Letoon Ancient City
The Sacred land of Lcycian Civilisation / The Home of Leto Myth
Letoon is an ancient city which does not occupy a very large area within the borders of Kumluova town of Fethiye District. Letoon, which is a city of Lycian civilization, is known as the religious center of the union. It is about 6 km away from the ancient city of Xanthos in Kınık which is Town of ''Kaş'' of Antalya district. The distance to the ancient city of Patara is 24 km. The distance to the town of Kaş is 51 km.
Myth Of Letoon / Land of Leto, Artemis & Apollo;
The legend of Letoon is based on a legend told by the poet Ovidius. According to his epic, Goddess Leto, who got pregnant from Zeus known as ''The God of Gods'', gave birth to two other Greek mythological Gods, Artemis and Apollo in Delos. They are generally depicted as Greek mythological gods in Greek pantheon. But, in fact, these two Gods are completely unique to the Anatolian nations or tribes, and these peoples, like the Lycians, the Trojans, the Lydians, the Figians, had no similarity with the ancient Greek people. Only the mythologies and spiritual systems of both (Anatolian and Ionic Peoples) have been influenced and intertwined with each other because they live in contact with elbows in an area to be counted in the same geography for those days. In general, Artemis is the transferred name of the Anatolian Mother Goddess which is in the Hittites '' Kubaba '' in the Phrygians '' Cybele ''. These names than changed into ''Artemis'' with the influence of Greek mythology. In the epic inscription ''Iliad'' of Homer, Artemis and Apollo are portrayed while fighting against Greeks as allies of Anatolian people in Troja war.
Leto, tired of the unfaithfullness of Zeus (Zeus, the God of Gods, as mentioned in ancient Greek mythology, can not resist anybody from other sex if there is a chance to have sex. No matter if she is mortal or immortal, married or single. For this reason nearly half of the ancient gods or semi-gods in ancient greek mythology are illegitimate sons or daughters of him) She walks up and down by the xantus river till she reaches to the source of water where there is the temple of Leto today. her purpose was to escape from the wrath of ''Hera'' the wife of Zeus. Goddess Leto who wants to wash her children in the water spring is resisted by the locals, so she turns the local people into frogs with magic as a penalty of not giving permission. The foundation of Letoon is based on this mythology.
Letoon is one of the most important centers of Anatolian Artemis and Apollo cults and hosts one of the most important temples built in the name of Artemis.
Letoon, which is connected to Xanthos, one of the most important cities of the Lycian region, is surrounded by colonnaded galleries to the north and west of the sanctuary. There are three temples built in the Hellenistic period. In the West, there is a temple in Ionic style which was dedicated to the goddess Leto, who was the chief god of the sanctuary and the mother of Artemis & Apollo. Next to it there is a smaller temple built in Ion style again that was dedicated to Leto's daughter, Goddess Artemis. what is at the east of the sanctuary is the Temple of Apollo, which is larger than the temple of Artemis & in Doric style. Since it was built from limestone and marble in the early Byzantine period, the temple was destroyed due to the fact that it was used as a lime quarry and only the foundations of the temple remained. therefore, the information about the exact shape of the temple is limited. In the region, traces of temple and settlement belonging to the early stages were found.
As a result of excavations at the base of temple, a mosaic dating to the middle of the 2nd century was found. It is thought that this structure was dedicated to Apollo because the motifs used in the mosaics were roses, arrows and bows that were known as usual equipments of God Apollo.
In the determination of the cult of the temple, the mosaic has been sufficiently enlightening. The fact that the sanctuary was dedicated to God Leto and temples built on behalf of his children, Artemis and Apollo, shows that all three are worshiped together. The inscriptions found in the sacred area also gave an idea to determine which gods the temples were dedicated to.
The mosaic panel, located in the middle of the Temple of Apollo and known as the Mosaic of Apollo, was removed by the excavation team and moved to Fethiye Museum Directorate due to the fact that it was open to natural destruction in the excavation area and is exhibited today in the museum. The one in the ancient sitye today is a reproduction.Also a trilingual inscription, which is found near the Apollon Temple is exhibited in the Fethiye museum today. The inscription written in Lycian, Aramic and Greek played a major role in the resolution of the Lycian language.
Along with the temples of Leto, Apollo and Artemis in the ancient area of Letoon, there is a monastery, a fountain and the ruins of the Roman Theater. The monumental entrance of the Roman theater which was remained intact is very interesting and influencive.