The sanctuary is situated on a rather steep slope, which necessitated the construction of a series of terraces, where the buildings could be erected. There are five terraces, but the early sanctuary, of the Archaic and Early Classical periods (6th – 5th centuries BC), consisted of only one single upper terrace bordered to the south by a low retaining wall of polygonal masonry, to the east of the temple. In the western part of the first temple terrace a small temple with two columns between the antae (the ends of the side walls) was probably built about 500 BC (at no. 17). According to the historian Herodotos, the sanctuary of Labraunda consisted in the early 5th century of “a great and holy grove of planetrees”. Even today plane trees grow around the sanctuary. Some very large ones can be seen, if you follow the village path above the Temple Terrace eastwards for some one hundred meters.

When the 4th century temple (no. 17) was built, the Temple Terrace was extended some 10 meters towards the south and the early terrace wall (at no. 16) became covered with earth and hidden from view. In the middle of the 4th century the sanctuary was enlarged to its present size and four lower terraces were added to the single uppermost one. The sons of the Karian ruler Hekatomnos, the so-called Hekatomnids, viz. Maussollos (377-352) and his brother Idrieus (351-344) then built a series of retaining walls and most of the buildings that can now be seen. Many of the buildings can be securely dated thanks to the large inscriptions over their entrances with dedications to the god Zeus by the two brothers.

    The first 4th century constructions were retaining walls. One (at no. 14) was built 10 meters south of the old Archaic wall (at no. 16) in order to make the Temple Terrace wide enough for the new temple (no. 17). A second and a third wall were erected some 10 and 30 meters further south (at nos. 12 and 8). On the lower one of those terraces Maussollos (377-352 BC) erected a large temple-like building, which was to serve as a banqueting hall for the Karian élite at the sacrificial meals. The building was called andron (“men’s hall”), a term also used for dining rooms in ancient houses. This is the so-called Andron B (no. 8). On the uppermost terrace, to the east of the old temple, Maussollos built a stoa (a portico; no. 16) as a shelter for the spectators at the sacrifice to the god.

Idrieus, the younger brother and heir of Maussollos (351-344 BC), continued the building project at Labraunda by rebuilding and enlarging the Temple of Zeus (no. 17). The old temple was surrounded by columns on all sides. Behind the temple, to the west, he erected a second banqueting hall (the so-called Andron A; no. 19) and a two-room building with a porch, the so-called Oikoi Building (“the rooms”; no. 18), possibly to serve as a treasury. On the lowest terrace, Idrieus erected an entrance building of marble (the South Propylon; no. 1) and a small structure to the east of the gate, the “Doric Building” (no. 2), possibly a well-house.

Other buildings, which are not dated by inscriptions, but which probably all belong to the same building project, include a second entrance building (the East Propylon; no. 5), a high masonry wall with large openings on the north side of the gate-way area (no. 7) with a 45 meters long stoa (the East Stoa; no. 13) placed behind, on a higher level, and a 12-meter-wide processional stairway leading up from the entrance area towards the upper terraces.

    There are also indications of a so-called temenos wall encircling the sanctuary, built in the same period. Some parts of it are clearly visible or indicated by rock-cut setting beds for the blocks of the wall; one stretch of the wall is behind Andron A (no. 19). From there it continued up towards the large Built Tomb, which appears to have been outside the sacred area. Another section of the wall runs behind the East Stoa (no. 13) and down to the East Propylon (no. 4). Higher up the slope, at the top of the hill, a large fortress with eleven towers was built, probably in the late 4th century, and to the south-west of the shrine a stadion, a race-course, was constructed for athletic competitions that took place during the sacred festivals.

Section through sanctuary from south (left) to north

(U. & O. Joneborg)


The major additions to the shrine in Hellenistic and Roman times, i.e. after 300 BC, are a well-house on the middle terrace (no. 12), the so-called Andron C (no. 9), which is a building of unknown purpose immediately south of Andron B, a Roman complete rebuilding of the North Stoa (no. 16) with a second twostoried stoa opposite (no. 13), and two Roman baths, one to the south of Andron C (no. 10), and the second one in the gateway area, later to be transformed and extended into the East Church (no. 3). It is assumed that the ancient cult of Zeus at Labraunda ended in the 4th century AD. In any case it seems that the Christian period at the site began at the end of that century or the beginning of the next, since the church between the two gate buildings (no. 3) appears to have been erected at that time. The finds from the church indicate that it remained in use for some 200 years. When the church was built, the northern wall of the East Bath was reused for the western part of the south wall of the church, and it seems probable that the bath did then not remain in use. Another bath, viz. the large South Bath (no. 10) to the south of Andron B and Andron C, appears to have replaced it. This second bath can be dated to the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD if not somewhat later. It was probably in use during the same period as the church, and since there are other signs of reuse of old buildings, Labraunda may then have been turned into a Christian centre.