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Lycia

The area surrounding the Bay of Pamphylia in the Western Mediterranean takes its name from the peoples who inhabited the area many years ago. An imaginary line proceding north from the Gulf to Fethiye (Ancient Telmessos) in the west delineates a boundary of the region known as Lycia.

There are several theories about the origin of the word Lycia. The most accepted theory is that it comes from the word “Lux” meaning light. Lycia would then be understood as the land of light. The fact that Apollo, known as the god of light, was believed to come from Lycia is one of the most convincing validations of this theory. In his Iliad, Homer writes that this god of guidance and revealer of mysteries was Lycian. The inhabitants of Lycia were known as the Lukkans. According to Herodotus, the Lukkans came to Lycia from Crete. Some also believe that these people were among the indigenous inhabitants of Anatolia.

There are no significant islands along the Anatolian shores of the Mediterranean. The geographic monotonony of this part of the Mediterranean coast changes abruptly as it reaches the shores of Lycia with its twisting shores and bays. The winding coastline of Lycia heralds the labyrinthine coasts of the Aegean.

Lycia can be separated into three regions: East Lycia, Central Lycia and West Lycia.

East Lycia

The main city is Phaselis with its three harbours. To the south of Phaselis is Olympos with its anchorage. Rhodiapolis is located east of the Bay of Finike, near today’s Kumluca. It was the legendary city of Opramoas in ancient times.