Labraunda in Caria




Andron B and Andron A (above)  

Labraunda or Labranda is an ancient sanctuary of Zeus Labraundo in Caria. It is located about 14 kilometres from Milas, the ancient Mylasa, in the mountains of Besparmak Daglari, the ancient Latmos Mountains.


Retaining wall of the lowest terrace  
Monumental staircase  

From the sanctuary are still preserved the mighty walls and the remains of the central temple of the god Zeus, the 12-meter wide monumental staircase, the Doric entrance buildings, the water basin of the spring serving as an oracle and the portico on staggered terraces.
There were only dwellings of the priests of the Shrine and their workers, slaves and peasants. Apart from the foundation walls of numerous buildings, some rock tombs can be found in the towering rock face.



The big fountain house




Labraunda was famous for its medicinal spring water. It was also the site of a fish oracle: The prophesying "media" swam in a square water basin and could answer questions with "yes" or "no", depending on whether they accepted or refused the food offered (see also the fish oracle of Apollo in Lycian Sura). The fish are said to have worn gold collars and rings.




The temple of Zeus Labraundo in front of the Andron A  

The local nickname of Zeus Labraundo goes back to the pre-Greek word labrys, the ritual double axe, which was his attribute in Labraunda, but was already used by the Minoans on the island of Crete and the Hittites in Asia Minor before the Carians.
As early as 425 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus from neighbouring Halicarnassus mentioned the sanctuary as "Labraunda".




The rock divided by the lightning strike  



The remains of the cyclope-like masonry of the sanctuary stand about 700 metres above sea level on a platform halfway away from the valley and rise in front of a rock face split by a prehistoric lightning strike. From Mylasa an extended procession road led to the complex, which is still visible from the city today.



At the South Proylon  



At the place of a small temple from the beginning of the 5th century B.C., King Maussolos ordered the construction of a larger marble temple in Labraunda in 377 B.C., which was completed after another reconstruction in 344 B.C.. It was a so-called ring hall temple (peripteros) of Asia Minor-Ion building regulations with six columns each on the narrow sides and eight columns on the long sides.
According to an inscription found, Maussolos' brother and successor Idrieus dedicated the temple to Zeus Labraundos, who was also worshipped under the name Zeus Stratios. The temple was excavated and explored by Swedish archaeologists from 1948 to 1960 together with the surrounding structures.









In order to transport the marble blocks weighing up to 3 tons to the mountain (700 m high), Maussolos first had the 14 km long path to the then capital Mylasa (today Milas) fortified. The rough cut blocks were brought from a quarry on the other side of Mylasa on towed sledges and harnesses and further worked on at the place of the shrine. The largest block of marble measures 52×63×480 cm and should weigh 5.5 tons.

Greek inscription  
134 Greek inscriptions have been found throughout the sanctuary, some with exact dates.  
Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others