The ancient city of Letoon, located on the Fethiye – Kaş highway, is an ancient city considered sacred by the Lycians, whose first settlements are estimated to have been established in the 7th century BC.
The Letoon temple in Turkey is the largest temple built in the name of Leto, who, according to legend, got pregnant by Zeus and is considered the mother of Artemis and Apollo, the gods of the Lycian civilization.
Table of Contents
- The sacred city of Lycia: Letoon Ancient City
- Places to Visit Around Letoon Ancient City
- Frequently Asking Questions About Letoon Ancient City
The sacred city of Lycia: Letoon Ancient City
The ancient city of Letoon, which is estimated to have been founded in the seventh century BC, was a religious center for the Lycian people in Antiquity.
In this sacred area, there are the temples of Leto, Apollon, and Artemis and three sacred historical monuments.
Letoon ancient city facts
The Letoon temple, located in the westernmost part of the city, was built in the Peripteros style and is well preserved. The Temple of Apollo, located in the east, was built in the Doric style and is partially in worse condition than the Letoon temple, but it is constantly maintained. The temple of Artemis, located between the temple of Letoon and Apollo, is the smallest.
There is a fountain in the southwest of the temples and a church in the east. On the slope behind the ancient city of Letoon, a large ancient theater has been preserved until today.
Also around this temple BC. There is an inscription written in Greek, Aramaic, and Lycian languages, which is estimated to have been made in the 4th century. This inscription is exhibited in Fethiye Museum.
The origin of the Letoon legend is the Roman poet Ovidius. According to the myth of Ovid, the goddess Leto, who became pregnant by the god Zeus, gave birth to twin children, Apollon and Artemis, on an island in the Aegean Sea.
Hera, the wife of Zeus, is very angry at this situation. Leto, who escaped the wrath of the goddess Hera, fled to Anatolia and settled in today’s Fethiye region of Turkey.
Today, when he reaches the point where the ancient city of Letoon is located, he wants to wash his children in the water, but the local people do not want Leto and his children here because they are afraid of the goddess Hera and are expelled. In this situation, Leto gets very angry and turns the local people into frogs.
Later, the Lycian people considered this place sacred and built the present-day Letoon ancient city. You can see the latest sanctuary place photos below.
Letoon Ancient City History
This old city has been occupied by the states of Persia, Caria, Ancient Greece, and Rome throughout history. Roman emperor Hadrian declared the holy city of Letoon a cultural center in his name.
There are three temples from the Hellenistic period in the ancient city of Letoon. Letoon temple in the west, Apollon temple in the east, and Artemis temple between these two temples.
The ancient theater in the holy city of Letoon was built on the road coming from the ancient city of Xanthos, and it is intended for those who come from this road to visit the sanctuary.
In addition, there is a semicircular pool built by the Romans in the ancient city, a church built by Byzantium, and cemeteries on the theater. Archaeological excavations have not yet been carried out in some parts of the holy city.
The ancient city of Letoon was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List with the sequence number 484 on 09.12.1988. Xanthos Letoon ancient cities are one of the most significant places in the area.
Letoon Ancient City Entrance Fee
Letoon ancient city entrance fee is 50 Turkish Liras per person. If you have a museum pass card, admission is free.
Letoon Ancient City Opening and Closing Hours
Letoon Ancient City entrance times differ in summer and winter periods. The summer period is from April 1 to October 1 and visiting hours are from 08:30 to 19:30. The winter period is between 1 October and 1 April and the working hours are 08:30 – 17:30.
How to Get to Letoon Ancient City?
The ancient city of Letoon, located in the Kumluova neighborhood of the Seydikemer district of Muğla city in Turkey, is 500 meters from the center of Kumluova.
The ancient city of Letoon, located on the Kas – Fethiye highway, is 50 km from Kas and takes 55 minutes due to the winding roads. It is 62 km from Fethiye and takes about 56 minutes.
Unfortunately, there is no public transport to the ancient city of Letoon. You have to go by taxi or your personal car. If you are on holiday in Fethiye, Kas, or Kalkan, you can contact local tour companies and join Letoon ancient city tours.
Don’t forget to visit Xanthos Ancient City, located 6km north on the Letoon road.
Also, the ancient city of Letoon is located on the Lycian walking route. The Lycian way is long and there is always the risk of getting lost. If you are thinking of walking the Lycian way, you should definitely consider getting support from a professional. If you want to evaluate the eight-day Lycian walking path, you can take a look here.
Places to Visit Around Letoon Ancient City
The ancient city of Letoon is between Fethiye and Kaş and there are many ancient cities and touristic areas to visit in this region.
Xanthos Ancient City is only 10 minutes away from Letoon city, Patara Ancient City and Patara beach are 26 minutes away, Kaputas beach is 33 minutes away, Kalkan is 34 minutes away, Saklıkent Canyon is 39 minutes away, Kaş is 55 minutes away and Fethiye is 56 minutes away.
DO NOT MISS THESE AMAZING ATTRACTIONS if you are in LETOON FETHIYE
- Fethiye paragliding reviews
- Oludeniz to Pamukkale tour (Also read my Hierapolis Pamukkale Guide)
- Jeep safari Saklikent Canyon reviews (Also read my Fethiye things to do blog post)
- Demre myra kekova tour reviews (Also read my own Kekova boat trip experience)
Bonus: Letoon ancient city video;
Frequently Asking Questions About Letoon Ancient City
Here I gathered up top asked questions about Letoon ancient city. If you have any questions, please feel free to share.
Where is the Letoon ancient city?
The ancient city of Letoon is in the Seydikemer region of Muğla, Turkey. Located between Fethiye and Kaş, this region is 55 minutes from Kaş and 56 minutes from Fethiye.
What is in the ancient city of Letoon?
In the ancient city of Letoon, there are three temples built for the goddess Leto and her children Apollo and Artemis. There is also an arena and a church built during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Why is the ancient city of Letoon considered sacred?
The goddess Leto, who became pregnant by Zeus, fled to the region where the city of Letoon is located today, fearing the wrath of Zeus’ wife Hera. The Lycian people fear the wrath of the goddess Hera and expel Leto. Enraged by this situation, the goddess Leto turns the people of the region into frogs. After this event, the Lycians considered this region sacred and built the Letoon Sanctuary in this region.
Is it worth going to the Letoon sanctuary?
Definitely yes. This sanctuary was built in the 7th century BC. Also, if you are interested in ancient cities, there is the ancient city of Xanthos and the ancient city of Patara, very close. You can visit these 3 ancient sites in one day.
How much is the entrance to Letoon?
The entrance to the Letoon sanctuary is 50 Turkish Liras. If you have a museum pass, admission is free.
What are the opening and closing times of the ancient city of Letoon?
The ancient city of Letoon accepts visitors between 08:30 in the morning and 19:30 in the evening between April 1 and October 1 and between 08:30 in the morning and 17:30 in the evening between October 1 and April 1.