Kapılıkaya Kaya Mezarı

Kapilikaya Rock Tomb

Useful Information

Location: Fatih, Çorum Laçin Yolu, 19020 Laçin/Çorum.
27 km north of Çorum. 2.5 km south of Yörüklü Kasabasi.
(40.754317, 34.912595)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Tomb SubterraneaMonlithic Church
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Kapilikaya Rock Tomb, Fatih, Çorum Laçin Yolu, 19020 Laçin/Çorum.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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2nd century BC tomb created.


Kapılıkaya Kaya Mezarı (Kapilikaya Rock Tomb) is a cave house, which is interpreted as a tomb. It looks like a cave portal with barrel vault, with a cave church or cave house built inside. The building is almost as big as the portal, there is only a narrow gap on the sides and on top. A wide staircase leads up to the vertical wall, where it ends. But the fact that it actually looks like a huge door in the mountainside is twisting the mind. Kapılıkaya actually means "rock with a door".

While it is hard to date, there is no way to use a geophysical method, it is thought to be from the Hellenistic Period, from the 2nd century BC. This site is quite enigmatic, as many antique sites are. It is hard to believe that it was built using only stone and bronze tools.

The best way to explain this construction is by calling it a monolithic church. The whole building with the facade and the roughly cube-shaped building behind was cut from the rock, by cutting a vertical slot on both sides, at the rear, and a circular slot on the top. The block which was separated this way is still attached to the surrounding rock at a few small spots. As a result, it is possible to walk all the way around the tomb. In the middle of the facade is a sort of small window, with the inscription IKEZIOS above. This is probably a name, but it is unknown who this was. There is also the engraving of a cross-symbol, and carved figures of the dead on the right and left of the entrance.

There are numerous rock tombs in Turkey from antiquity. Quite similar are the Tombs of the Pontic Kings, which are located in the city Amasya, about 80 km top the east. The Kingdom of Pontus was a short-lived kingdom ruled by the Mithradatic dynasty. After the collapse of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the Pontic Kings came to power. The site is located within the borders of the historic Kingdom of Pontus.

The site is hard to reach, as it is actually in the middle of the rock face. On the left side a steep trail winds up. While there are actually no restrictions, it makes sense to visit during daylight hours. There was one a rope hanging from the facade which allowed to climb into the small opening of the grave. Unfortunately, it is broken. There is massive damage at the rear side of the tomb which is interpreted as grave robbers, but it seems they were not able to enter, and the opening in the facade is still the only entrance to the square burial chamber.