Hidden Gems

See fascinating Letoon when sailing in Turkey

By Jenny Wilson
on  February 26, 2016

If you are fascinated by archaeology, then sailing in Turkey presents some truly interesting opportunities. There are many ancient Lycian ruins to explore along the Turquoise Coast, with Letoon one of the most visited.

Explore ancient Turkey - Traditional sights

The site was a sanctuary dedicated to Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis and lover of the god Zeus. The legend goes that Zeus’s wife was so unimpressed by her husband’s affair that she cursed Leto to wander the lands, never able to find a place to rest. Leto arrived in Lycia but the locals refused to let her give her thirsty sons any fresh water; in revenge, she turned them all into frogs and settled down to make a home. She became revered across the region and temples were built to honour her name.

The remains of the temples built for Leto and her two sons are quite beautiful. In addition to elaborately-carved pillars, you can see a stunning mosaic. There is also a theatre, dating from around 2BC, which would have been used for outdoor performances and large religious celebrations.

One of Letoon’s most charming and unique aspects is its location on the rich and lush flood plains. As a result, many of the temple remains are surrounded by water, giving them an even more ethereal air.

It is also true that there are an amazing number of frogs here, adding a whimsical touch to the tale of Leto’s amphibian revenge on the unwelcoming local peasants.

A trip to Letoon can easily be paired with a visit to Xanthos to make a truly memorable excursion.

See a different side of Turkey - Take a sailing trip

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