Also called Kinik, which is the name of the settlement nearby, Xanthos (Arnna) is on Fethiye-Kaş road, 46 kilometres from Fethiye at Mugla-Antalya province border, separated by Esen creek near the village of Kinik. The city was the administrative and religious center of the Lycian region (Teke Peninsula). Xanthos is the largest and the oldest city of mountainous province of Lycia. It was established in the Xanthosriver valley. It was independent until the Persian invasion. People of Xanthos, who defended their city heroically during the Persian invasion, realized that they would not be able to prevent the invasion, first killed all their women and children and then set the city on fire and then threw themselves in this fire and committed suicide together.
The city was founded again by 80 families, which survived this massacre, and immigrants from other places. However, Xanthoswas ruined again by a fire, which occurred about 100 years later. Nevertheless, the city, which was founded again, continued to exist as an important center as a result of good relations, it established with the western world. This also ended badly. People of Xanthos, who rejected Athens to request tax in 429 B.C. found themselves in a battle, which caused their city to be ruined completely.
Xanthosis a city of disasters in the strictest sense. The city consists mainly of the Lycian Acropolis, Roman Acropolis and parts outside these. The most interesting buildings here are the Roman Theatre and the structures on the western side of this theatre. The northernmost of these is called the Harpy Monument and is a family tomb, placed on a single piece of rock. The original of this tomb, which has interesting reliefs, is in the British Museum. There is a replica, which is a faithful copy of the original, is in the place of the original one.
The first remains to be seen on the right side of the road when approaching the city from Kinik belong to the Hellenistic gate. There are remains of an arch, built in the memory of the Roman emperor Vespasian, who had great contributions to the city, on the left side of the road. Remains of a monument, a little further on the right side of the road, is the remaining part of the magnificent Nereid monument, which was taken to England by ships in 1841-42. This monument has been restored and is now exhibited in hall number 7 of British Museum and is one of the most favourite halls in the museum. When one leaves the remains of the Hellenistic city walls behind, he/she reaches the theatre and the Lycian acropolis, where the Lycian mausoleum, which is considered the symbol of Xanthos and the Harpy monument on rock tombs are located. Since the original reliefs on the monument were taken to England, those, which can be seen today, are their stucco replicas. Harpy monument is also displayed in the British Museum.