ADALYA, vol.2017, no.20, pp.181-211, 2017 (SSCI)
Xanthos South City Gate and Its Phases
Three gates providing access to the city from the east, west, and south have been identified on the oft-restored walls of Xanthos. This ancient city has been inhabited uninterruptedly from the Archaic period until the Middle Ages. This article focuses on the detailed study of the entrance designated as the “South Gate” that provided access to the city from the direction of the Xanthos Plain in the south. An exhaustive study of this gate had not been conducted to date.
Providing access to the city via a stone-paved road that has just been unearthed outside the city, the gate had not been fully excavated due to the modern asphalt road laid immediately next to it. Due to available data and the structure of the land, it appears that the entry had a single corridor that underwent certain structural changes after its initial construction. Three different phases mark the history of this gate.
The first phase of the gate must have been designed along with the city walls. As part of the defense system, the sheltered passageway has been designed as a deep corridor between the two towers. Featuring the Lesbian-style polygonal masonry used in some buildings dated to the city’s Late Archaic-Early Classical period, the towers offer approximate information on the dating of the gate’s first phase. During the Hellenistic period the gate was used in its current state with only inscriptions being added.
The structural elements from the gate’s first phase were preserved during the second building stage in the 1st century A.D. According to an inscription, a single-bay arched gate known as the Gate of Vespasian was added to the north part of this span during the Pax Romana. Largely intact today and serving as one of the key symbols of the city, the upper part of the structure displays a Doric frieze. Three of the metopes feature busts of Artemis and Apollo with Leto at the center, alongside the leading gods of Lycia.
The final phase of the monument’s use took place in the Early Christian Period during which the entire region faced serious threats. During this period the architectural elements of the first two phases were preserved. However, to the south-facing façade of the arched gate constructed in the second phase was added a broad bay comprised of large blocks that could be safely shut.