Towards the south of Turkey is the beautiful city of Antalya, located on the Mediterranean coastline. This area is one of the largest international sea resorts in Turkey and is on the Turkish Riviera. It provides tourists with white sandy beaches, the Taurus Mountains and many ancient cities whose ruins you can still see today. We’ve listed five that are most definitely worth a visit, if you get the chance during your Antalya city break.
30 km north-west of Antalya sits Termessos, an ancient Pisidian city that was built on the sloped terrain, on the west side of the Gulluk Mountain. This archaeological site is one of Turkey’s best-preserved historical sites and is also known as the Eagle’s Nest due to its isolated location. Termessos is located 1050m above sea level, amongst a pine forest.
The different types of ruins found here include a gymnasium, temples, burial grounds and an amphitheatre that provide visitors with an incredible view of the nearby mountain ranges and, on a clear day, the sea. The stones and crumbled buildings have been damaged by earthquakes and weathered by the Turkish climate, but they still manage to tell a story and project the beauty they once showed.
Built between the 12th and 13th centuries BC, Perge was an ancient Pamphylian city. When visiting this large site, you can still find all of the remains of the town including the theatre, baths, stadium, city wall and gates.
When driving to this site, the first feature you will see is the theatre, which isn’t actually in the city ruins itself. Behind this theatre is the impressively large stadium, one of the best-preserved stadiums from ancient times.
When you first enter, you will come across the large Roman gate and elegant Roman baths. Nearby are two parallel walls that hold two towers and the oldest gate. These walls date back to the 3rd century BC and are the symbol of Perge, due to their unique features. Information signs are located near each artefact to help tourists and guided tours are available.
Aspendos was an ancient Roman city in Pamphylia. The most well-known feature within the ruins is the amphitheatre, one of the most well-preserved theatres outside Italy, due to its rich heritage and Roman architecture. Tourists can feel overwhelmed when entering this theatre due to its sheer size of 315 feet, a space so big that the International Opera and Ballet Festival is now held here.
This archaeological site is located on top of a hill, meaning part of the fun is in the climb up to see the ruins, which you can catch a glimpse of in the distance. Once you reach the ruins, you will be confronted with many buildings that were built in and around 155 BC, including Roman aqueducts and ancient basilicas.
Founded in 693 BC, the ancient city of Phaselis was an important trading centre between Greece, Syria and Egypt. The ruins of this port city are located along the coastline and are surrounded by cedar and pine trees. They include an amphitheatre that is still used to this day for the Phaselis Art Days.
This port city has three harbours: The Entrance Port on the north, The Port of War/Protected Port on the north-east and The Port of Sun on the south-west, which was the anchor place for cruising boats at night. In the 13th century, Phaselis was abandoned and what was left (city walls and various other buildings) can still be seen today.
In Side, there are two archaeological sites, the Temple of Apollo and Monumental Fountain.
the Temple of Apollo is perfect for tourists who wish to participate in a romantic experience while re-living history. It was constructed in the 2nd century AD with an antechamber that had two huge Corinthian columns, making it different from other temples. It gets its name from the God of light and music, Apollo.
When travelling into the old town of Side, you may see Monumental Fountain, also known as the Nymphaeum, located opposite the main gate into the city. The Nymphaeum would have been three stories high and housed a water tank, but now all that can be seen is the ground floor. The statues that were on the Nymphaeum are showcased in Side’s Archaeological Museum.
If you are interested in ancient history and architecture, Antalya is a great choice for your next holiday. To book a trip, contact us via our website or call 0800 988 3369.