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labranda turkey
Labranda, which is the sacred area of Zeus Labraundos, is in ancient Caria (Southwestern Anatolia), 14 km northeastern of Mylasa city to which it is associated. The holy ground is situated on the slopes of impressive hill. Labraynda was the site of the most sacred shrines of Caria.

The shrine was dedicated to Zeus Straticus, whose festival was celebrated here by whole Carian Population. The most ancient findings belong to the year 600 BC. The area that has been used as sacred ground in 6th and 5th centuries and then as temple terrace consisted of a single, small, artificial terrace.

A great war took place in the sacred area in 497 and Carian army has been crushed by the Persian army. At the times of the satraps named Mausolos (377 - 352 BC) and Idrieus (351 - 344 BC), this place obtained a new appearance and in 4th century, Labranda became the most important shrine in the region.
In 355, during the sacrifice festival in Labranda, Mausolos escaped from an murder attempt at the last minute. Visitors enjoy great monumental buildings such as a series of artificial terraces, entrance structures, a small Doric fountain, monumental stairs, two large feast halls (androns), building used by the priest named as oikoi, Stoa and famous Zeus Temple surrounded with columns.

Among the monuments visitors enjoy most are the remains of Zeus Temple which was begun by King Mausolos and completed by his brother Idreus and two Royal dining halls Andron A and B, built by the same rulers. All these monuments must be constructed after the assassination attempt to great king.
With the death of Idrieus in 344 and because of a big fire disaster taking place place in 4th century BC, the sacred area has lost its importance. The excavation works here have been started in 1948 by A.W.Persson and are continuing with intervals since that time.

The current digs are being carried out by P.Hellstrom. The access from Mylasa to the sacred area had been done via the sacred road having a width of 8 m. There is remains of a stadium still can be seen in Labranda. Starting and end stones of the races are still exist at both ends. It is supposed that the stadium was used during the festivals carried out for Zeus
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