Kibyra, a hidden gem in plain sight

Kibyra is an impressive ancient site situated en route between the Mediterranean coastline near Fethiye and Pamukkale. It is a fascinating place, with remarkable ruins that you will most likely have all to yourself. We have to admit that most people would qualify Gölhisar (where Kibyra is located) as ‘in-the-middle-of-nowhere’. As a consequence, you will have to put in a bit of an effort to get there. Don’t worry, your effort will be deeply rewarded by the size of the ruins and the fact that you may very likely be the only ones there.

Theater And Bouleuterion

Theater And Bouleuterion

What is Kibyra?

Kibyra is an antique city near the city of Gölhisar in Turkey. Formerly known as Cibyra Magna and the principal city of Cibyratis, Kibyra was an influential city with a large infantry and many horse riders. Kibyra was later conquered by the Romans and remained significant to a degree where the buildings that are still visible in Kibyra today date back from its Roman times. Archaeologists uncovered a stadium, an agora, Roman baths, a necropolis, a fountain, a bouleuterion, a theatre, and part of its main street after they started systematic archaeological work in Kibyra in 2006. Walking around the site, you can’t help but wonder why hardly anyone visits. The stadium alone is worth the trip. We assume the answer lies in the fact that there are no other major tourist attractions or cities in the vicinity, and people decide in favor of more conveniently located sites.

Panoramic View From Above The Hammam

Panoramic View From Above The Hammam

The Stadium

After driving up the road to Kibyra passing some sarcophagi, the first building you see is the stadium. Kibyra is so stretched out, that you cannot see the theater and bouleuterion from the stadium entrance. This may be a good thing because the stadium is so overwhelming that the lack of other buildings would only be a distraction. The stadium for up to 10,000 spectators is 197 meters long and shows the power of Kibyra. It initially had 21 seating rows on the hillside, and 5 on the other. It offers spectacular views of the fields below.

Kibyra Stadium

Kibyra Stadium

Other impressive ruins in Kibyra

For those who fear that they won’t be wowed by anything else after visiting the magnificent stadium, don’t worry. The site has plenty more to offer, and with ongoing excavations, we remain excited to see what archaeologist will uncover soon. At present, the pictures below show the most important other structures you can admire in Kibyra.

Agora In Kibyra

Agora In Kibyra

The extraordinary Medusa mosaic in the bouleuterion and the refined mosaic floor in front of it are covered with pebbles to protect them for most of the year. This is understandable, but a tiny bit disappointing if you’ve seen pictures online showing the building with the mosaics. Still, even without the mosaics, you’ll have a pretty astounding walk down antiquity lane. But, if you plan your trip accordingly, you’ll get to see Kibyra in all its glory, Medusa mosaic included! You can see the difference in the pictures below.

We Can Never Get Enough Of Stunning Mosaics

We Can Never Get Enough Of Stunning Mosaics

Wonderfully Well Preserved Mosaic Floor At Kibyra

Wonderfully Well Preserved Mosaic Floor At Kibyra

The Medusa mosaic floor of the Bouleuterion

In 2009, archaeologists discovered a Medusa mosaic on Kibyra’s Bouleuterion floor during excavation works. While they weren’t turned into stone upon seeing it, they were struck by how well-preserved this around 1.800-years-old mosaic was. The Medusa was 95% intact and made out of thin, colored marble plaques. This ‘Opus Sectile’ technique makes this Medusa mosaic a unique piece worldwide.

The Medusa Mosaic At Kibyra In All Its Glory

The Medusa Mosaic At Kibyra In All Its Glory

Grand In Every Way, Kibyra's Bouleuterion

Grand In Every Way, Kibyra’s Bouleuterion

The Bouleuterion has a seating capacity of 3.600 persons. It used to have a roof and was used as a courthouse, a theatre, and a parliament. After its discovery, the Medusa mosaic was covered expertly with five different layers until 2013, when it was uncovered for inspection and prepared for restoration. Since then, the 11-meters-long Medusa at Kibyra can be admired during the summer months.

Look How The Colors Of The Medusa Mosaic At Kibyra Come To Life When Wet

Look How The Colors Of The Medusa Mosaic At Kibyra Come To Life When Wet

Isn't This A Masterpiece?

Isn’t This A Masterpiece?

Practical information for your Kibyra visit

Getting to Kibyra is the easiest by car. If you do not have a car at your disposal, the bus-line Fethiye Burdur goes past Gölhisar. Once there, you can choose to walk the 3km up to the site or find a taxi. Remember, you are in a relatively undiscovered territory, good walking shoes and plenty of drinking water and sun protection are essential! At the time of our visits, entrance to Kibyra was free of charge. This may change once the site gains more popularity.

Check out our interactive map of Turkey for more things to see and do in the area. And while you here, drive on to Yazır Köyü to admire its extraordinary mosque.

Also, have a look at the page that covers all Turkey travel resources. It contains the links to the official visa application website, FastTrack through Istanbul airport links and plenty more.

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These reviews on TripAdvisor confirm we’re not the only ones who think Kibyra is a spectacular place to visit. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Plan your visit during the time that the mosaics are uncovered. It will make your trip so much more worthwhile.

Also, consider visiting the mosque at nearby Yazır Köyü. It’s a masterpiece!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

These reviews on TripAdvisor confirm we’re not the only ones who think Kibyra is a spectacular place to visit. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or join our closed Facebook group where other Turkey travelers and aficionados are ready and eager to help.

Turkey is a perfectly safe country to travel, except for these risks. Still, you should never travel without proper insurance. We love World Nomads’ travel insurance. We love their philosophy and their take on responsible travel, but also the fact that they cover popular activities in Turkey such as paragliding or balloon rides.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Plan your visit during the time that the mosaics are uncovered. It will make your trip so much more worthwhile.

Also, consider visiting the mosque at nearby Yazır Köyü. It’s a masterpiece!

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We still love to use Booking.com when searching for the perfect hotel or vacation rental in Turkey. Unfortunately, the website isn’t accessible from within Turkey without the use of a VPN. If you don’t have a VPN, and you’re already in Turkey, Hotels.com is a good alternative.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

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