Continuing our Lycia series, let’s go check out the little-visited Sidyma.
To get there head towards Patara down the Xanthus valley, and keep your eyes peeled for the brown signs to Sidyma.
Sidyma (now known as the Turkish village of ‘Dodurga’) is one of those ancient sites, which abound in Turkey, where the historic ruins and remains are scattered throughout an Ottoman Turkish village.
The road dead-ends in a village square seen in above photo, which also has several wells, one of the stone well-head platforms of which served us as an excellent picnic site.
We visited in early December and can recommend such ‘off season’ visits.
The village was very quiet: it has no shop and the mosque has no imam – so there is no call to prayer.
There was a ramshackle ‘pensiyon’ either closed for winter or gone out of business altogether, none of the inhabitants we saw and asked seem to know which it was.
According to our guide book guide, Freely:
“There is some evidence that the site was inhabited as early as the classical period, but the first reference to the city in ancient sources is in the first century BC.
There is a single silver coin of Sidyma dating from the second century BC, when the city was a member of the Lycian League, but most of the surviving buildings and all of the inscriptions date from the Roman imperial era.”
He goes on to say that whilst “geographers continued to list Sidyma throughout the Byzantine period, only a single historical reference to the city survives from that period.”
And in case there are readers who aren’t sure exactly when all these ‘periods’ took place:
Classical period: 480 – 323 BC
Imperial Roman period: 27BC – 330AD
Byzantine period: 330AD – nearly fourteenth century.
So Sidyma was home to a Lycia overlaid with other cultural influences. One of which is not to be missed:
Apparently the village mosque was rebuilt in the 1970s using stone from the ruins. The above inscribed stone is incorporated into the back wall of the mosque and seems to have been the dedicatory stone from a temple.
It begins with the words “The Gods here” and goes on to list twelve deities including Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, Athena and Aphrodite.
We love it.
There’ll be more on Sidyma in the next article.