History of Caunos
The existance of the ruins of Caunos was first discovered in the year 1842. The ancient city of Caunos lies here with its ruins dating back to the 3rd Century. It grew into a major area on the border between Lycia and Caria, the people were said to be famous for their yellowish skin and eyes.
Caunos, the son of Miletos, had been indicated as the founder of the city and therefore, it had been named as Caunos. It became an important Carian city in 400 B.C .Right on the border with the Kingdom of Lycia, its culture reflected aspects of both Kingdoms. The tombs, for instance, are in Lycian style. When Maussolos of Halicarnassus was ruler of Caria, his Hellenistic influence reached the Caunians, who eagerly adopted the culture. This mixture of cultures in Caunos may be seen among the ruins of its various archaeological remains. The Carian city wall built by Maussolos, the Lycian and Carian tombs, the medieval walls on the Acropolis, a Roman fountain dedicated to Vespasianus, a theater from the 2nd century BC, remains of 4 temples, massive Roman baths and a Byzantine basilica of 5th/8th centuries. The city was first captured by the Presians and then by Alexander and in the year 189 B.C. It was made subject to the Kingdom of Rhodos. We know that it continued until the year 167 B.C. .Caunos was the subjected to the Kingdom of Pergamon and was brought directly under the sovereignty of Rome after 133 BC. You reach the site of the ruins by means of channel adorned with Lycian type tombs belonging to the 4th century B.C. The first place that we see is the Acropolis of Caunos .
Rock Tombs of the Kings
The ancient rock tombs of the Kings have become another symbol of Dalyan after the famous sea turtles, Caretta carettas. Although there are many rock tombs around the area, the most famous are those which look direct to the Dalyan municipality from the opposite side of the river. These tombs are the resting places of the Kings of Caunos. They are caved in the style of Lycian rock tombs.
There are two types of tombs to be found in Dalyan. Simple chambers, cut into the rock face like a room and more elaborate temple tombs. Many tombs were built with false walls placing valuables behind them so as to fool robbers, eventually this was to no avail as all the tombs were emptied of their treasures. The eternal King Tombs which have been standing there for thousands of years against all the harshness of time and carrying the mysteries of the past to the future had been caved in the gigantic rocks, at some points with an angle of 80 C to the sea, forcing the limits of your mind.
One of the most beauiful features of the site are the rock tombs sculpted in the form of the porticoes of small Ionic temples. These are among the most splendid examples of Lycian type funerary architecture in Turkey, although the builders were Carians. The original occupants of the tombs are obscure but are assumed to have been Caunian noblemen and rulers; in most cases they were vacanted and reused in Roman times. The largest one is unfinished , thus providing the method of construction.