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Pinara Ancient City / General İnfo / History

How to go?

The word ''Pinara'' which  means '' Round '' in Lycian language,  is the name of a Lycian city leaning against the Baba Dağ (Baba Mountain)  which is 40 km from Fethiye & close to another Lycian city ''Xantos.  The city has never been excavated before and it has been handed over to its fate. Although it was tried to protect by little efforts, it was seen that it had been plundered by grave thieves over the years.

In order to reach Pinara, you must turn to the D400 highway between Kaş and Fethiye. 2.5 km after passing the Minare Village, you will reach the ancient city of Pinara. Untill the last 1 km the road is an asphalt road, but the last 1 km is stabilized, soil and gravel. First you have to climb a little by car and then walk.

You pay a fee at the entrance to the ancient city or not, can be changed  belonging to your chance. Even though it was written that visitors have to pay at the entrance, it seems to be costly to keep a permanent attendant in terms of lack of visiting intensity. There is not much to worry about, because the graves and buildings are already looted by greedy grave robbers & by a well educated, nobble person Sir. Charles Fellows who were working for the sake of the love for history & humanity. This looting and abduction takes place in the 1840s. On the other hand, considering the approach of the Ottoman Empire to such places and especially the ancient buildings built using limestone were being used as lime quarries during those periods, I can't stop asking to myself if the English & german Arkeologists haven't taken the valuable historical monuments to the museums in Europe, would they still be in their places.

Pınara was founded by Lycian citizens who wanted to leave The Lycian city Xantus because of high popülation but did not want to get so far away. The location the chose seemed to be easy to defend because of leaning against the mountain. So, Pinara is a city founded by those who migrated from xantus. But in a short time it was develeoped, populated and enriched fastly that it could have the chance to have three votes in the parliament of the Lycian Union.

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After the city grew and flourished, they built rock-cut tombs to honor their leader who first established Pinara. After that, from the top of the mountain to down where the city is based, they made stone carved graves & transformed the vertical surface of the mountain into a necropolis (graveyard) which resembles an eagle's nest.

Now, it provides the most spectacular  ancient wiew in the region. Because it seems to be inaccessible from the distance, there are not as many visitors as other ancient cities have.

One of the most important ruins of the ancient city is the ancient theater of Pinara. The theater with a capacity of 3200 people consists of 27 seatin lines. Acropolis, Odeon, Agora and church buildings are other important buildings located in the city. On the steep slope of the Lower Acropolis there is a viewing terrace supported by a fortification wall.

The Odeon has an agora on the flat area in front of it. Even today, the water source, which exists in the  the lower acropolis, has been a source of life for the city and has had a great impact on its development.


In 334 BC Alexander the Great seized all the cities of the Lycian region with his Macedonian army one by one, and confiscated Pinara as well. The city of Pinara, which has noticed the destiny of other cities, surrenders without resisting.

After the death of Alexander the Great, as in all the Lycian region, the city became under the control of dynasties established by the generals who were the successors of Iskender. The Ptolemaic dynasty and the Antiochus dynasty. Then after a while, it becomes a part of the Kingdom of Pergamon. In 133 BC. When the city of Pergamum became a Roman city,  Pinara becomes a Roman city too.  

The ancient city of Pinara, lives its most splendid days on these dates.  major earthquake destroys the city some time, It is then repaired. As the historical process continues, the region is controlled by the Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Menteşe Principality and finally the Ottomans. The abandonment date begins in the 8th century AD when the influx of Arabs is intense.


When you follow the natural path after the entrance, you arrive in an area covered with trees that is slightly pitted and not visible to the sky. First you fell creepy a little, then you will see the cute  water supply. Then you notice a lot of monumental tombs carved on the rocky steep slope opposite the place you entered. This is the necropolis at the lower acropolis of the city. Although there is a cemetery, when you see the last resting places in the shade of centuries-old trees on the edge of the water source, you feel like saying ''I need to be buried here''. 

In the picture below you see a grave entrance and a preserved inscription inside it. When we entered the grave, there was a   stone cedar-like section where the body was left to rest. İt is also usual for Lycian graves.  in the Lycian rock tombs. Of course it was empty, but until it was robbed by grave robbers, the body of the dead which rested on the cedar for centuries long, that the fossilized backbone trace on the stone was still visible and scary.  Even though the eternal inhabitants of the necropolis believed in the mythological gods, pray for the dead whether you are religious or not.

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