Historical Background of the Ancient City of Knidos

Knidos, founded by the Dorians in the middle of Kos and Rhodes, two important centers of ancient history, dates back approximately 2600 years. The ancient city of Knidos, mentioned by the famous geographer Strabo from Amasya, was initially established about 4th century BC at the location that is 35 kilometers away from its current remains in Tekir Cape.

After being relocated to Tekir Cape, the city became an important center of maritime trade. Due to its geographical location on the route of ships traveling from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, Knidos gradually strengthened and flourished as a port where sailing ships would stop, procure supplies, and engage in trade.

The city also gained fame as a center of wine production. The people of Knidos became even wealthier by exporting the wine they produced.

One of the details that make Knidos an important part of history is the presence of Euryphon, one of the most significant doctors of the time, who lived there and established the second-largest medical school in the world during that period. Therefore, Knidos is also mentioned in the history of medicine.

What to Expect in the Ancient City of Knidos?

When talking about the ancient city of Knidos at the intersection of the Aegean and the Mediterranean, Strabo's description of the city being built on terraces accurately portrays its structure.

Indeed, due to the mountainous nature of the region, the city was built in terraces. The historical structures within the ancient city of Knidos also correspond to the overall architectural style of the city. The historical structures in the ancient city of Knidos are as follows:

Artifacts of the Ancient City of Knidos

1 - Nekropolis: Located at the eastern entrance of the city, it covers a vast area of 7 kilometers and attracts great attention with various types of tombs.
2 - Assembly Building: It was built near the Corinth Temple. It is known that many peaceful laws were written in this structure during the meetings held in the 3rd century BC.
3 - Ancient Pier: It is located in the harbor area.
4 - Gymnasium: Many iron arrowheads were unearthed during the excavations, and it is the structure located at the intersection of the east-west street.
5 - Small Theater: It is located just north of the Great Harbor.
6 - Great Theater: The marbles of the theater, which had a capacity of 20,000 people, were eventually taken to Egypt by ships.
7 - Temple of Dionysus
8 - Harbor Street: Starting from the main harbor and extending into the depths of the city, the first 75 meters of it were unearthed between 2000 and 2006.
9 - Temple of Apollo: It is located at the highest point of the city. The temple offers a remarkable view of the surrounding area.
10 - Doric Temple: A Byzantine church was built on top of it during the Early Christian period.
11 - Corinth Temple: Located just above the Small Theater, the Corinth Temple was built by the architect Stratos.
12 - Temple of Aphrodite: Overlooking both harbors, the temple has a circular structure with a diameter of 17 meters.
13 - Knidos Sundial: The sundial developed by Eudoxus and considered a great invention is one of the most important findings in the ancient city.
14 - Military Harbor: It is an artificial harbor secured by two entrance towers.
15 - Commercial Harbor: It is an important commercial center where trading ships dock.
16 - Demeter Sacred Area: The statue of Demeter, whose location was determined by its pedestal in the center of the area, is exhibited at the British Museum.

The ancient city of Knidos has two theaters. The larger one is known as the Great Theater of Knidos, with a seating capacity of 20,000 people. The capacity of the Small Theater is 5,000 people. Unfortunately, the marble stage stones of the theaters have been stolen, so it is not possible to see them today.

One of the most interesting structures among the historical buildings in the ancient city of Knidos is the sundial. The Knidos sundial near the Corinth Temple was built during the Hellenistic period. Based on the observation of the movements of shadows to determine time, the Knidos sundial, with relief sculptures of lion's paws on both sides, is among the first points that come to mind when referring to a Knidos travel guide.

Like many ancient cities in the region, Knidos also has a temple dedicated to Dionysus, the Knidos Temple of Dionysus. Although a church was later built on top of the temple using its stones, the friezes uncovered indicate that this area was a temple dedicated to Dionysus.

In ancient times, necropolises were called "Nekropolis," and almost every ancient city had one. The Knidos necropolis is one of the most important remains of the city since it is one of the largest surviving necropolises known to date from ancient times. Starting about 4-5 kilometers before the ancient city, the necropolis extends to the entrance of the city.

Stairway Street is located next to the Small Theater of Knidos. Among the stepped streets in the region, Stairway Street is the best-preserved one, and it is a historical structure that must be seen during visits to Knidos.

The Doric Temple, located to the left of Stairway Street, was also destroyed when a church was built on it. You can easily find this place by looking for the signs saying "Doric Temple" while exploring the city.

Knidos, which transitioned to democracy around the 300s BC, was one of the first cities in the world to adopt democracy. The Knidos Assembly Building, located near the Corinth Temple, was the administrative center of the city. Although not many remains of this building have reached our present day, it still preserves its historical value as the assembly building of one of the civilizations that first embraced democracy.

Can You Swim in the Ancient City of Knidos?

The story of the ancient city of Knidos began as a port city, and today, it is possible to both explore the historical remains and swim in the former harbor areas accompanied by historical ruins.

Like the entire Datça Peninsula, the sea of Knidos is both crystal clear and very clean. After a historical tour, Knidos is a perfect destination to swim in the pristine sea and sunbathe among the ruins. However, there are no amenities such as sunbeds or umbrellas in the historical harbors.

In Knidos, besides being able to swim during historical city tours, you can also take day trips from Datça on tour boats and go to Knidos Beach, where you can swim alongside historical remains.

Knidos Ancient City Visiting Hours

The ancient city of Knidos is open every day, and the visiting hours are from 08:30 to 19:30. The ticket office closes at 19:00.

Knidos Ancient City Entrance Fees

There is an admission fee to enter the ancient city of Knidos and the archaeological site. The Museum Pass is also valid for Knidos Ancient City. You can follow the current information regarding the entrance fee and visiting hours of the ancient city of Knidos by clicking on the link below from the official website:

Datça Knidos Archaeological Site (muze.gov.tr)