Explore The Turquoise Coast
Sidyma is the remotest of the area’s ancient cities – indeed, sited halfway up the ancient Mount Kragos (the modern coastal peak of Avlankara Tepesi), scarcely in the Xanthos valley at all. It’s a rewarding, understated site in a striking landscape astride the Lycian Way. Like most local sites, Sidyma was only “rediscovered” by Europeans during the mid-nineteenth century, and has never been properly excavated.
From Highway 400 take the turning marked for Eşen and “Sidyma, 13km”, just north of a side road for Kumlova and Letoön. Proceed 6km to a junction, and turn left (south); it’s just over 2km to the first buildings of Dodurga village, and another 3km to the road’s end in Dodurga’s Asar Mahallesi, where two mulberry trees flank the ruins of the agora and a Lycian Way metal signpost. Trekking southeast on the Lycian Way, it’s a day and a half’s march from Kabak to Sidyma, via Alınca.
Asar Mahallesi’s mosque occupies the site of the baths, and reuses pillars from the agora’s stoa. Indeed the principal charm of Sidyma is how ancient masonry crops up everywhere: incorporated into house corners, used as livestock troughs, sprouting incongruously in dooryards next to satellite dishes. An exceedingly ruined castle, garrisoned into Byzantine times, sits on a hill to the north; scattered in the fields to the east, and requiring some scrambling over walls to reach, lies the necropolis, comprising a variety of tomb types, though most have angular gabled roofs rather than the “Gothic” vaulted ones seen elsewhere. Near the centre of the agricultural plain is a group of remarkable, contiguous tombs: one has ceiling panels carved with rosettes and human faces, while the adjacent tomb sports a relief of Eros on its lid and Medusas at the ends (a motif repeated elsewhere). Another spectacular cluster, including a two-storeyed one, covers the low ridge beyond the fields. In the middle of the necropolis stands an enormous, fairly intact, square structure – probably a Roman imperial heroön or temple-tomb – with a walled-up doorway on the north side.