Antalya is known as the turquoise coast because of its blue waters, located in Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region. Remnants remain from Antalya’s time as an important Roman port. We enjoyed our month in Antalya and got to go to visit many fabulous places. In this post, I will highlight Side, Perge, Aspendos, and Termessos. We feel blessed to experience the stunning natural beauty in Turkey. LingoHut’s next journey will be a road trip up the Mediterranean coastline to share the free language learning resource.
Side is a resort town on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast. Its name means ‘pomegranate’ in Turkish. Side’s population is small, with only around 4000 permanent residents. In the summer months, the population swells to the tens of thousands, with visitors from all over Europe.
Side is an ancient port city known for long beaches, and Greco-Roman ruins is a great day excursion. Side’s long history is exciting and started with being occupied by Alexander the Great, the Greeks, and the Romans. Today you can still see the relics of its ancient past outside the main center and around the town. One of the most iconic white marble columns of the Hellenistic Temple of Athena stands near the harbor. When you stand there, you are amazed at how this beauty was created so many years ago. You will also find the remains of the 2nd-century Antique Theater, which seated up to 15,000. Other sites are scattered throughout; the museum, a restored Roman bath complex, and other ruins. It is internationally recognized as one of the most important ruins in Asia Minor.
Known as Perga or Perge is a large site of ancient ruins 15 kilometers east of Antalya. It is an acropolis located dating back to the Bronze Age of the 13th century BC., when Greek immigrants arrived in Pamphylia, traversing Asia Minor after the Trojan War. Being part of Pamphylia, the ancient city of Perge says the rise and fall of many civilizations, with their remains surviving to today.
It is known as the place where Saint Paul started his journeys; he visited Perge in 46 AD. and preached his first sermon in the ancient city of Perge. That is why it became an important city for the Christians during the Byzantine period.
The majesty of the Perge Ancient City is the cemetery, theatre, city walls, stadium, gymnasium, Roman baths, rectangular planned agora, high towers, monumental fountains, column lined streets, Greek and Roman gates.
On the right, there is a Byzantine basilica. After the basilica comes the agora and, on the left, there are baths. Among the cities of Pamphylia, the largest and most glamorous baths were to be found in Perge.
When you continue to walk, two walls run parallel to each other. These walls, which have become the symbol of Perge, are dated to the 3rd century BC. The oldest gate of the city is in these walls and two towers, all from the Hellenistic period. Pass the Hellenistic gate comes a colonnaded street.
To see the theatre and stadium, you must leave the city walls and across the street. Behind the theatre is the impressive and large stadium, which is the principal structure of the ancient city of Perge. It is one of the best-preserved stadiums of the ancient world.
The ancient city of Aspendos is approximately 50 kilometers east of Antalya. Aspendos was probably the most crucial city in Pamphylia. According to tradition, the city was believed to be founded by the famous Greek diviner Mopsos around 1000 BC. However, archaeologists have found evidence of a settlement from the Hittite era 800 BC onwards. This glorious city reached its epoch during the Roman period when trade and commerce flourished here.
Most tourists only stop to see the Roman theater and do not explore the acropolis and aqueduct. The theater is one of the largest ever built in the 2nd century AD during Marcus Aurelius’ reign. It is so well-preserved it is still used for open-air performances & film screenings.
It is located in the lower part of the city, making it a great place to hold concerts, festivals, and gatherings with over 15,000 people. The Famous annual Aspendos Opera Festival happens annually at this fantastic location.
Most tourists only stop to see the theater. We decided we wanted to see the entire grown. It is a truck up the acropolis hill rising the 40-meter, but well worth the walk.
Beyond the remains of a small temple and the agora stands the nymphaeum, once a monumental structure pronounced by double columns but now represented only by a wall 32-meters long. Adjoining this on the north are other buildings, probably the council chamber.
Just to the north of Aspendos’ acropolis hill are the remains of a magnificent ancient aqueduct and two linked water towers, which would have initially provided water for the city.
It is a Pisidian city built at an altitude of more than 1000 meters on the southwest side of the mountain Solymos in the Taurus Mountains. It lies 17 kilometers to the northwest of Antalya. The hike around there is excellent, and the ruins are authentic ruins not so well preserved. The drive is a bit long, but the views on the drive are beautiful.
If you are ever in Antalya, we recommend you stop at these four impressive ruins to understand the history of this region of Turkey.