Limyra (Lycia) 12 Yuvalılar - Λίμυρα

Λίμυρα - Limyra, polis in Lycia (SW Turkey)
polis

Modern description Princeton Encyclopedia

To the NE of Finike. It developed out of an old Lycian dynastic seat. A fortress, in part well preserved, stands on a spur (318 m high) of the Tocak-Dagi (1216 m high). Numismatic evidence shows that the citadel, with the epichoric-Lycian name of Zemu(ri), existed in the 5th c. B.C.
In the first half of the 4th c. the Lycian king Perikles, whose likeness is known from coins, resided here. He had his tomb built in the middle of the S wall of the lower citadel, which stands at 218 m on a terrace cut into the cliffs. Inspiration for the heroon came from the Porch of the Maidens of the Erechtheion, which stands over the grave of the attic king Kekrops in Athens, and the Nereid monument in Xanthos. The foundations included a burial chamber; above them rose a structure with the form of an Ionic temple of amphiprostyle design. Instead of columns there are caryatids, two of which have been re-erected and are now to be seen inside a protecting repository on the N side of the terrace. There also are blocks from a frieze which decorated the walls of the cella. It shows King Perikles setting out in his war chariot followed by a mounted guard and foot soldiers.
The gables were decorated with figurative acroteria. Only the theme of the N acroterion (Perseus and Medusa) can be reconstructed. All the fragments of the acroteria are now in the archaeological museum of Antalya.
The economic basis of the city was in the rich alluvial land stretching between the Kara-Cay and Alakir-Cay. The modern Finike developed from the old port for Limyra.
The wealth and power of the Lycian king Perikles are documented in the four large necropoleis. Ten tombs decorated with reliefs have been found to date. A third of all epichoric-Lycian funerary inscriptions are to be found in this city, the farthest E of the area occupied by Lycian culture. In necropolis IV an inscription has been found in Aramaic, the chancellery script of the Persian empire. To the E of the theater, some 20 m to the other side of the road, stands the tomb of Xntabura, which was built ca. 350 B.C. Three sides of the hyposorion, which takes the form of a Lycian tomb-niche with a flat roof, are decorated with reliefs. On the W side, the deceased stands before the judges of the other world; on the S side, a priest sacrifices a bull. The badly damaged relief of the N side shows a trip by chariot. The sarcophagus is decorated with an Ionic Cyma. On the gables crouch eagles guarding the tomb. Sphinxes with wings, and a statuette of a horseman, once stood on the roof of the tomb. The gable of another sarcophagus, decorated with reliefs of gorgons, hunting scenes, and a bull sacrifice, and dating from the same period, is to be found in the museum of Antalya.
It is in necropolis II to the W of the pyramidal mountain of the citadel that the greatest number of cliff tombs decorated with reliefs are to be found. Most noteworthy is the tomb of Tebursseli, running around the top of which is a relief showing battle scenes which are explained by accompanying inscriptions in Lycian. Tebursseli is shown fighting back to back with King Perikles against Arttumpara, a dynast who ruled in the Xanthos valley, and against Arttumpara's soldiers. A well-preserved relief showing a single combat decorates the cliff tomb of the wet nurse of the later dynast Trbbenimi of Limyra. To the W of the theater are numerous cliff terraces with houses, and cult-niches served for the worship of the twelve Lycian gods.
In Hellenistic-Roman times the original peasant settlement at the foot of the eminence on which the citadel stood began to take on the features of a city. Numerous ruins have been found on either side of the river Limyros. Recognizable are the E city gate and beneath a late Byzantine castle in the W city, the stylobate of a temple.
Near the S wall of the W city is the core of a tower-like structure which was a cenotaph for Gaius Caesar, adopted son of Augustus, who landed in Finike on his way back to Rome from Syria and died in Limyra in A.D. 4.
Following an earthquake in A.D. 141 the theater was completely reconstructed at considerable expense by the Lyciarch Opramoas. An impressive bridge 400 m long led in Roman times across the Alakir-Cay to the E.
From the Byzantine period there remain of the diocesan city of Limyra a ruined church in the lower citadel and the palace and church of the bishop inside the E city. (J. BORCHHARDT)

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