Kanytelis was an inland town of ancient Cilicia, built in the Hellenistic period around a giant karstic sinkhole, around 70 m deep and 160 m across. Today, its ruins are located in a rural area near the town of Erdemli (about 55 km west of Mersin) in Turkey’s rugged eastern Mediterranean coastline. Archaeological highlights include the Hellenistic Tower of Zeus Olbios, the Armaronxas Family Relief, the Papylos Basilica, the Aba mausoleum, and the Çanakçı rock tombs. Many of the best-preserved buildings are the three-aisled basilicas built by Theodosius II (r. AD 402-450) when the town became a Christian religious centre and was renamed Neapolis.

Coordinates: 36°31’31.2″N 34°10’44.0″E


The Hellenistic tower dedicated to Zeus Olbios on behalf of the Olbian priest king Teukros, son of Tarkyares in about 200 BC.
The three-storied Hellenistic tower was built entirely of polygonal masonry. It stands on the southern edge of the sinkhole and was used as a dwelling until early Byzantine times.
The three-nave Basilica A, with its well-preserved outer walls, stands west of the Hellenistic tower.
The only surviving nave of Basilica A.
The Armaronxas Family Relief is a portrait of a family of six (the father and mother sitting next to their four children) carved into the face of the cliff of the sinkhole in the 1st century BC. A badly eroded five-lined inscription records the name of the Armaronxas family.
One of the cisterns that supplied the city with water.
Presses for the production of olive oil.
The three-columned tomb in the north necropolis, built in 3rd or 4th century AD.
The Aba mausoleum is a temple-tomb built in the second half of the 2nd century AD by a noble woman named Aba for her husband and her two sons who were probably victims of the plague.
The burial chamber of the Aba mausoleum bears an inscription mentioning the name of the city of Kanytelis.
A sarcophagus in the north acropolis.
A sarcophagus in the north acropolis.
The three-nave Papylos Basilica (Basilica D) is the most recent in date (end of the 5th century AD) and is located on the northern edge of the sinkhole.
The approximately 22-metre-long church Papylos Basilica was richly decorated with frescoes.
The Papylos Basilica (Basilica D).
The Çanakçı rock tombs lies 300 m left of the sinkhole. It contains a few sarcophagi and nine chamber tombs carved into a cliff. Some of these chambers have figures carved in relief above their doors, unquestionably belonging to the deceased.
The Çanakçı rock tombs: a man reclining on a couch (left) and a soldier holding a lance (right).
The Çanakçı rock tombs were carved in around 2nd century AD. Each tomb has a rectangular opening.
The Çanakçı rock tombs: a woman, a man and a soldier holding a battle-axe.

Source: Silifke (Seleucia on Calycadnus ) and Environs: Lost Cities of a Distant Past in Cilicia by Celal Taşkıran (Sim Matbaasi, 1993)


Selinus is an ancient city located in the district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey, 180 km east of the city of Antalya. The history of Selinus goes back to the 6th century BC. Assyrian sources tell us that the city was originally called “Sallune” and was connected by a maritime trade route with the island of Cyprus. Selinus is best known for being the place of death of the Roman Emperor Trajan.

Coordinates: 36°15’40.3″N 32°17’04.2″E

The ancient city of Selinus was established on the River Kestros (today called Hacımusa) in 628 BC, probably by Phoenicians and was then incorporated into the kingdom of Cilicia. The city stood on the slopes and at the foot of a steep hill with a perpendicular cliff on the seaward side and was surrounded by massive fortifications. In 197 BC the area passed into the hands of the Romans.

The remains visible today date to the Roman and medieval periods. The most interesting and best-preserved monument in Selinus is a large rectangular building locally know as Şekerhane Köşkü. It is located in a flat area at the foot of the hill, between the agora, bath house and odeon on its western side and the necropolis to the east. The monument has long been thought to have been built as a cenotaph for the Roman emperor Trajan.

The death of Trajan at Selinus on 8th August 117 AD later prompted the temporary renaming of the city as Trajanopolis. It also received the status of ius Italicum, transforming the provincial solum (land) into Italian solum, a rare privilege for a non-Italian community. A tetrastyle temple inscribed with the name TΡAIANO appeared thereafter on the city’s coins during the late 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Near Trajan’s cenotaph are the remains of an odeon dating back to the Hellenistic era as well as baths from the Roman period. An aqueduct crosses the marsh near the mouth of the neighboring stream.

At its height, Selinus occupied an area of over 40 hectares and was the largest city in western Rough Cilicia. Selinus later became part of the Byzantine Empire alongside the rest of Cilicia. In the 12th century the Byzantines were succeeded by Armenian refugees who fled the Seljuk Turks invasion of Armenia and founded the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. At the end of the 13th century the city was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

Archaeological research Selinus has been conducted by a team from Florida State University. The founds are exhibited in the Alanya Archaeological Museum.


The walls of the Acropolis fortress of Selinus and the harbour of Gazipaşa.
Modern stairway going through the gate of the lower fortification walls.
View of the so-called Şekerhane Köşkü from Selinus hill.
The cenotaph of Trajan. The Imperial monument consisted of a central tetrastyle prostyle building (with four columns in front and two on the sides) of the Corinthian order with a cella and pronaos, on a high podium enclosed in a large temenos surrounded on all four sides by porticoes.
The cenotaph of Trajan was remodelled by the Seljuks in the early 13th century using the ancient building materials which altered the monument in a structural way. The name Şekerhane Köşkü refers to the use of the building in Seljuk time as a hunting lodge.
The remains of the Hellenistic odeon.
The remains of the nymphaeum, part of the Large Bath Complex.
The aqueduct of Selinus used to carry a steady supply of water to the bath from its presumed origin only 1,5 kilometres away and over the river.
The remaining arches of the aqueduct.