Lycian Mountain Graves

by M-Rebeiro

Lycian tombs differ from traditional Hellenic tombs because they are integrated right into the city, whereas in Hellenistic culture tombs were placed outside liveable areas.

In the ancient town of Myra, Lycia (modern-day Turkey) it was widely believed that burying the dead high up would hasten their passage to the heavens.

There are two significant necropoles of rock-cut tombs in Myra, carved directly into the vertical cliff faces. The first is the ocean-necropolis, located nearly adjacent to a large theater.

The river-necropolis, which is located around a mile up the Demre Cayi river, contains what is perhaps the most famous tomb of the area. It is known alternatively as the “Painted Tomb” or the “Lion’s tomb” which even when discovered thousands of years later in 1840 was still brightly painted red, yellow and blue.

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