Kaunos was a city in Caria near the Mediterranean Sea. The archaeological site is now located near Dalyan in Muğla Province.
According to legend, it was founded by King Kaunos, the son of Miletos, the King of Caria - though its inhabitants apparently claimed they came from Crete. The city was captured by the Persians in the 6th century BC and it changed hands frequently during the Hellenistic era. The Romans incorporated the city into the province of Asia. In Late Antiquity, it was part of Lycia, with its bishop under the metropolitan of Myra. The region was conquered by the Turkish principality of Menteshe during the 13th century, apparently leading to the city being abandoned.
Kaunos was a harbor city by the Mediterranean coast. However the area silted up and it is now around 3 km from the coast. Its harbor has survived as a small lake Sülüklü Göl (“Leech Lake”). It was also by the river Kalbis (now Dalyan River), which flowed from a nearby lake. The city was formed around a harbor and two hills, each one functioning as an acropolis. The larger hill on the eastern side of the city has remains of Byzantine fortifications.
The archeological site has several well-preserved structures, including a Hellenistic theater, a Roman bath, and several temples. One of the city’s artificial terraces has remains of a large palestra near the Roman bath. A domed church, which has been dated to the 6th century, was built on its grounds. Several features of this well-preserved church have survived, including its templon - the screen separating the sanctuary from the rest of the church - and its ambo - the church’s pulpit. Its southern chapel also has a mosaic floor. There are remains of an agora and a large Roman civil basilica by the harbor. A basilica church was built within the civil basilica in the Early Byzantine era. Several Hellenistic tombs designed like temples were carved into the face of a cliff a short distance north of the city.
Section under construction
Acropolis and Domed-Church
Theater and harbor
Late Antique Domed Church
Templon and ambo of the Domed Church
Mosaic floor of side chapel of the Domed Church
Basilica Church in ruins of Civic Basilica