According to old belief, the higher your grave is, the closer you are to God. That is the secret of the King Tombs in the rocks by Dalyan River. Rock tombs are one of the most important symbols of Dalyan as seen in Turkey’s introductory films. The rock tombs greets their visitors with a deepth of history.The most important are the Caunos tombs without doubt, the biggest of which was thought to be left half finished because of the Persian and Alexander the Great's invasion, the six groupped tombs, the location of the temple facing rock tombs, rectangular deep carved tombs that are known as 'pigeonhole', niches, sarcophagi, monumental tombs (their locations which are selected specially), chest tombs on the slopes of the outside city walls. They all inform us both of the richness of the Tomb's style and traditional burial. The cups which is full of the remains of burnt bodies are placed vertically at the niches are covered by the slab. These kinds of tombs dated back to the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD.
None of the tombs can be dated back before the 4th century BC. The most important group is the ones with temple faces. They include a front room which can be reached by the steps behind the triangle frame that carried the colums amongst the side walls and a bruial room that is opened by a door. The beds for the deceased were built infront of the bruial rooms. These kind of tombs were mostly made between the 2nd centuries BC and AD.
The tombs in Dalyan look even more effective in the evenings when they are illuminated. "Highness becomes the kings." It is still unknown what technique was used to build these rock tombs in Dalyan thousands of years ago. Which tools did they use to carve the tombs into the rocks? The only place not to be carved is the bruial room. The tombs are carved onto the rocks and created them seperately from the rock. If you want you can turn around it. The reason is that it gives temple ambience to kings tombs is to be assumed.
The most important feature of this ancient city are the famous 'Rock Tombs' which still stand.
According to Strabo, there was a shipyard in Caunos and a harbour (known as Suluklu Lake today )below Acropolis (castle, city walls and city centre). It was a continental sea. Caunos ancient city was dominated by the Persians, Egyptians, Pergamon Kingdom and Roman Empire. It lost importance when the sea ebbed and Caunos port was filled with sand. Its north part of the city walls are the shapes of medieval remains. Caunos state theatre is located below Acropolis. There are also Roman baths, temple, basilicas, meeting rooms and many statutes.
The city is located on the peninsula which is formed between Acropolis that is 152 metres higher than the sea and the small castle is located in the south of the Acropolis. The stoa area might have been used as a religious area since the beginning of the 5th century BC. Because the city's two acropolises widened on the route of Sivrihisar Hill and Balıklar Mountains during the early times of Hekatomnids. The following periods, Caunos started to build on the terraces. Stoa which is on the natural terrain is widened to a narrow area along the harbour.
The location of Caunos was mentioned on the written documents at first during the Persian wars (546 B.C )and was determined by British Archaeologist Hoskyn in 1842. The first archaeological excavations in the city were performed by a Turkish team managed by Baki Ogün in 1966. After he died in 2001 Cengiz Isık continued to carry out the excavations. '…....Harpagos who subdued Ionia attacked towards Carians, Caunosus and Lycians ….'(Herodot, 1,171). This passage informs us of the historic geography and politics significance of the city during the Persians war in the first quater of the 6th century BC. Caunus composed of its committed cities and was the centre of them. Caunos that was established by Anatolian residents were approved by archaeological finds reveal its different names. Kbid was known at the end of the 4th century BC, later it was called as Caunos in the 6th century BC because of changing its name to be the same as the other Anatolian cities during the Hellenistic colonisation. It has long and important history during the Christianity period. Starting from the Late Ancient Period to the Middle Ages, this city was under the domination of Eastern Rome and Lycian Church State. In time it became a village and from the 3rd quarter of the 13th century it was dominated by Ucturks. And then starting from the beginning of the 15th century it was dominated by the Anatolian beylik of Mentese.