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The Roman baths (thermae) of Arykanda
|Location||Aykiriçay, Antalya Province, Turkey|
Arykanda or Arycanda is an ancient Lycian city, built upon five large terraces ascending a mountain slope, located near the small village of Aykiriçay, on the Elmalı-Finike road in Antalya Province in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey.
Arycanda is known to be one of the old Lycian cities, as its name ends with -anda, indicative of its Anatolian origin; dating back as far as the 2nd millennium BC. On the other hand, the oldest remains and finds from the city date from the 6th or 5th century BCE. The site is being excavated and restored by an Ankara University team headed by Prof. Dr. Cevdet Bayburtluoglu since 1971.
Gods and goddesses known to have been worshipped here are:
Arycanda survived through Byzantine times, until the 6th century when the settlement moved to a new site south of the modern road which is called Arif Settlement in archaeological literature so that it will not mix up with the older site.
Since it was in the Roman province of Lycia, the bishopric of Arneae was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Myra, the province's capital. The Second Council of Nicaea (787) were signed on behalf of the absent bishop of Arycanda by his deacon Petrus. Another bishop of Arycanda, Theodorus, took part in the Photian Council of Constantinople (879).
Acropolis houses Hellenistic and older remains of the site which include the temple of Helios, bouleterion, prytaneion, upper agora withs its shops, and several excavated houses. The lower city houses most of the Roman remains. These include:
- A bath complex on the lowest terrace, still virtually intact in its sequence of arches, next to the gymnasium. The city has 7 different bath houses of various sizes.
- Lower Agora, some of the shops in its eastern part can still be seen. It is wide and flat, located to the south of the odeon and was enclosed on three sides by a portico. At its middle are the remains of Tyche Temple.
- A theatre, in excellent condition, built during the 1st century BCE. It has 20 rows of seats, divided into 7 sections. At the edge of every row are holes that were used to support protective awnings.
- Odeon - 2nd century AD. The main entrance is to the south, though a triple portal. This was once a very ornate building, the interior was lined with orthostats and the walls, orchestra and seats were once covered with coloured marble. A block that was discovered (and now housed in Antalya Archaeological Museum) during the excavations over the portal bears a portrait of the Emperor Hadrian.
- A stadium, from the Hellenistic period, that resides above the theatre, in the form of a running track with seats built only on one side. It is smaller than a usual stadium, measuring 106 m. long and 17 m. wide.
- Two necropoleis. The one on the entrance to the site is very interesting with its series of richly decorated funerary monuments. The eastern necropolis has barrel-vaulted monumental tombs, temple-tombs and sarcophagi and the western necropolis has rock-cut tombs and barrel-vaulted tombs.
Grave decorated with a gorgon head
- Whiting, Dominic (2000-04-01). Turkey Handbook: The Travel Guide. Footprint Handbooks. p. 365. ISBN 1-900949-85-7.
- Harrison, Martin (2001-09-05). Mountain and Plain: From the Lycian Coast to the Phrygian Plateau in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Period. p39. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-11084-5.
- Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 993-994
- Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 450
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 838
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