The beautiful site of Pinara was one of the three major cities in the Xanthos
valley and one of the six principal cities of Lycia. Settlement at Pinara
existed as early as the 5th century BC. It was probably founded as an extension
of the overpopulated Xanthos.
There is no other Lycian site quite like Pinara with its untouched, gorgeous
mountain setting of fragrant pines, two thousand year-old olive trees, many
wildflowers and herbs and its stunning view of the Xanthos valley.
Because of its remoteness, Pinara remains undiscovered by most people and so
retains its tranquil and (truly) mystical atmosphere. The city sits perched high
on a mountain reached by a twisting track road and gives one an unparalled
eastern view far across the Xanthos valley. It is towered over by a more than
two thousand foot high flat-topped mountain cone honeycombed with hundreds of
rectangular burial tombs on its vertical east face. This round cone is the
acropolis of Pinara and from this the city received its name, "Pinara" meaning "round"
in the Lycian language. Below the acropolis spreads the city, stretching over
long terraces which extend in three directions.
Pinara was once a religious center dedicated to Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite,
and is also believed to have been some sort of phallic worship site - evidence
of which can be seen on a very interesting carving.
Features of Pinara include:
Temples - The remains of several temples can be seen. Aphrodite's temple has
unusual heart-shaped columns.
Tombs - Many large tombs exist within Pinara, mostly temple-type and free-standing
sarcophagi - including one of the largest sarcophagi in Lycia. The most
fascinating tomb is the "King's Tomb", built for an important ruler and
featuring very detailed reliefs depicting scenes of walled cities.
Amphitheatre - A Greek-style theatre at the base of the city from which one gets
a rather nice view of the ruins above.