Dalyan Guide

Dalyan Caunos city


Dalyan caunos video

Caunus is situated on the western bank of the Dalyan (Calbis) River, which connects Lake Köycegiz to the Mediterranean. It lies within the present day boundaries of Candir Village which is opposite the town of Dalyan. Once a harbor city, the city of Caunus is today at quite a distance from the sea.

The city was founded upon a peninsula which extends towards the sea like a tongue, formed by the 152 m high acropolis hill and the 50 m high lesser acropolis to the southwest. During the Archaic and Early Classical Ages, the city was situated within the cavity between the fortification walls running over the ridges of the Acropolis and the lesser Acropolis and the fortification walls which extend behind the Fountain Building in the Agora.

The area occupied by the Stoa today must have been used for religious buildings from the beginning of the 5th century BC. The city obviously spread over the saddle connecting both the greater and the lesser acropolis to the Sivrihisar and Balýklar hills. This expansion occured, at the earliest during the Hecatomnid period. By then, the city of Caunus began to be built on terraces. In subsequent periods, while the earlier terraces were repaired, new larger terraces were also constructed. The natural flat areas upon which the Agora and the Stoa were built extends over a narrow band along the edge of the harbor.

Dalyan Caunos ancient city

Until the end of 1940s, Dalyan and the surrounding area was subject to malaria. The struggle with the mosquitoes during these years eradicated malaria in Dalyan. Dalyan suffered from malaria throughout its history. The reason why the people of Caunus had almost a "greenish complexion" enough to cause them to be described as "unhealty" was due to malaria. This pain and suffering is known from a story attributed to Stratonikos, a master of the harp during the Hellenistic Age: when Stratonikos saw the "green faced" people walking the streets of Caunus, he expressed his idea by remarking, "As are the generations of leaves, so are the generations of men". When the inhabitants of the city complained that they were insulted, he responded: "...how could I dare to call a city unhealthy, where even the dead men walk the streets?..."Strabon xiv, 651.3

Dalyan Caunos

Foundation story of Caunos

Do you like legends ? If you like, you will be upset, after hearing the legends that we will tell you.
The king of the Caria, Malletos, who is the son of Apollo had twices. The boy twice is given the name 'Caunos', and the name of the girl baby is 'Byblis'. The twice grew up together and they fell in love with eachother. Secret love reveal when they had a baby. The king was very raged and he expelled his son from the country.
After expulsion Caunos founded a city near the boundary of Lidya. The new city is opposite the town which called 'Dalyan' today.
What did happened to Byblis? This is the sad part of legend. The King humiliated Byblis and she didn`t bear the pain of leaving from her lover. She cried cried, her tear rivers dried. Eventually, she threw herself from a hill and died. According to legend, Dalyan Canals that remind labirents was formed by the tears of Byblis.

The Roman historian and poet Ovidius told the story differently.
Accoding to Azra Erhat who tell the story to us from Ovidus, legend about the foundation of Caunos is like this: Byblis fell in love with Caunos. Byblis wrote a letter to Caunos and told her feelings in her letter. Kaunos reaction was very dissappointing for her and he refused her with hate and anger. The Caunos didn`t want to see Byblis again and left the country with his friends. He came to Caunos and founded the city that called with his name.
As for Byblis, she wanted to die because of Caunos`s disappointing reaction to her love. She threw herself from a high hill but water fairies (Nympies) rescued her and reverted her to a river. The tears of Byblis formed the river and still that day, tears of her is splashing...
That is the sad foundation story of Caunos..

How to visit to Caunos:

If did you want the visit Caunos city, you have firstly crossing the river with by rowboat at the end of the Dalyan harbour, and after than about ten minutes walking to the city. Also, in Dalyan if you book a daily boot trip,you will be have a short time for visit the Caunos city.


The city used two harbors from the Archaic period until the middle of the Hellenistic Period. One of these harbors is to the southeast, called the Southern Harbor, the other is called the Inner Harbor to the northwest of the lesser acropolis. The Southern Harbor was in use from the foundation of the city and which, most probably due to silting ceased to function towards the end of the Hellenistic period. The inner Harbor, which could have been blocked in times of war by a chain across the harbor mouth,served the city until Caunos's latest period of habitation. With the danger of blockage to the mouth of the harbor, because of the silting process of alluvium deposited from the surrounding landscape, the Caunians kept their connection open to the sea via the Calbis(Dalyan) River which provided access to the city for merchant vessels.

Dalyan Caunos


The elevation of the limestone mass of the greater acropolis is 152 m. above the sea level. Its southern, southeastern and eastern faces are as steep, forming a rock wall, while its northwestern and western sides are quite precipitous. The path, which began on the slope to the east of the theater was the only access to the acropolis in antiquity and climbs to the highest terrace. The garrison building lining the north side of the terrace must have been constructed,together with the cistern cut into the rocky slope to the south, during the Middle Ages. The surviving remains showing the settlement and use of the acropolis during antiquity are mostly on the terraces extending from the area below the peak towards west. The remains of the wall constructed of large polygonal blocks, lying below the Byzantine terrace walls which are preserved up to the crenellations, and also the cistern lying to the east of the gate providing entrance to the terrace, are the traces of the earlier periods of the acropolis's use. The peak is a rather rocky hill descending with a discontinuous silhouette towards the west. The remains of a north-south oriented wall to the east and block cuttings at the north and south edges of the uppermost flat area, on which a survey triangulation point is located today, indicate the presence of a 15x35 m open-air sanctuary on this peak. This sanctuary was used for the cult ceremonies of Basileus Kaunios which were performed under the open sky.

The Theater

It was built on the western slope of the Acropolis with a seating capacity for 5000 spectators. The theater faces southwest according to the Anatolian architectural tradition of theater orientation (Fig. 6). Its plan follows the Hellenic tradition. Most of the mass of the theater rests upon the slope behind. Its orchestra has a horseshoe form and is on the same plane as the lowermost row of seats. The theater has a low stage building. The uncovered side entrances are It was built on the western slope of the Acropolis with a seating capacity for 5000 spectators. The theater faces southwest according to the Anatolian architectural tradition of theater orientation (Fig. 6). Its plan follows the Hellenic tradition. Most of the mass of the theater rests upon the slope behind. Its orchestra has a horseshoe form and is on the same plane as the lowermost row of seats. The theater has a low stage building. The uncovered side entrances are not perpendicular to the orchestra.

Dalyan Caunos

The auditorium (Theatron; Cavea) with a diameter of 75 m and rising at an angle of 27° is divided into nine segments of seats (Kerkides). Each segment has 33 rows of seats. These rows are divided into two sections with a horizontal passage (Diazoma) dividing the whole auditorium horizontally into two. Access to the orchestra is provided by two entrances, one, a side entrance (Parados) from the northwest and another, with steps cut into the bedrock from the southeast. The two vaulted passages opening directly on to the Diazoma are thus of a Roman character. The stage building (Skene) in front of the orchestra measures 38.5x10.40 m and was originally two-storeyed. However, its height never reached the uppermost level of the theater. The high platform (Proskenion) in front of the facade of the stage building facing the auditorium was used for performing plays and it was built in the Hellenic tradition, as it is parallel to the orchestra, with its wings parallel to the side entrances.

The Measuring Platform

This is a round building, consisting of only three steps, which was constructed before 150 BC . Its lower diameter is 15.8 m and its upper diameter is 13.75 m. Upon the surface of the elaborately carved and finished block of the uppermost step a geometrical network was formed by stone cutting of: 20 radials, 3 circles and 16 sectors.

The Domed Church

The church was built at a most significant point in the city, approximately at the center of the plain of the Palaestra, lying between the Roman bath house and the Theater. It is one of the earliest and best preserved examples of this type in Anatolia.

Palaestra Terrace

The flat area lying between the Measurement Platform and the Roman Bath conceals the earlier settlement layers which date from the Late Archaic period onwards. The most important among these earlier structures is a sacred precinct. The remains of its terrace walls, which were repaired several times, were discovered in the soundings excavations made around the church. The well, in front of the remains of the northwestern terrace wall and the remains of a wall found at the lowest level of the excavation suggest that this terrace area was widened and completely developed by 600 BC. A street paved with cobblestones, which was found at a quite level to the north of the area, ascends from east to west. This street, which was certainly constructed by the end of 3rd century BC, connected the city center to the ancient cemetery, including the rock-tombs. This street lost its function around 100 AD.

The Roman Bath

This bath house is one of the best preserved examples surviving from the Roman Imperial period. It was planned as two complexes, the Courtyard (Palaestra) and the Bath house, both on the same axis with a southwest-northeast orientation. The courtyard, only the foundations of which are preserved today, measures 56.80x31.40 m and was flanked by colonnades on three sides. Only the corresponding side galleries were divided into rooms.
The bath building, which measures 58.20x28.20 m, consists of large halls. The two warm halls (Tepidarium) and the two exercise halls (Ambulacrum) were on either side of the cold room (Frigidarium) and the sweating room (Laconicum) which form the middle axis. All these rooms are crowned by the hot room (Caldarium) to the southwest. Each of these halls were originally paved with thin marble slabs.

Caunos coins

The Temple Terrace

The temple was built during the second half of the 1st century BC, on an artificial terrace dominating the agora and the harbor. It has a northeast-southeast orientation and an in antis plan with exterior measurements of 9.60x6.78 m. The temple consists of a front space (Pronaos) containing two Doric columns between its side walls and an approximately square sacred room (Cella). The courtyard of the temple, which measures 30.50x35.00 m. was enclosed by a colonnaded gallery built of sandstone. This was originally coated with plaster and painted. According to the inscription on the cylindrical column drum at the western end of the Courtyard (Temenos), the temple was dedicated to Zeus Soteros. The apse to be seen lying to the southeast of this building, belonged to a three-naved church which was built in the 5th or 6th century AD.

The Baitylos,which was the symbol of the city, represented on the coins of Caunus until the middle of the Classical Period (Fig. 16), is a non-figurative representation of Basileus Kaunios, the god-king of Caunus. This stone had great significance in the religious life of the Caunians and this sacred stone was the underlying reason for the successive constructions on this spot: of the round structure, of the temple and even of the Christian church built upon this terrace.

The Sacred Precinct of Apollo

The lower rocky flat area to the west of the Terrace Temple must have been a sacred precinct for the local deity Basileus Kaunios from the beginning of the 4th century BC until the middle of the Roman period , as confirmed by the votive statue bases and stelai found here. Although Apollo is documented as the owner of this area during the Hellenistic Period,this local deity was in fact worshipped in the form of Apollo.

dalyan caunos

The Agora

This agora was, at the latest, established in the Hellenistic Period. Only a quarter of this area has been excavated today. In addition to the official buildings such as the monumental Fountain and the Stoa, excavations have shown that the Agora was embellished with many monuments, statues and groups of statues standing on carved stone bases of various forms, over the course centuries. None of these statues, which were cast from bronze, were recovered in the excavation. All of these statues were smelted down in the furnace, which was built to the right of the Monument of Licinius Murena, in Late Antiquity. The Monument of Gratitude, the Donation Monument, the Monument of Licinius Murena at the southeastern end and the Monument of Quintus Vedius Capito at the western end of the Agora, were the major statues that were erected in this harbor agora which shed light on the political history of the city.

The Stoa and The Shrine of Aphrodite Euploia

The "I" shaped, single-naved building which flanks the north side of Agora has a length of 96.82 m and a width of 8.20 m. Because of the absence of shops in its back wall, it is clearly a promenade Stoa. Built in the beginning of 3rd century BC, it would have been a single-storeyed building. The superstructure and the roof made from sandstone and were supported by 44 columns along the front of the stoa, which were carved from the same material. The columns, architrave and frieze blocks were originally painted. The floor was made of compacted soil and the entrance was only through the colonnaded facade facing the harbor. Side entrances were added later, probably during the Early Roman Period. The upper part of the back wall, built of marble courses was also constructed in this period, as the upper part of this wall was originally constructed with sun-dried mud bricks.

The remains of the foundations of a long rectangular building exposed beneath the floor of this Stoa must, in all probability, have belonged to a temple built for this same Goddess around the beginning the 4th century BC.

The Fountain Building

This building, the foundations of which measure 5.36x8.02 m., was built in the middle of the 3rd century BC: in front of a splendid terrace, it faces towards the Agora and there are two columns situated between the projecting side walls. Besides the traces of wear on the inner faces of the walls, on the floor slabs and on the parapet blocks, the stonemasons'marks related to the construction work and the two different spout cuttings on the back wall indicate that this fountain building served the Caunians through the centuries, with some changes in its plan, as a fountain house. The present state of the building belongs to its latest phase. In this phase, the water basin was enlarged by moving the parapet forwards and the water flowed through five, possibly lion-head, spouts mounted on the back wall. On both sides of the parapet there were two troughs in front and the women of Caunus would leave their jugs under the spouts, on this parapet, to be filled. The original building, which was used until the 1st century AD, had a parapet which was located further to the back, approximately in the middle. Then the basin was smaller and a shady, cool shelter was created in front of the basin. In this earlier fountain house the water flowed through a single spout on the middle axis of the back wall. The women of Caunus standing on the step in front of the parapet could fill their jugs by plunging them directly into the basin.

dalyan caunos

The Monopteros

This structure was built on the flat area in front of the northwestern foot of the lesser acropolis. It consists of two main sections: A round, 5.30 m. high superstructure supported by eight columns rising from an approximately square base (7.80x7.85 m. The round open space (cella) flanked by the columns can be accessed from all sides. The female statues unearthed during the excavation must have stood between these columns, while the lion statue, which today stands in the main square of the town of Köyceðiz would originally have stood on one of the corners of this square base. With these features this round structure can be understood to have served as a funerary monument and can be dated to the 1st century AD.



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