Letoon Ancient City is an ancient Lycian settlement located near the Kumluova Village of the Seydikemer district of Muğla, at the 65th kilometer of the Fethiye-Kaş highway of Muğla. Lycian Civilization was one of the most important civilizations that left traces in Anatolia.
Letoon, one of the most important settlements of the Lycian Union, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988, together with the Xanthos Ancient City (Xanthos). The ancient cities of Xanthos and Letoon are important elements of the world heritage in terms of the archaeological values they contain. Stone inscriptions where the longest and most important texts in the Lycian language can be seen were removed from here.
It is actually a union formed by many small city-states that ruled in the region between Antalya and Muğla. It is more correct to call it the most democratic union of the ancient period.
Before the region began to be Hellenized in the 4th century BC, the region with temples devoted to local gods was transformed into a cult of worshiping Greek Leto and his children during the reign of King Arbinas.
Located 4 kilometers from the UNESCO Heritage Xanthos Ancient City, Letoon Ancient City is discovered by the British Navy lieutenant Rd Hoskyn on board the Beacon Ship.
The city of Letoon, which was the religious center of Lycia in ancient times, has a church-monastery complex, a fountain, entrance gate and holy road, a portico surrounding the sanctuary, and the ruins of a theater dating to the Hellenistic period, together with the temples of Leto, Apollo and Artemis. .
There are three important temples built side by side in the ancient city of Letoon, which is an important center in terms of religion and politics. There is a fountain in the southwest and a church in the east of these three temples, which are dedicated to Apollo, the southernmost part of the city, to Artemis in the middle, and to Leto, the northernmost.
The Temple of Leto, the largest temple dedicated to Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo, is located in the west of the ancient city. There is a legend that dignified the altar:
Being pregnant with God Zeus and escaping from the wrath of Goddess Hera, Leto leaves Delos Island with her newborn babies Artemis and Apollo and takes refuge in Lycia. He was expelled by the villagers from the water source where he wanted to bathe their children. Enraged, Leto turns the villagers into frogs.
From the 7th century BC, an altar was built around a sacred source and dedicated to the water nymphs known as 'Elyana' in the Lycian language.
The inscription written in Greek, Aramaic and Lycian languages, which was found around the temple in 1973 and thought to belong to the 4th century BC, is on display at the Fethiye Museum. The inscription found shows that the altar, which was the national sanctuary of Lycia in Ancient times, turned into an area where official documents were placed in time.
To the east of Leto Temple is the Temple of Apollo, built in the Doric style. The arrow and quiver of Artemis and the lyre of Apollo are depicted on the mosaic from the Hellenistic period of the temple.
According to the known history, Letoon, which was abandoned in the 7th century AD, is also a part of the Lycian Way walking route starting from Fethiye and extending to Antalya.
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