Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

x0x Sleeping beauty awakens Letoon

Expand Messages
  • TRH
    [See more at: http://www.lycianturkey.com/lycian_sites/letoon.htm http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/484/ http://ge.lafargue.free.fr/Turquie/Letoon/index.html ] x0x
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      [See more at:
      http://ge.lafargue.free.fr/Turquie/Letoon/index.html ]

      x0x Sleeping beauty awakens: Letoon


      The beauties of nature are like patches of heaven on earth. Surrounded
      by natural beauty, this temple lies smack in the middle of the road
      connecting Xanthos, ancient Lycia's greatest city, to the sea, just
      above the shore where the blue of the sea meets the blue of the sky.

      Known today as Kumluova, it is one of Turkey's most popular touristic
      spots between Kas and Fethiye, where the silence of the meadows is
      broken only by the sounds of birds and frogs.

      The gleaming white fragments of the Hellenistic columns hewn from fine
      marble have been lying there in the water for longer than anyone can
      know. A foundation wall completely covered in decorations, rows of
      stone and friezes with figures in the shape of date palm branches...A
      roof gutter whose spouts are shaped like heads of lions, column
      drums...All lie there scattered indifferently in the water. According
      to researchers, the fragments must have absorbed water since they all
      toppled forward into it.In all probability it was also the water,
      regarded as sacred in antiquity, that saved them.

      These fragments, which belong to one of the most beautiful temples
      ever dedicated to Leto, the Anatolian Mother Goddess, is thought to
      have been built in the Hellenistic period in either the late 4th or
      early 3rd century B.C.

      Fewer traces remain of two other shrines, to Apollo and Artemis, that
      stood beside it for untold years; nor is it known when they
      disappeared although they are thought to have been used in the nearby
      limestone quarries.


      Among the remains unearthed by French archaeologists working on the
      Letoon excavations is the temple of the goddess Leto, about which the
      least is known. According to researchers who have been conducting
      investigations here for the last 40 years, this center, which was
      blessed with water for over a thousand years, was home to a large
      number of religious cults. Its last reconstruction was as a wooden
      church in the pre-Byzantine period.

      The Letoon, the main structure in a series of quite ordinary
      architectural monuments here, is finding new life today.

      One by one, with painstaking labor, the fragments are being restored
      to their original places, and Leto is being reborn after a hiatus of
      more than two thousand years. Eighty percent of the fragments have
      survived unscathed, and all fragments of the Sella, the best-preserved
      section of the temple, are thought to be intact. This project,
      launched in 2001, is being directed by architect Didier Laroche, the
      Site Director, and Jean-Francois Bernard. Complete reconstruction of
      the temple is planned within four years.

      The methods employed for placing stone on top of stone are the same as
      those used in antiquity; only some substances have been added to the
      mortar to better preserve the stone. The Apollo mosaic, believed to be
      the only mosaic ever found in an ancient temple, is being restored in
      keeping with the original at the Fethiye Museum.


      Leto, who inspired the construction by human hands of this group of
      temples, blessed with water and sanctified by nature's greenery, is an
      ancient mother goddess of Anatolian origin, beloved only daughter of
      Coius, one of the Titans, and Phoebe. Delos Asteria is the island
      where she gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis as she was
      fleeing the wrath of Hera, wife of Zeus, king of the gods and father
      of the twins, who were born within an hour of each other. This wild
      and barren Aegean island would find joy and fertility with the birth
      of Apollo--the place where Leto was able to fall as a pebble, anchored
      by Zeus to a rock on the sea bed to protect his beloved. Leto pleaded
      with the local peasants, saying, "Give me a place to bring my children
      into the world where no living creature has set foot or asked any
      favors until now. Where no sheep or cow has found even a blade of
      grass. If you take my son to your bosom, give him refuge amidst your
      rocks and build to him a temple, you will find joy and riches, for
      people are going to come in droves to this god I am carrying in my

      According to legend, after the villagers refused her water when she
      was parched with thirst, she complained to Zeus, who turned them into
      frogs--unlike the kind princess in the fairy tale who kissed a frog
      and turned him into a prince. According to another legend, the goddess
      Leto accomplished all this herself without recourse to Zeus.


      Said to have dwelled thereafter in a temple inside the Citadel of Troy
      together with her twins, Apollo and Artemis, who illumined the world
      day and night, Leto is a mythological heroine of great influence at

      Excavation of the temple built to her and of the surrounding area has
      been under way since 1962. The sound condition of the fragments
      unearthed up to now is attributed to the fact that the complex was
      systematically dismantled in the early Byzantine period. The team in
      charge of the excavations and reconstruction has expended great labor
      and self-sacrifice to restore this monumental legacy as a whole.

      When the Letoon Project is completed the natural environment inside
      the sanctuary will also have been restored, creating a garden of
      paradise in which shadow, light, water and rocks are each given their

      The site's true value will derive from the flora and fauna protected
      there. Project Director Didier Laroche, who is working
      enthusiastically to translate the project into reality, describes the
      garden as follows: "A romantic, mythological garden, or a jewel box
      where memories have adorned the various structures, streets and walls
      in the historical process."

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.