Dear Visitor!

Welcome to our Labraunda website!

Labraunda is the home of the Sanctuary of Zeus Labraundos and is located 14 km from the modern town of Milas, in southwestern Turkey. This area was known in ancient times as Karia (or Caria), and the Sanctuary of Zeus Labraundos, with the double axe as his symbol, was a national sanctuary for the ancient Karians.  The origin of the cult of the god of the double axe goes back to the worship of Tarhunt, the Hittite god of Heaven.

The earliest evidence for the cult of Zeus Labraundos at the site dates to the middle of the 7th century BC. Most of the monumental marble buildings however were erected by the Hekatomnid family of Karian satraps in the 4th century BC. The famous Maussollos is among these. From the Roman period there are two large bath buildings. Early Christianity is represented on the site by two Byzantine churches as well as a baptistery.

Descriptions of the individual buildings found on the site are provided here. These include not only the temple, the andrones, the many stoas and the Roman baths but also the ancient remains in the immediate surroundings of the sanctuary, such as the spring-houses, the tombs, the Sacred Road, the Acropolis fortification and the five free-standing fortresses.

This website also provides information about the discovery of the ancient buildings, as well as a description of the excavations on the site conducted by Swedish archaeologists since 1948.

The website was constructed by Olivier Henry, based on the text written by Pontus Hellström and pictures published in the guidebook of Labraunda, printed in Istanbul in 2007 (Labraunda. A Guide to the Karian Sanctuary of Zeus Labraundos, can be bought in English or Turkish at The plans, photographs and drawings are by Thomas Thieme, Jesper Blid, Olivier Henry, Stefan Forsberg and myself. Our thanks and appreciation go to everyone who participated in the creation of this website and participated in the success of our project at Labraunda.

Illustrations: coins from the Hekatomnid dynasts, from Hekatomnos to Pixodaros

Foreword    Chronological table    Map of the Sanctuary    Glossary    Annual reports    The Team    The Sponsors    Exhibition    Contacts

Carrying research on such a long term is particularly rewarding in term of scientific results. It also brings pain and sadness when a colleague and friend, who had a decisive impact on Labraunda, suddenly leaves us. Thomas Thieme, the architect of the Labraunda project 1979-2004, died from a lung disease on 7 February 2014 at the age of 74. He was a kind and caring person who is deeply missed by his many friends. His last stay at Labraunda was in summer 2012, but he was still working on the Andrones publication until the end. All our thoughts go to his family and friends.