Saturday, July 6, 2024

Letoon

Letoon

Letoon, heading south from Fethiye will lead you to Letoon, an ancient sanctuary of Leto near the ancient city of Xanthos. According to mythology, Leto was Zeus’ lover and gave birth to Apollon and Artemis. However, jealous Hera was unimpressed and being the possessive goddess as she was commanded that Leto spend eternity wandering from country to country. To which Leto spent a lot of her time in Lycia and became a national deity. At the centre of Letoon’s ruins is composed of three temples standing next to each other. If you look from the left side the first one is for Apollon, then Artemis and then Leto. Apollon’s temple has some fine mosaic work showing a lyre, a bow and arrow and a floral centre. While Leto’s temple is now partially reconstructed. There is also an ornamental fountain, the distinctive nymphaeum that is alive with plant life, turtles and frogs. In folklore, the frogs are said to be shepherds that refused Leto to drink from the fountain and she punished them for their lack of hospitality. Originally there was a church built over the nymphaeum during the fourth century but Arab invaders had destroyed that in the seventh century, some of its foundations still remain if you look carefully for a stork mosaic. Towards the edge of this sanctuary, there is a well-preserved Hellenistic theatre adorned with stone comic relief masks.

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