Swept Away HR46 at anchor Second Wind at anchor Northern Exposure at anchor

Homer mentions the Lycian people in the Iliad, in a reference to a battle involving Troy. This civilization's origins are uncertain, but they probably came from Crete about 1400 BC. They had their own language, which looks a little like ancient Greek but isn't completely translated yet. A matrilineal society (lineage passed from mother to daughter), they lived in city-states connected by the Lycian Federation, a sort of ancient United Nations.

The most striking remains of the Lycian civilization are the majestic tombs they left behind. Above, there are two examples of Lycian tombs. The fourth-century BC rock tombs, carved into the sheer cliffs of Turkey's south coast, probably were for noblemen. Ionic columns, pediments and decorations were carved into the cliff. Inside, there was a bench for the body of the deceased.

The other photo, at right, is of sixth-century BC tombs at Xanthos. These people were so independent that on two occasions in their history, faced with a defeat to an enemy, the soldiers set fire to their houses, killing their families, and fought to the death. The first time this occurred at the hands of the Persians, the second time to the Romans. The Roman leader Brutus is said to have watched—and wept.


The south coast of Turkey is also the home of Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus (before he moved to the North Pole, of course.) This seventh-century Byzantine church is on Saint Nicholas Island, near Patara, the place of his birth. The Turks call him Noel Baba.

Saint Nicholas was born in 270 AD and became a bishop in the fourth century. It is said that he brought three murdered boys back to life and converted the innkeeper who had done the deed. For a poor family with no dowries for the unmarried daughters, he dropped packets of gold down the chimney. The packets fell into stockings drying by the fire.

In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church eliminated his feast day and took away his sainthood.


Marmaris is a resort town and the largest boating center in Turkey. In 1522, Suleiman the Magnificent used the harbor town as the military base for his successful campaign against the Knights of Saint John in Greece's Rhodes. This fortress, now a museum, was built for that campaign.

There's a legend that the castle/fortress was built without Suleiman's oversight. When he arrived from Rhodes, he expressed his displeasure with the phrase, "Mimar as!" (which translates to "kill the architect!") and that's how the town got its name.