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Ancient Knidos

Is steeped in history and has been used for thousands of years and is often spelt many ways Cnidos, Cnidus, Knidos or Knidus.  Here is a "T" pontoon now which gives mooring alongside and stern too on the end  of the "T" section.  It is worth getting here early afternoon so that you can visit the ruined city, you need at least a couple of hours for this.  The Knidos restaurant pontoon can hold around 14 yachts and supplies electricity and water albeit a little ropey.  The restaurant also sports a shower and internet connectivity.  There will be a small charge of around 20 to 30TL.   The restaurant is a little touristic due to the visitors arriving by vehicles, gulletts and other yachts and is a popular destination for all, but can offer good food and some provisions are available.

Map of Knidos ruins

Diagram from

“Ancient Civilizations and ruins of Turkey”

1)  Roman Tomb.  2)  Terrace Buildings.  3)  Lighthouse.  4)  Tower.  5)  Agora.  6)  Doric remains.

7)  Building Podium.  8)  Roman complex.  9)  Foundations.  10)  Cistern.  11)  Foundations to the Temple of Aphrodite.  In 1969 the American expedition discovered  a circular building on the highest, most western terrace of the city.  Since, according to Pliny, the famous statue of Aphrodite stood “in a shrine which allowed the image of the goddess to be viewed from every side”.  Professor Love is inclined to identify this structure with the temple of the Praxitelian Aphrodite.  However, the temple, as Miss Love has already pointed out , is certainly later than the 4th century B.C.  

12)  Roman complex.  13)  Sunken court.  14)  Corinthian Temple.  15)  Doric Stoa, dating from Hellenistic period.   16 - 18)  Terraces.  19)  Bridge abutment.  20)  Terrace.  21)  House complex.

22)  Temple of Muses.  23)  Steps.  24)  Bouleuterion, Roman in date.  25)  Temenos of Demeter. The beautiful seated statue of Demeter, ca. 330. B.C., that is now in the British Museum, was found in this sacred precinct.  26)  Theatre.  27)  The lower theatre.  Its capacity is estimated at about 4,500 people.  The calculations of the American expedition reveal that the plan of the theatre conforms to the Vitruvian canon for a Hellenistic theatre.  South Harbour.  North Harbour.

You will have to pay an entry fee and normally is around 8 TL.  

Praxitales’s Aphrodite Pselioumene 4th century BC

Doric temple at Knidos

Knidos - view of Aphrodite’s sanctuary

One of the ancient wonders of the world was the statue of Aphrodite by Praxitales, which was the first large-scale free standing nude of a woman.  It is alledged that the  model for the statue was by the famous Athenian courtesan, Phryne.  The statue was set in the Temple of Aphrodite, which was supposed to be a round shaped temple.  This temple can be found in the far northwest corner on the mainland section of the city.  The round base can still be seen today.  The Temple with Aphrodite Euploia statue became the chief source of Knidos's revenue.  The marble statue of Aphrodite was set up in the santuary so that it could be admired from every angle and attracted thousands of ancient tourist. The legend states that the statue bore a dark stain in it's crotch, not a flaw in the marble but the result of a young man visualising such a passion for it that he hid in the temple until after closing time and made love to the figure.  More conventional pilgrims, wanting to enjoy the passions aroused, would enjoy the love rights with one of the sacred prostitutes who worked in the temple precincts. Subsequently, customers bought cheap pornographic souvenirs. Another famous personage from ancient Knidos was Eudoxus, a renowned astronomer and mathematician, who designed and built an observatory within Cnidus.  This observatory has eluded all excavations.  Other famous citizens from Knidos were Ctesias the writer on Persian history and Sostratus the builder of the celebrated Pharos at Alexandria in Egypt.

Knidos view from the east

Dorian temple of Dionysus

To the top

Dorian temple of Dionysus

The ruins of Knidos are extensive and possess an immense amount of history  which is situated on the wind lashed Tekir Burnu (the Cape Krio of antiquity).  It was one of the most fabled and prosperous cities of its time.   The original "Knidos" was  of a Peloponnesian Dorian foundation, circa 1000 BC and located near modern day Datça.  However around 400 to 360 BC it was moved to this  better site, a shrewd step, taking advantage of the enforced stays of ships sheltering here from local high winds.  The site was astride the main shipping lanes of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and sporting two harbours, one north of the site called the Trireme and being mainly for naval ships could hold about 20 vessels.

The other harbour was south of the promintory, this would have given refuge to the merchant shipping of the time, making the city a wealthy one.  In it's heyday it was also home to an eminent medical school, rival to the Hippocratic clinic from across the straits on the island of Kos.  Strabon writes that Knidos was built on terraces, reaching up to the acropolis from the shores like an amphitheatre, resembling a "Dual City", both on the mainland and on the island as it was initially. Knidos with it's flourishing trade especially in the export of wine, later possessed two harbours by joining Cape Krio with the mainland by a causeway.

Priestess Demeter  

c.a. 330 B.C.

To the top

You can walk through the extensive city and see many wonderful sites, such as:

Knidos was one of the Anatolian cities built on a Hippodamian geometric town-plan.  Its splendidly preserved city walls may date from the beginning of the Hellenistic era.

Hover over the diagram’s numbers and names, below, to find them on the diagram