Our next stop is Kaş, which stands at the center of the dramatically beautiful Lycian Coast. In ancient times, it was known as Antiphellos and was a member of the Lycian League of cities. In the center of the town is a magnificent Lycian tomb decorated with lion's heads. There is also a Hellenistic temple and an exquisite small theater that looks out towards the Greek Island of Meis. The modern town has winding cobbled streets lined with traditional houses, attractive shops, and excellent restaurants.
From Kaş, we set out to visit the Xanthos Valley, the heartland of the Lycian realm. The Lycians first enter history as early as the 14th century B.C., when they appear in the records of the Egyptian, Hittite, and Ugaritic peoples. They were known at the time as the Luka or Lukki and it seems likely that they participated in the mass migrations and invasions that brought the Bronze Age to an end.
The three most important sites in the Xanthos Valley are Patara (which has one of Türkiye's finest beaches), Xanthos, and the Letoon. The latter is not a city, but a sacred precinct where the nymph Leto is supposed to have given birth to Artemis and Apollo. The site has three temples, one with a beautiful mosaic panel set in its floor. Nearby Xanthos was perhaps the most important of the Lycian cities. It has a splendid theatre, two agoras, several large Byzantine churches, and numerous impressive tombs. Sadly, most of the sculpture from the site is now in the British Museum.
We next set out to explore the region of bays, islands, and inlets known as Kekova, which is famous for its extraordinary sunken cities. Here one can look down into the drowned streets, houses, and churches of early Byzantine towns. The enchanting village of Simena, with its crenellated castle, stands on high promontory overlooking the dark blue waters of the Kekova Roads.