The impressive ancient Lycian ancient tombs in Dalyan are a major tourist highlight on the banks of the Dalyan River. In spite of its great interest and uniqueness, the site hasn’t yet become a very popular name except those familiar with the region. This place has remained untouched by the busy urban life and is well-known for its serene setting.

A Short History

The city of Kaunos is believed to be founded by the Carians around 8th and 9th century BC. It gradually came under Greek influence by 5th century BC and later on became a Roman center like many other ancient cities in the Asia Minor. The settlement lasted up to 7th century AD and this Anatolian city with a complex history was a major naval trade route. Over the centuries, the city came under several influences like the Persian Empire, the Athenian League, Caria, Sparta, Rhodes, Macedonia, Ptolemaic Egypt, Pontus and eventually the Roman Empire. Kaunos can be said as a place on the edge, with a setting of different cultural spheres through the ages.

Ancient Tombs in Dalyan “Rock-Cut Temple Tombs”

The temple tombs what we see today are the remnants of the Kaunos necropolis that once had over 170 rock-cut graves. The tombs mostly date back to mid 4th century BC and have influences of Anatolian, Greek and Persian elements. Although the tombs are inaccessible now, their imposing sight (seen best from across the Dalyan River or even sitting in a boat in this river) is a memorable one. You can see these sights depicted on covers of tourist guides, travel brochures and even in some TV documentaries.

The Temple Tombs at Kaunos are unique and located just outside the modern resort town of Dalyan. The Dalyan River separates the town from these ancient temple tombs. The site is at a short distance from Dalaman Airport and at a driving distance from major resort towns like Marmaris and Oludeniz. In spite of its vicinity with the popular destinations, the place is undisturbed and has an appealing natural setting. Cut high into a cliff-side over what was one of the entrances into the city’s ancient harbor, these rock-cut temple tombs are one of the most memorable sights in Turkey.

You can visit Mud Baths in Dalyan from Marmaris by joining these excursions.