Lycian Rock Tombs – Fethiye, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Lycian Rock Tombs

Fethiye, Turkey

These tombs were built into the side of a mountain so that ancient angels could reach the dead. 

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Carved into the side of a Turkish mountain are what look to be the entrances to countless temples, but are in fact the ornate facade of ancient Lycian tombs.

The Lycians believed that their dead were carried to the afterlife by magic winged creatures and thus they placed their honored dead in geographically high places such as the cliffside. Dating back to the 4th century, many of the numerous entryways are adorned with tall Classical columns and intricate reliefs, a bit duller from centuries of weathering. The older tombs are often no more than unremarked holes dug into the rock.

Despite the external grandeur, the interior of the tombs are spare chambers cut into the rock with a simple monolith inside to display the body and the rooms, are otherwise empty from hundreds of years worth of looting.  

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