Hidden Gems

Explore ancient Pinara with Turkey sailing holidays

By Jenny Wilson
on  September 02, 2016

Discovering the ancient culture of the Lycians is one of the highlights of Turkey sailing holidays, with many cities to explore along the Turquoise Coast. Letoon and Xanthos are fairly well known, while the city of Pinara has far fewer mentions in the history books. This ancient city is well worth seeing, however, and offers visitors a unique perspective on Lycian culture and tradition.

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The name Pinara roughly translates as ‘something round’ and is likely to refer to the circular mountain on which much of the city was built. Pinara may not have been large but it was a politically significant town, being one of the ‘Big Six’ in ancient Lycia. It was originally designed to accommodate overspill from the overcrowded city of Xanthos and had more cultural impact than might be expected of a relatively small region.

In addition to the spectacular mountain views and pleasant olive groves, there are a number of fascinating architectural and archaeological sites to explore. The city possessed several temples dedicated to Greek gods, including Apollo, Athena and Aphrodite, and remains of these can be seen today, including unusual heart-shaped columns at Aphrodite’s temple. Like many cities in the region, Pinara had its own amphitheatre situated at the base of the mountain. Despite dating back almost 2,000 years, a significant portion of this is still clearly visible.

Lycia’s tombs were commonly carved into the side of cliffs, perhaps with the belief that those who lay closer to the sky would more easily find peace in the afterlife. Pinara possesses an absolutely breath-taking collection of rock-cut hollows in the side of the towering mountain. These were likely to have been for storing food in addition to the laying to rest of bodies. The sheer ingenuity required to have created this warren of caves is astounding.

Whilst you may not have heard of Pinara before, this beautiful city is one of the most stunning examples of ancient Lycia along the Turquoise Coast.

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