Barely Visited Roman City

If you are ever headed inland from the Turkish Mediterranean, bound for Aphrodisias, Pamukkale and the Meander Valley, be sure to find time for Kibyra.  It comes as a complete surprise to find a city of such scale in what feels like total back-country on the indistinct borders of ancient Lycia, Pisidia and Phrygia.  This is hilly farming land, apparently well-watered, but hardly bestriding routes of any conceivable significance.  It is hard to understand precisely the reasons for raising a city here – one with so much to commend it for today’s visitor.

Kibyra Odeon Medusa Mosaic

Recent excavations have revealed wonderful mosaic pavements; cemeteries with scores of intact clay coffins; beautifully preserved fountains with extensive pipework; a huge theatre; and one of the best-preserved stadia in all Anatolia.

But Kibyra’s stand-out attraction is its odeon, or auditorium.  Fronted by those fine mosaic pavements, with splendid views over the valley (where stands the modern town of Gölhısar), this grand structure houses an orchestra floored by a stunning opus sectile mosaic of Medusa in rich vermillions and greys.  It’s a wonderful thing, in almost perfect condition, and must on no account be missed.

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