The ancient city of Kaunos, with its rock tombs, a theater with a capacity of 5,000 people, a basilica, agora, and the Holy Temple of Demeter, makes its visitors take a journey through history.
History of Kaunos
Kaunos was first discovered by the British Rd Hoskyn. Hoskyn concluded that this region was the city of Kaunos, from the inscription "People and Assembly of Kaunos" on a written block he found during his visit in 1840. The most important feature of the ancient city is the rock tombs that stand erect even today. According to the geographer Strabo, there were shipyards in Kaunos and a port that could be shut down below the Acropolis.
The ancient city of Kaunos passed under the rule of Persia, Egypt, Rhodes, Pergamon kingdom, and the Roman empire over time. Kaunos, which was a commercially important port city in Antiquity, lost its port feature over time as the sea was filled with alluvium. According to Herodotus, the father of history, the people of Caunos were from the indigenous people of Caria, but they considered themselves Cretans.
The one on the north side of the walls is from the Middle Ages. The longwall starts from the north of the harbor and extends to the steep cliff beyond Dalyan Village. The northern part of the wall was built during the Mausolos period. Those to the northwest are from the Hellenistic Period. The ones towards the harbor area from the Archaic Period. The theater is at the foot of the acropolis. There are 33 rows of seats. One of the buildings that remain to the west of the theater belongs to a basilica-type church. Others belong to the Roman Bath and Temple. Behind the structure, which is built in the form of an incomplete circle and has smooth columns, there is a podium raised by three steps. Here you can see the ruins of the temple. It is not known what the circular structure was.
Green-faced People from Kaunos
It is known that Dalyan and its surroundings were in danger of malaria until the late 1940s. With the mosquito control carried out in these years, malaria has come to an end. This means that Kaunos has suffered from malaria throughout its history. Although they do not accept it, this malaria must be the reason why the Caunos people are so 'green-faced that they call themselves 'sick'. We learn about this suffering and disapproval from a small story attributed to Stratonikos, one of the harp masters of the Hellenistic Age. When Stratonikos saw people with 'green skin' walking in the streets of Kaunos, "the lifespan of people was also equal to that of leaves." he stated his thoughts. When the people of the city complained that they were mocked, this time he complained: “…Should I have been so arrogant by calling this city sick when there were corpses walking around,…” (Strabo XIV, 651.3.).
Dalyan King Tombs
One of the structures you should see on your trip to Kaunos is the rock tombs on the big cliff next to the ancient city of Kaunos. The reason why the rock tombs built for people of high status were built so high was previously associated with their closeness to God. The rock tombs carved into the rocks are one of the most fascinating sights of Dalyan. Although it is not known how the carving on the hard rocks was made, the result is one of Dalyan's landmarks. The tombs were thought to be independent of the mountain and were set wide enough for people to walk around. It is estimated that the tomb on the far right of the rock tombs, which you pass by during the Dalyan boat tours, was left unfinished after the invasion of the Persians or Alexander the Great.
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