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Lycian necropolis and theatre in Myra

On the northern outskirts of Myra, at the foot of the low range of the Taurus Mountains, there remained a remarkable monument dating back to VI century B.C. – a Lycian necropolis, hollowed out in the steep side of the rock.

These tombs have survived absolutely intact after so much time, since they were not of interest as a building material. Most of the ancient monuments have not survived to this day precisely for this reason – new civilizations used temples and monuments of former civilizations as a source of building materials. The tomb in the rock can be plundered, but nothing more can be carried away.

There are two types of Lycian necropolises: tombs hollowed out in the rocks or sarcophagi with boat-shaped covers. The necropolis of Myra is perhaps the largest one among necropolises of such type in Turkey. Some tombs have the shape of houses, very similar to those in which the Lycians lived during their lifetime. There remained bas-reliefs and undeciphered signs on some of them.

Each of these tombs has a foundation in the form of a square and several relief columns adorning the entrance. The main part of the tomb, a small burial chamber protected by large stone slabs, is above them. The front side of the tomb is decorated with carvings imitating the roof of a house. The tombs themselves consist of one or two chambers in which the dead are buried on a stone podium.

A Roman amphitheater, which was built in III-IV century, is near the necropolis. It could accommodate more than 10 thousand spectators. As all other Roman amphitheaters, it was used both for theatrical performances and gladiatorial fights.