Category: Ancient City
Ancient Lycian City
Kitanaura (Ancient Greek: Κιτάναυρα)] (or Kithanaura) was an ancient city in Lycia. Its ruins are located near Saraycık, a small village in the Kumluca district of Antalya Province, Turkey.
The history of the city is largely unknown because it was not mentioned by any ancient author. Only the ruins of the city give some information. The earliest phase of the city's walls dates to the Hellenistic period, with the last phase dating to the Byzantine period.
Because of the five churches which have been identified the city likely became more important with the spread of Christianity in Late Antiquity.
Outdoor Tracking Route
The ruins at Saraycık were first discovered in 1842 by Spratt and Forbes who suggested their identification as Apollonia or as Marmara. Later the same year, A. J.Schönborn examined the ruins and proposed their identification as Marmara based on thestatement by Diodoros. E. Krickl wrote down the following notes for Saraycık.
We climbed up to 1100 m. We settled in an empty house at Saraycık. We were surrounded on all sides with a magnificent view. The remains of cities with un- known names nearby do not give anything worthwhile to me and my inscription-craving friends
Sarcophagusses in Necropolis of Idebessos
O. Benndorf describes his Kitanaura-connected route he took in 1882 as follows: “
Saraycık must have been the junction of an important route coming from Limyra and reaching Adalya via the Alakır and Çandır valleys. Taking into consideration the dangers for the sea route the eastern storms create at Cape Gelidonya and around Phaselis, this route gains in importance.
The acropolis of Kitanaura was located on a hill extending in an east-west direction and surrounded by remains of structures to its south and west. The western and northern sides of the acropolis are covered by sheer rock cliffs, a less steeper rock slope is on southern side. Walls for the protection of the acropolis extended from the southwestern side to the eastern and northern side of the acropolis. They were 1.30 m thick and have been preserved to a height of 5 to 6 m at a few places.
Remains of a basilica are found in the southwestern corner of the acropolis. Another large basilica stood in the centre. A bath-gymnasium complex is the best remaining building. It lies at the foot of the southwestern entrance to the acropolis and consisted of a palaestra and six other sections. The quality of the construction and the size of the baths is striking for a medium-sized city in a relatively remote place in Lycia. With a size of 700 m2 the building is over twice the size of the central baths of Patara (315 m2) and the southern baths of Xanthos (295 m2), two of the largest cities in Lycia. The sizes of baths were influenced by both the population of a city and the number of occasional visitors from outside the city. The location of the baths at a crossroads of routes used by travellers suggests the baths served many temporary visitors.
The remains of a wall of huge irregular cut blocks that leads to the bath from the hill on the west side of the forest way is likely to belong to the aqueduct.
A road which runs from the south of the acropolis and then turns north, passing the acropolis to west, is flanked by necropoleis on both sides. A heroon is found south of the acropolis
The acropolis covers an area of 120 by 150 m in the southeast of the settlement, rising approximately 10 m above the city centre. The northern and western sides of the acropolis were protected with walls reinforced with three towers. The eastern and southern sides of the acropolis were naturally protected by steep rock faces and had a terrace wall. A heroon from the Roman period and a Byzantine church from the 5th or 6th century AD were built on the acropolis.
In the Byzantine period the acropolis was transformed to a castrum with stronger fortifications. It encircled the church and was constructed with building material partially reused from the structures of the Roman period. It must have been built in the 7th or 8th century AD, when the region was subject to increasing Arab raids as a consequence of the Arab–Byzantine wars.
The Greek theatre dates to the Hellenistic period. It was built into the northwestern slope of the acropolis hill and has been estimated to seat a maximum of 364 people. The bath-gymnasium complex was most likely built no later than the 2nd century AD and consists of seven separate units and a palaestra. The baths were supplied with water from a stream to the north of the city by a small canal. The northern church is the largest church of the settlement, measuring about 15.30 by 28.15 m and likely built in 5th or 6th century AD. A small triconch church is found south in the city, but is completely ruined. It was possibly built later than the two other churches. The necropolis counts 51 sarcophagi and four exedra-type tombs.