younger brother of Maussollos, had the god Basileus built an altar for Kaunios and asked the people to worship that god. Such a tradition is an Anatolian and Syrian tradition to build a temple for a foreign god in the place where they were conquered and to force the people to worship her. As can be understood from these narratives, the founders of the city of Caunos are separated from their neighbors with their own gods, as well as their languages, customs and traditions, and appear before us as another indigenous people of Anatolia.

The fact that the founders of the ancient city of Caunos were native Anatolian people is documented by the difference of its local name. We see for the first time in the Letoon Three Language inscription that the local name of the ancient city of Caunos was Kbid. We see that the name Kaunos in Greek texts is mentioned as Kbid in Karian texts. According to today's information, the people of Caunos used the local name of their city at least until the end of the 4th century. However, it is difficult to explain how come it was called Kaunos in the period of Herodotus. With the researches in recent years, it is gaining importance that the name Kaunos is in Greek. Such a system of thinking can be explained by the idea that this name change, the colonization of the city by the Hellenes, and the story, which was prepared consciously to show themselves as 'city founder' just like in other Anatolian cities, was realized before the Herodotus period. According to this story, which started to be told for the first time at the end of the Classical Period; "The legendary king Kaunos, the son of Miletos, has a sister who is in love with him, Byblis, Kaunos, when he refuses to accept this love, the girl hangs herself." Love that ends with this kind of pain is called "Caunos Love". 

The first noticeable ruins when arriving at the ancient city are the King Tombs carved into the rocks. The rock tombs, which are opened in different codes on the limestone steep facade of Balıklar Mountain, which surrounds the North Bay from the north direction, are grouped in seven different areas towards the southwest. Rock Tombs are the most important group among 167 tombs, none of which date back to the second quarter of the 4th century B.C. and those with temple façade that are the symbol of Kaunos today. There are one or more burial places and altars in the burial chambers carved into hard rocks with great difficulty. It is estimated that in addition to the king, his family was also placed in the King Tombs, where there are more than a grave. Another area that draws attention in the city is the upper acropolis. At the top of the acropolis, the southern slope of which is completely steep, there is a medieval fortification wall supported by towers.

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Muğla Kaunos Archaeological Site Çandır Mah. Köyceğiz/MUĞLA
fethiyemuzesi@ktb.gov.tr
+90 (252) 614-1150
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