This place is established next to the River Aksu-Kestros, 12 km east of Antalya. The name of the city originates from “Parga” meaning “High” during the Luwian/Etruscan era. The most famous Pergean of ancient times is Apollonius who calculated the characteristics of an ellipse in geometry. It is known that the city was within the boundaries of the country Ahhiyawa as a very small settlement unit during the Hittite era. The population of the city, which was established on the south-eastern hillside of the acropolis during early periods increased with those who returned from the Trojan war, with the boundaries extending down to the flatlands. When Alexander the Great seized the city in 330 B.C., the Persian occupation ceased. The temples built in the name of Artemis, the chief goddess of the city that was included within the boundaries of the Roman Empire in the wake of the commotion which took place in the 1st century B.C., and her brother Apollonius, were converted into a church during the early times of Christianity, Artemis being identified with Virgin Mary and Apollonius with Jesus Christ. The city became the missionary centre during early periods of Christianity and new ramparts were added during the Pax Romana era. It was exposed to the invasions and plunders of the Arabic raiders during the 7th century. Upon the Aksu river being filled with alluvia and becoming unsuitable for maritime transportation, thus devoid of marine trade, the people emigrated to other cities and abandoned Perge. The first of the city remains that one encounters is the theatre thought to have been built during the 2nd century A.D. 43 caveas of the theatre with a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators are divided into two through a diazoma in the middle. By building a gallery at the end of the uppermost cavea it was intended to optimize the acoustics. The existence of protective walls between the tiers of seats and the orchestra shows that the theatre was used as an arena during the late Roman era. The stage building has two storeys, with its face embellished with marble reliefs. Legends from the mythological life of Bacuss, God of entertainment and wine, are depicted in relief.The most striking ones are the reliefs and embossings of Kestros, God of river, with Fortuna, Goddess of fate, standing and the friezes depicting a boy bathed by three Pergean women in the river. The U-shaped Stadion located opposite the theatre has a capacity of 25 thousand people and is a Roman era work of art. The building, with dimensions of 34 x 234 metres, was built upon 50 round arches and consists of 17 caveas. The façades of the arches facing outwards were used as sales stores in ancient times and according to the inscriptions discovered, it is understood that the best selling goods were the wooden statues of Artemis. To the North of the Stadion, one comes to a City Gate dating to the late Roman era connecting two watch towers 10 metres high and covered with slabs of marble. The walls behind the gate entrance are also marble-faced, with 4 round-arched built-in niches thought to have contained statues of deities. Through this gate one steps into Septimus Severus Square, 70 metres long. To the right of the square, the ruins of the protocol box are visible. On the left hand side are the remains of a monumental fountain. The surface of the fountain, which is 15 metres high, is worked with the reliefs of Artemis, Aphrodite and Nymph muses and is faced with slabs of marble. A little further ahead, one comes to Palaestra which is a hall belonging to the Roman Bathhouse complex, paved with coloured mosaics on the floor, where gymnastics and wrestling sports were performed. Opposite to this are a small dressing room with niches on its internal walls and next to it, a Frigidarium/cold room with a cold water pool 1 metre deep. Further along one passes into the Tepidarium/warming room, which was also used as a sitting and resting area, and Caldarium/hot room where the floor is marble-faced. This section was heated from below via a Hypocaust/hot air system, a Roman invention. In the corner of the room the remains of the brick columns through which hot air passed are visible. From this section one passes through a narrow door to Sudatorium/steam and sweat room where there are five square marble bathtubs, with marble-facing on all surfaces. During the Roman era bath culture was highly advanced and bathhouses were very important places where bureaucrats of high ranks and merchants met almost every day and spent a major part of the day, and talks and discussions were held on the commercial and political topics of the country and, furthermore, major decisions were taken. As entry of women into these bathhouses was forbidden, all services were provided by men. Going from Septimus Severus Square towards the acropolis, one can access the Hellenistic Gate, the first gate of the city, protected by two large round towers, with a small protocol court in the shape of a horseshoe at the rear. It is thought that there were small wooden chambers serving as dormitories for the watch keepers on the towers. It is understood that the statues of various deities, primarily being the Goddess Artemis and God Apollonius, and Roman emperors used to occupy the niches in the internal surfaces of the walls facing the protocol square behind the towers. In front of the marble triumphal arch with three vaults where the square ends, the statue of the Nun Plangia Magna, the wealthiest woman of the city was erected. From there one passes to the Colonnaded Street. Behind the street is Stoa / Pedestrian Way, 4 metres wide, with shops further behind. The most remarkable columns on the street are the four marble columns with Corinthian capitals, 7 metres high, embellished with reliefs symbolising Apollonius, Artemis, Calchas the hero and Fortuna, Goddess of luck. At the end of the Colonnaded street, Acropolis Nymphaeum/Monumental Fountain, 21 metres long, is visible. In the Acropolis, water cisterns of various sizes were built during the Byzantine era and it is thought that the famous Artemis Pergeia Temple also existed here. Turning southwards from the Colonnaded street, the Agora of a square plan next to the Hellenistic Gate is encountered. The bottom of the pedestrian way in the Agora, surrounded by double rows of granite columns with Corinthian capitals, is embellished with geometrical motifs ornamented with coloured mosaics. Behind the pedestrian way are small shops in the form of interconnected cubicles. The symbol of each shop is worked in relief on the marble on top of the entrance door. There is a round building in the middle of the Agora square and it is thought that this served as the distributor of the water network. The Agora square is also considered as a space where, in ancient times, the urban folk, slaves and people of different social classes met, spent their leisure time, occasionally played dual games of various sorts and discussed the commercial – political problems of the city and performed their public events. The remains of the city’s sewerage system can also be seen towards the South of the Agora square.
On the hill behind Asar Village, 22 km to the east of Antalya, lie the remains of the ancient city of Sillyon. It is understood that its name, in the original Luwian, used to be “Swilwana”, meaning “place with a beautiful pass”. Indeed, the place where the ancient city was located is the flatland, between the sea and the Taurus mountains, with the most striking natural beauty in the area. Sillyon, which was built as an acropolis city on top of Asar Hill by the Etruscan/Luwian clans in around 3000 B.C., experienced the same historical process as the other Pamphylian cities. Its population increased upon the participation of those returning from the Trojan War during the 12th century B.C. and it made its progress during the Pax Romana period and was adorned with a wide variety of buildings. It became the centre of Christianity, subordinated to Perge during the Byzantine epoch, and was set on fire and destroyed by the Arabs who reached to the southern shores of Anatolia during the 7th century A.D. The Turkomans who came to the area towards the end of the 11th century A.D. established a new settlement called Asar Village/ Tepe Village on the southern hillside of the Acropolis hill where the remains of the city existed. The most striking of the city’s remains are the southwest facing castle entrance gate and city walls of the Acropolis. The walls, of which the foundations were laid with Cyclopean stones, were subsequently reinforced with quadrangular block stones. There are various gates on the walls. The ground is paved with stone blocks from the entrance gate up to the city centre and the marks of carriage wheels are visible on them even today. To the north of the walls there is a single-domed small mosque. To the east of the mosque a colonnaded street lined with shops and 3 buildings belonging to the statesmen can be seen. On the entrance gate of the buildings are some remarkable inscriptions declaring the official trading laws of the city in the Luwian language. To the south west of the remains are two fountains and buildings, which were originally court buildings but were converted into a basilica during the Byzantine epoch. To the east the remains of the side wall of a theatre, which has completely disappeared, are visible.
ASPENDOS – BELKIS
This is situated on the hill of an acropolis at a height of 40 metres, right by the side of the river Eurymedon-Köprüçay near the settlement of Serik, east of Antalya. The name of the city in the Luwian/Etruscan language was “Asiawanda” meaning “Country of Horses”. Named Ahhiyawa, or “Asitawada” in the Hittite inscriptions, the history of the city regarded as being within the boundaries of the area; it began as an Acropolis city during about 3000 B.C. The population of the city, which gradually developed and extended beyond the Acropolis, increased with those who returned from the Trojan war in the 12th century B.C. and started to grow. Aspendos was an important trade city because of the convenience of the creek Eurymedon for maritime transportation during the epochs before Christ and the Roman era. The horses bred in the area, salt and cheap wines were the most important export products. As a result of the river gradually being filled with alluvia, marine transportation became impossible and the city remained 6 km inland away from the sea.
The most important work of art surviving from the ancient city of Aspendos is the theatre with a capacity of 12,000, which is understood to have been built by Zenon the Architect as a result of a competition during the Roman era in the 2nd century B.C. The Aspendos Theatre has today been accepted as the best preserved antique theatre with the best acoustics in the world. Entrance into the theatre with the Roman architectural characteristics is through two vomitories on both sides in the form of passageways located between the stage building and the seating tiers. Caveas consisting of a total of 41 tiers are divided into two by diazoma on the 20th tier and magazine chambers have been built on a diazoma where spectators would shop and shelter from the sun. The oval shape of the lower cavea tiers and the annexation of 40 arched galleries, equal in height to the stage building, to the uppermost cavea ensured the optimisation of sound acoustics within the theatre. The carving of some names in the form of gravures on the cavea benches shows that there were regular customers of the theatre. The spectators, after passing the vomitories, could come to the 24m. diameter orchestral court and, from there, reach the upper tiers through 10 steep stone-cut stairs between the caveas. On top of the vomitories, the imperial boxes belonging to the city administrators can be seen. The internal face of the stage building is decorated with columns, with 20 Corinthian capitals at the bottom and 20 Ionic capitals at the top, and these columns are ornamented in-between with niches of various sizes embellished with marble plates and figured reliefs. Statues of Gods and the Roman emperors occupied these niches. On top of the stage building, the relief of Bacuss, God of entertainment and wine, is visible. Actors finishing their preparations in the chambers of various sizes within the stage building appeared, through one big door in the middle and 4 small doors at the sides, on a wooden podium 2 metres high established over the orchestra and performed their plays on this podium. Theatrical plays were generally performed by three people in ancient times and there was a chorus behind the actors consisting of a maximum of 20 people wearing the masks of animal-gods and various mythological heroes. Women were forbidden to take part in the plays. The fact that theatre initially appeared in the name of Bacuss, God of entertainment and wine, through street festivities during vintage times shows that it was a godly rite in its origin. Therefore, during the Hellenistic era theatre actors were respected with a godly faith. Yet during the Roman era, performers were considered as nothing but humiliated actresses. The first play performed at the theatre was tragedia and everybody, including the emperor, and every point could be criticised during the play. The actors, descending down the wooden podium at the end of the play, started a mutual discussion with the spectators and the dialogues on the points criticised continued for hours. It was also the case that the theatres were largely popular among the lay people in ancient times and that the spectators, paying stones or metal chips to enter into the theatre, sometimes spent their entire day there. The Aspendos theatre preserved its true theatrical character during the Byzantine epoch, never having been turned into an arena where bloodshed games were exhibited. The theatre, which served as an outdoor church during the late Byzantine epoch, was used as a caravanserai in the wake of capture of the area by the Turks in the 12th century and until recently, thus surviving the present times in a sound condition. The Antalya Music and Film Festival gala is performed here every year. On the acropolis hill rising behind the theatre gallery, an agora encircled by a double row of columns in the middle and, to the north of this, the remains of a building belonging to the city administration measuring 16 m in height with 5 niches on the façade, are visible. The wall projection of the building is carried by a pair of columns and it is thought that this place was also used as a single-basin fountain. To the South of Agora, it is thought that there used to be a magazine with shops inside the big rectangular structure. It is understood that, to the South of this structure, there was a waste water canal within a vaulted corridor. To the North of Agora, the quadrangular structure with walls measuring 2 m in height was used as an Orthodox Basilica annexed to the magazine building during the Byzantine epoch. To the West of Agora, a complex of small shops lined next to each other with a gallery behind and, in front of these shops, a Stoa thought to have been covered with a block of architrave rising above the columns are visible. The shops are two-storey, with the second storeys carried by the columns. The acropolis city gate situated at the northern hillside of the acropolis exhibits the Roman architectural characteristics. Immediately to the North of the theatre is the Stadion built upon arches. The stadion, of which the western side was built into the acropolis hillside, rises above vaulted galleries in the east. It is understood that in the stadion with a seating capacity of 10,000, races with single chariots drawn by the horses bred in Aspendos were highly popular. To the east of the Stadion is a tomb house with a sarchophagus visible inside. Advancing from this tomb house towards the aqueducts it is possible to see the sarcophagi embellished with various figures. A little further on one notices the tombstones with names engraved in the Luwian/Etruscan language, which are embellished with various Anatolian flower motifs. Another of the most important remains of the ancient city Aspendos surviving up to this day is the Aqueduct carrying spring water from the Taurus mountains and valleys at a distance of 25 km from the city. These water conduits, functioning on the principle of combined containers, were built upon aqueducts of 15 m on level plateaus and 30 m on certain points and were at places built double-storeyed, with high towers added at turning points. These aqueducts are considered today among the best examples of the Roman era aqueducts in the world. Over Eurymedon/Köprü Çay there is a bridge with foundations built of block stones during the Roman epoch which was later rebuilt by the Seljuks with eight pointed arches upon ruined foundations. It was in front of this bridge that the Persians were defeated in the sea battle fought against the league navy under the command of Cimon in 469 B.C. and, thus, the league navy stated to consist of 800 galleys won the first great sea victory in the world. After this victory the Persians were also defeated in the wars fought on land in Anatolia and they started to retreat from Anatolia. Today there are touristic shopping centres and trout restaurants on the banks of the Creek.
The remains of the Ancient City of Selge at an altitude of 1250 m on the Taurus Mountains are located within the settlement unit of Zerk Village / Altýnkaya. The area, enjoying the beauties of a deep canyon, waterfalls and mountains between pine forests is an ideal site for photographers. It is thought that the name Selge was derived from “Salaga” meaning “deep valley” in the Luwian/Etruscan language. Moreover, according to the Gök Turk/Turquoise phonetic writing Selge means Usoluðu-Suoluðu (Water Gutter-Wisdom Gutter). The city is reached by passing the 2 m wide Moka Bridge, made of a single large arch and stone blocks. According to the Hittite inscriptions, the area is situated within the Pithassa/Pisidia region. The city folk reputed for their fighting merits and heroic acts sided with the Trojan King Hector during the Trojan War, exacted tribute on some cities and, during the Persian occupation, served as mercenaries for them. The most important historical event of the city is the war of Pednelisos waged against Pednelisos in the north in which the city retreated, accepting the heavy conditions of the war. Later they were subordinated to King Amintas of the Galatians, which was a Nordic tribe just like themselves, except that in every epoch they used and maintained their own language. During the Byzantine epoch Vikings within the Byzantine army rebelled against the Byzantium and upon losing the battle fought against the Byzantine army, they escaped towards the Selge area, thus causing their traces to disappear. Owing to the displacement of the overland trade route which gradually connected Central Anatolia with the Pamphylian littoral towards Kremna and Ariassos, and the pillages, the people abandoned Selge and settled down by the coastal cities. It is understood that Selge was encircled with walls all around and that between the walls it had a great city gate, guarded by watch towers on both sides. The most important remains are the theatre, where there were 30 caveas on the lower floor and 15 caveas on the upper floor, and passage between caveas was ensured by 12 steep stairs. The spectators’ section is divided in the middle by a wide diazoma and the armchairs made of block stones on the diazoma are striking. According to the inscriptions, it is understood that competitions were organized here every 4 years and that the statues of the champion sportsmen were erected. In the godly space to the West are the remains of the chief god Zeus and his temples and in the south are those of the Temple of Sanda, Anatolian God of Masculinity and War. In the lower part of the godly space a water cistern used to collect rain water is visible. To the east of the ancient city was an Agora measuring 50x50 m in dimension, open on the southern side, with rows of shops on the other three sides surrounded by columns. The 120 m long structure to the north is thought to have been a basilica dating to the Byzantine era. Furthest east is the Necropolis of the city. On the northern slope of the Necropolis hill three great tomb houses are visible which have partly survived until the present time.
75 km along the Antalya-Alanya motorway one goes in a seaward direction for 3km to reach Selimiye. Selimiye, which is located upon a peninsula bearing the same name is situated on the ruins of the city of Side. The area is favoured by Turkish tourism with excellent holiday villages and hotels on the shores of Titreyengöl and Kumköy. Along with the sea, sand and sun tourists are offered cultural, hunting, natural, yachting, mountain, rafting, camp tourism and jeep-safari tours. According to Anatolian mythology, Side, Goddess of Nature and Fertility, taking her little daughter, goes to the valley of the river Manauwa/Manavgat together with the Nymphs. As she is picking flowers with the Nymphs, Side comes across a tree with thin branches, bright leaves and colourful flowers and breaks off the tree branch to give to her little daughter. Blood starts to drip from the branch. At that instant Side understands that it was actually a Nymph, disguising herself as a tree in order to protect herself from the ill-willed humans chasing her, and becomes very sad. She wants to walk away quickly. Her feet get stuck in the ground, buried under the earth, and she cannot move. Starting with her feet, her body begins to form a thin layer of bark and to take the shape of a tree. The nymphs, becoming sad at this, weep and wet Side’s roots. Saying what she did was a mistake she tells the Nymphs: “I will hereafter be a symbol of nature, life and fertility with my rich fruit the colour of blood; do bring my daughter here often, so she will play under my shade. Let her not damage any tree. Maybe every tree or flower is a God in disguise.” So, the Side peninsula is filled with the trees of Side believed to have formed as such according to mythology. It is known that the name Side means “Pomegranate” in the Luwian/Etruscan language. It is understood that the name Side, as written in the Gök Turk alphabet, is ýþ.ot.oðhu – ýþýk otaðý/ýþýklý otað-Iþotað (light tent/lighted tent) which passed into French as “Chateau”, English as “City”, German as “Stadt” and Italian as “Citta”, and used to mean “city”. The fact that the origin of the language of Side includes Luwian characteristics testifies that the history of the city dates back to around 4000 B.C. It is thought that the people of Side were engaged in fishing and maritime trade on a small scale during this time. The population of the city increased with the immigration of the various Anatolian peoples returning from the Trojan War to Side. The city which remained within the boundaries of western Cilicia of the Kizzuwatna Late Hittite principality during the 9th century B.C. joined the Lydian league in the 7th century and went under Persian sovereignty in 546 B.C. The city, which opened its gates to the Macedonian King Alexander the Great without resistance in 334 B.C., was forced to add Hellenistic cultural elements to daily life. Moreover, religious faiths also changed. Athena was identified with the Anatolian Mother Goddess, Kybele and Apollon with the Moon God, Men. The city passed to the Kingdom of Pergamum for some time and then, becoming a base for pirate attacks early in the 1st century B.C., the biggest slave market of the Mediterranean was established. Upon the clearance of the Mediterranean shores from pirates it was annexed to the Roman lands and during the Pax Romana era it reached the peak of its progress. After the 5th century A.D. it became the bishopric centre and some of the temples were transformed into Orthodox churches. From the 7th century onwards it was exposed to and ruined and destroyed by the Arab raids and the city people immigrated to the capital of the Pamphylian region, Attaleia. Because of the sand erosion advancing towards the eastern gate and the earthquakes of the 9th and 12th centuries the city was razed to the ground. The Turks who came to the area in 1207 settled down in the northeast of the ancient city. The area which remained within the Seljuk boundaries until the 14th century was annexed to the Ottoman lands in 1391. The Turks who recently immigrated from the island of Crete settled down here and founded a village named Selimiye at the end of the peninsula. What is noteworthy upon entering the city are the remains of the city walls and entrance gate. The remains of the Aqueduct carrying water to Side are seen near the gate. In front of the remains are the ruins of a great, three-storeyed monumental fountain, 15 m high and 35 m wide, covered with marble embellished with geometrical and plant motifs on the façade. On the façade of the fountain are the niches in the form of oyster shells between the columns with Corinthian capitals visible. The Colonnaded Street, 250 m long, has today been asphalt-covered and the remains of the houses on both sides of the street are in the form of small chambers, fountain and toilet places lined around an inner hall. The great agora of the city lies at the end of the colonnaded street and has a square structure measuring 92x92. To the South of the Agora surrounded by shops all around, in the middle of the place where the temple of Fortuna, God of Luck and Trade can be seen, is a Latrine/Public Toilet for 24 people with marble-facing and an arch made of brick. The Side Theatre with a seating capacity of 16,000 adjoining the Agora was constructed at the narrowest point of the peninsula. The seating tiers in semicircular form with a diameter of 120 m are divided into two sections by a diazoma. Connections for passage take the form of 12 steep flights of steps between the 29 caveas on the lower section and 22 caveas on the upper section. The protocol used to sit in the imperial box located in the middle of the upper caveas. With the lower sections of the caveas hollowed concavely in semicircular form it was intended to improve acoustics. The orchestra of the theatre is in semicircular form with a diameter of 15m and a narrow channel is visible around the earth floor. Excavations are still under way in the theatre, which was ruined and destroyed as a result of the Arab raids during the 8th century A.D. and of which the stage building subsequently fell down onto the orchestra during an earthquake. The 9 chambers lined next to each other on the lower floor were closed with iron railings during the Late Roman Epoch and used as cages for wild animals and gladiators. The chambers on the upper floor, on the other hand, served as dressing and resting rooms for actors. The plane surfaces on the lower section were decorated with friezes depicting the mythological instants of Bacuss, god of wine and entertainment. This theatre was used for outdoor rites during the Byzantine era. To the northwest of the theatre is the single-basin Vespesian Fountain, 15 m high and 7 m wide, with the façade covered with marble facing and embellished with 8 Corinthian capitals. To the west side of the theatre, the temple of Bacuss with a cella measuring 12x6 m is visible. In the great port bathhouse to the southwest are 4 big halls, 3 small chambers and two gymnasiums. In close proximity of the great port bathhouse the Temple of Men, built in the name of Men, the Anatolian moon god, is located. Clearly, of the two temples with adjacent peripteral structures located at the southern end of the Side peninsula, the one in the east belongs to Apollon, god of light, art and beauty and the one in the west belongs to Athena, goddess of science, truth and virginity and daughter of Zeus. The temple constructed in the name of Apollon measures 17x30 m and is of quadrangular form and has columns with Corinthian capitals, 8,90 m high and measuring 6x11, around it. So-called “triglyphical” friezes of lions’ feet are visible between the medusa heads on the marble block on the columns. The Temple of Athena, on the other hand, has dimensions of 20x35 m and is encircled with Corinthian columns of the same height as the Temple of Apollon. It was believed that these temples protected and guided the Side port and Side ships. During the Byzantine Era a basilica was constructed to the North of these two temples, that is, on Temenos. The Port located at the furthest Southern end of the peninsula was of great importance for a city such as Side engaged in marine commerce. The bathhouse complex built during the Roman epoch was transformed into Side Museum as a result of the restorations of recent years, where sarcophagi, columns, busts, Torcho inscriptions, statues, statue pedestals, capitals, friezes, reliefs and stelae unearthed during excavations are visible. The section which is viewed as a garden today was actually the gymnasium / palaestra courtyard of the Roman Bathhouse. The most notable work of art in the courtyard is the series of friezes depicting the mythological instants of Poseidon, god of the sea. In a section close to the middle of the cold water pool in the bathhouse, also called Agora Bathhouse, there is a sun-dial placed during the Roman epoch. In the tepidarium hall, within 9 big arched niches there are statues of gods, emperors, women, men, children and torsos and busts. The most important of these is the statue of Hermes, 1.65 m high, the guardian god of merchants and thieves. 3 marble sarcophagi belonging to the Roman era are seen in the middle of the hall. The combined marble statues of three beauties, depicting the mythological beauty contest between Athena, Aphrodite and Hera as causing the start of the Trojan War are also in front of the pool. The most important find in the museum is the inscription named Artemon and written in the Luwian/Etruscan alphabet. A large part of the city’s necropolis is underneath the sand. As a result of the excavation searches conducted during recent years it is understood that the two-storey building recovered in the eastern quarter was the Cosmas Hospital, which Justinianus ordered to be constructed during the Byzantine era in the 6th century and where patients with leprosy were treated. The first excavations around Side and its peninsula were started by Prof.A.Müfit Mansel in 1947 and continued by Prof. Jale Ýnan and excavation and restoration activities are still underway. Side has been taken under the protection of UNESCO.
To the northwest of Manavgat are the remains of the ancient city of Seleukeia, situated within the Þýhlar settlement unit. The city is known to have been founded as a fortified acropolis town to be used as a final defence and protection site in the case of an attack on Side. Upon the capture of Side by pirates in the 2nd century B.C., a number of the people immigrated to Seleukeia. The bronze statue of Apollon understood to have been built during this era is on display in the Antalya Museum. During the Pax Romana period, on the other hand, acropolis cities eventually lost their former importance. The first of the remains are the city walls understood to have been built between two straits. It is understood that the walls were built at a height of 9 m, and the 5 m high city gate was located in the middle. There is a quadrangular agora behind the gate. In the southeastern part of the Agora is the odeon with 6 seating benches where, in addition to music concerts, the meetings of the administrative council of the city are held. In the northwestern part of the Agora one can see a chapel with a single apsis with polygonal external apsis walls, understood to have been built during the Byzantine era. In the north of the Agora, 20 meters ahead, are the remains of a Temple of Apollon with a single cella and marble podium. It is understood from the stones of ruined walls in front of the temple that a further inner wall was built as a result of the dangers involved during the periods that followed. On the western slope of the land where the remains were found is a sacred cave where baptism rituals were carried out in ancient times, which still holds drinking water even today. To the west of the cave, on the slope are the remains of a Roman bathhouse complex with mosaic laid floor consisting of three main sections in the middle and various chambers at the sides. To the southwest of the bathhouse is a great basilica with coloured marble slabs on the floor under which are sarcophagi are found. ALARA AND ALARA HANThe caravans travelling from Alaiye to Antalya and Konya have been staying at Alara Han (Inn) from the Middle Ages until recent times. The quadrangular caravanserai, with dimensions of 38x50 metres, located on the first plain to the eastern bank of Alara Creek, was built of dressed stone blocks with symbols visible thereon, except for the eastern walls. The Inn was reinforced by triangular and quadrangular struts on three façades. To the north is a portal embellished with lion’s head relief, crowned with a depressed arch. On the inscription consisting of six lines over the portal, after many attributes exalting the Sultan Alaaddin the date of 1232 is given. One passes through the courtyard behind the portal to the bedrooms and a large courtyard with a masjid and fountain. The chambers have a ceiling formed of cradle vaults with a light hole. Travellers used to sit and chat in the exedras, which had pointed arches. Stables in the form of vaulted galleries encircle the inn on three façades. Small windows were opened on the rear walls of the chambers where passengers could talk to their servants or see the animals. In the inn are the only examples in Seljuk architecture of oil lamp consoles with the form of a lion’s head carved on the face. The entrance to Alara Han, two small quadrangular towers built on both sides of the portal, had oil embrasures and shields on the walls for security. The great hall of the inn, which is ornamented, is covered with star shaped vaults. Today the caravanserai has been restored true to its authentic original and touristic Turkish Nights are organized. THE ALARA FORTRESS was built on an elevation of 300 m in the eastern direction at the point where the creek abandons the valley during the Byzantine Era. This Acropolis Fortress built to control the passageway connecting Central Anatolia to the Mediterranean was seized by bandits and used as a centre of plunder during various epochs. Hidden galleries descending down to Alara Creek through the Castle are visible. Touristic canoeing and rafting tours are organised on Alara Creek today. The area is well-known for its banana plantations.
PHASELIS / TEKIROVA
Travelling from Antalya along the coastal highway in the direction of Finike, after the 60th km descending to the sea for another 2 km, the peninsula where the ancient city of Phaselis lies can be reached. The city is established upon a peninsula with three small bays. The maquis, Mediterranean flowers, eucalyptus and oleander trees are noticeable in the ancient city covered with pine forests all around. The beach of the northern port of the city is a natural egg-laying site of caretta caretta turtles and is under protection. It is reckoned that the name of the city was “Phasala/Paassala” meaning “Sea Urbanism” in the Luwian language. As a matter of fact, the Phoenicians who were engaged in maritime trade defined the city as a “seaside city spared by God”. The fact that the history of the area dates back to around 4000 B.C. is reckoned from the Luwian characteristics in the area. In Termessos established at an elevation of 900 m on the mountains, liquid products such as wine and olive oil flowed in the canals carved into rocky slopes along the mountain sides to Phasala. The liquid products flowing in the canals of which the traces are still distinguishable were poured into amphoras and pitchers at the port and shipped to the Mediterranean countries. Moreover, the fame of the numerous Mediterranean flowers growing in the area where the city lay spread throughout the ancient world. The city, which produced and exported perfumes and flower oil, matched the Paris city of today. To this small port city, of which the population increased upon the immigration of the Anatolian people returning from the Trojan War during the 12th century B.C., joined the Rhodians in about 690 B.C., thereby starting the main urbanisation. It was stated that, with the dominance of Hellenic cultural elements in daily life, the city was set up by those coming from Rhodes. However, this cannot be true. The reason being that colonists, irrespective of where they came from and to whichever city on the Anatolian shores they emigrated to, found the cities to have previously been established by the Anatolian people. Therefore, the account given by the Hellenic historians that the peninsula upon which Phaselis was established was purchased by the Rhodian colonists from a shepherd in the area against dried fish is absurd.
It is an ancient city in ruins located to the west of Antalya and north of Finike, in close proximity to the Arif village. The remains of Arykanda, which are worth a visit, are half an hour’s walk away. It is known that the name of the city in the Luwian/Etruscan language was “Arukawanda/Aruwawanda” meaning “People having an Altar”. Arykanda, which was an acropolis city, was, after the hegemonies of Lycia, Persia, Macedonia, Ptolemaios, Seleucia and Rhodes, subordinated to Rome in 43 A.D. After a great earthquake during the Byzantine epoch the city moved to the area known as Ortaçay. Today, the most important relic to survive from the ancient city of Arykanda is the theatre with 20 caveas, built directly upon the natural ground during the 2nd century A.D. Classical music concerts are organized at the theatre every year. In front of the theatre is an odeon with a portico, paved with mosaics on the floor, and to the west are the remains of a bouleterion, gymnasium and a Roman bathhouse. In the eastern necropolis of the city are Lycian sarcophagi and house-type tomb chambers embellished with friezes. The rock tombs lie to the west. The area is well-known for its Arykanda water spring.
Located at the southeastern end of the Teke peninsula, the plain of Demre is formed by the alluvia carried by Demre creek as it springs from the slopes of Mount Akdað and reaches the sea, carrying with it the soil of Kasaba plain. The remains of the ancient city of Myra, established at a point where the semicircular plain of Demre, formed by the arc of the Taurus Mountains towards the north which then bends towards the sea, joins the hillside are reached by passing through the district. Demre is today one of the foremost touristic centres of the region thanks to, primarily, the Church of St. Nicholas and its unique rock tombs as well as the splendid coast. In the Luwian/Etruscan language the name of the city is found to be “Maura” which meant “Place of the Great Mother Goddess”. Over the years it changed, first to “Mura” and then to Myra. Moreover, the name Myra can be meaningfully read in the old Gök Turk writing. Accordingly, the name Myra can be read as “place of Amay” meaning “place of Amay Mother-Great Mother”. Lying on the slope of the mountains, surrounding the plain of Demre in the northwest, facing the sea, the remains of the acropolis city can be seen. The walls of the acropolis, at an elevation of 200 m, were built of Cyclopean stones. It is understood that the history of the area, referred to as Termilia in the Lycian inscriptions, dates back to several thousand years B.C. After the establishment of the Lycian Federation during the 7th century B.C. the city people moved down from the acropolis and settled on the plain where the current remains of the ancient city are found. Myra minted its first coin with a depiction of the mother goddess on it during the 4th century B.C. Myra, which was one of the major cities of the Lycian Federation, having the right of three votes, remained under Persian occupation until 300 B.C. and was then captured by pirates. At the point where Myra creek, dried up today, flowed into the Mediterranean after running through the city there was a port settlement unit named Andriake. Due to the unsuitability of the river bed for ship transportation, the ships entering the river could go right into the city of Myra. Thus the city, with its highly developed maritime commerce, was exposed to invasions during various periods. Therefore, in order to protect Myra, essentially a major city, thick chains were drawn at the mouth of the river in the port of Andriake to prevent the entry of enemy ships in times of danger. When these chains were broken by the Roman Lentulus in 42 B.C. the city was seized by the Romans. Myra enjoyed the peak of its prosperity when it was adorned with various structures during the Pax Romana era. The city, which was promoted to the status of a metropolis during the Byzantine period in the 2nd century A.D., became a major centre of Christianity and achieved great fame as a result of the efforts of a bishop named St. Nicholas who lived during the 4th century. When St. Nicholas died here a church was built in his name. The city, which sustained damages as a result of the Arab raids during the 7th and 9th centuries, remained under Arab occupation for a while and when Turks came to the area during the late 11th century they settled down on the flatland in front of the Ancient City of Myra and established today’s district of Demre. Today Demre is the centre of citrus fruit groves and greenhouses. The remains of the antique city lie in the area called Kocademre located 1 km to the north of the district. The first notable work in the area where the remains are found is the theatre. The theatre, with a diameter of 110 m, reckoned to have been rebuilt in the 2nd century A.D. upon the remains of the small theatre which existed previously, bears the architectural characteristics of the Roman era. In front of the theatre, next to the creek Demre, it is thought that a large Agora existed, surrounded by Doric order columns. The Agora square, which also appears to have been used as a theatre square, is today entirely buried under the silt. Theatre tiers were built into the side of the acropolis hill and two vomitory spectator entrance sites, in which flights of stone steps rising equal to the stage building in height can be seen. Spectators entering the theatre at these points came to the diazoma and from the diazoma they reached, again via flights of vertical stone steps, the lower and upper caveas. The caveas are divided into two by a diazoma measuring 3 m in width, with 29 tiers on the lower section and 9 tiers on the upper section. In the very midst of the diazoma is a relief of Fortune, Goddess of Luck, on the wall at the point corresponding to the apsis. An apsis to be drawn from this relief corresponds exactly to the midpoint of the orchestra. A stone protection wall built at a height of 2 m during the late Roman epoch indicates that the Theatre was also used as an arena for gladiator combat and wild animals during this era. It appears that the stage building was two-storeyed and that on the first floor of the front façade arched niches between columns of Ionic orders were faced with marble plates embellished with rich plant reliefs. Furthermore, the lower section of the podium of the stage building is embellished with friezes ornamented with theatre masks, reliefs and various plants. At the entrance of the theatre is an inscription giving information on the funding and rebuilding, by Opramoas from Rodiapolis, of the theatre which was ruined as a result of the great earthquake in 141 A.D. On an inscription found on the ground at the southern entrance of the theatre, on the other hand, is an obelisk setting out the import and export conditions of the city. Although the foundation of the acropolis walls located immediately to the north of the theatre dates back to very ancient eras, it is understood that their upper part was rebuilt in the 6th century B.C. To the western side of the walls made of dressed stone using the polygonal technique is the old city gate, 4 m wide by 9 m high, visible. Towers were built on both sides of the gate. To the eastern slope of the acropolis, on the other hand, are the remains of an aqueduct, 20 km long. It is reckoned that through the connections of water canals built by rock-carving at occasional places this aqueduct carried fresh water from the tablelands in the north into the city. In ancient times the antique city of Myra was protected in its environs by several walls at various points up to Andriake, its port connection, and along Demre creek, and by way of building guard and watch towers at specific points its river trade was intended to be taken under protection. The most important ruin of the ancient city of Myra visible today is the Necropolis full of Lycian rock tombs, the only one of its kind in the world. As Lycians believed that, after death, the spirits of humans would be taken by a winged angel and brought first to the heavens and then underground to hell, or Hades, to be questioned, they always put their dead into sarcophagi placed on a high rocky podium or in the rock tombs carved into the rock face high up on the mountains. These rock tombs, also found in Myra, have been carved into a sheer slope facing east. These house-type tombs carved into the front façades had one or several chambers and the dead were placed into the chamber, again onto a rock-carved podium, together with their favourite articles, jewellery, clothes and food. The rock tombs had a single entrance which was closed with a large boulder. On the face of the rock tombs are reliefs about the professions of the dead when they were alive. Inscriptions on the tombs were all written in the Lycian language and spaces between tombs were interconnected via stone steps. A rock tomb located at the topmost point with the façade carved in the form of a columnar temple is notable for its reliefs. Here, the family members, wife and children of the dead are stylised in clothing of the era and he himself in his warrior’s outfits. Various instants from the person’s life are depicted. Going westwards one arrives at a rock tomb on which the relief of two warriors is carved. Here, an instant in which a warrior behind, with a shield in his right hand, chases a soldier in front of him is illustrated. East of the theatre the remains of a bathhouse can be seen, with three arches and high chambers, 36 m wide and built of brick in three sections with a large arched door at the entrance. There are shops selling authentic local souvenirs, cafeterias and restaurants in the area where the remains are found. ST. NICHOLAS- FATHER CHRISTMAS St. Nicholas, who was born in Patara in around 300 A.D., served as a bishop in the city of Myra where he died. St. Nicholas, who was believed to have worked various miracles in his time, was regarded as the greatest protector and guard of sailors, merchants, the poor and wretched, and, above all, children. Even today, he is believed to bring presents to children in the whole Christian world on Christmas Day every year. In the western world, Father Christmas is portrayed differently in different Christian countries depending on their respective geographical characteristics: In Scandinavian countries he is portrayed bringing presents to children riding on a sleigh drawn by reindeer whereas in the Mediterranean countries he is pictured in his red costume delivering his presents by entering through the door and down chimneys. Indeed, we should point out that the origin of these Christmas celebrations on December 25th dates back to very ancient times, that is, to the pagan holiday celebrations of the “Rise of the Invisible Sun/Amon Ra”. As a matter of fact, the mass, referred to as “Natalis Invecni Soli” in Latin, celebrating the start of winter, continued to be practiced until the 3rd century A.D. when it was adopted by the Christians. St. Nicholas, who was essentially a humanist bishop and is understood to have adopted a lifestyle that emphasised love among people, was born in Patara as the child of a rich family. His parents were the richest family of the city and they had very strong religious beliefs. Nicholas, who stood upright when washed in the basin as a baby, was nursed by his mother only on Wednesdays and Fridays. In his youth, instead of playing with his friends, he used to go to the church regularly and study the sacred script. Later, he studied theology at the monastery in Xanthos. After the death of his parents, he dedicated his life to helping people. One day, he was deeply affected by what he heard while passing by his neighbour’s house in Myra and decided to do something about it. The tale of his first deed is as follows: His neighbour was a very devout but extremely poor man with three daughters. He had no money for dowry for his daughters and according to the customs of the day a dowry was necessary for girls to marry. He did not know what to do and blamed himself for his poverty thinking that he was being punished for his sins. He prayed day and night. His daughters kept telling him that he should sell himself at the slave market to get the money for their dowry. Hearing this conversation, Nicholas threw a bag of gold through the window and walked away. The next night, he threw in another bag of gold but this time his neighbour spotted him. He came running after Nicholas and fell on his knees to thank him. Nicholas told his neighbour never to mention his good deed to anybody. During this time, there was an election for a bishop in the church in Myra. Since there were many nominees, it was taking a long time to elect one. One night, the oldest member of the church council had a revelation. A voice told him that a person named Nicholas would be the first one to enter through the door of the church to attend the mass next morning and that he should become the bishop. Indeed, Nicholas would be the first one to come to the morning mass and he was immediately seated in the chair for bishops. While he was a bishop, he treated everyone the same. His advice was convincing and he talked quickly but softly. He used to pray day and night, and stayed away from gatherings of women. He represented Myra in the Iznik Council in 325 A.D. One day, a group of sailors, who had never met Nicholas, but had heard of his reputation, was caught in a storm and their ship was about to sink. They began to pray and ask for the help of Nicholas. Suddenly, they saw his apparition which told them, “Look, I am here. You have called me and I will help you”. The storm subsided quickly and the apparition helped them repair the broken ship mast and the torn sail. When the sailors reached Myra, they went directly to the church to thank Nicholas. When he heard the sailors’ story, Nicholas said, “It wasn’t me who helped you; It was God’s gift to you in return of your strong belief in Him.” While Nicholas was a bishop in Myra, famine broke out in the area. One day he heard that one of the ships which had stopped in the harbour of Myra on its way to Alexandria, was carrying wheat. He asked the sailors to give the wheat to the citizens of Myra but they refused saying that the wheat belonged to the emperor and that they were not authorized to give it away. When Nicholas convinced them that they had nothing to worry about and that he would pray for them, they let him take and distribute that wheat to the starving people. There was enough wheat to feed them for two years. When the ship reached Alexandria and its storage compartments were opened, the sailors saw that there was no wheat missing and the compartments were full to the rim. Through legends and miracles such as these, Nicholas became famous all over the world. With his generosity and love for people, he won the hearts of people everywhere and he was canonized after his death. In Europe, he was considered the protector of many cities, too. Today, St. Nicholas Celebrations in Myra take place every year on December 6. In 1955, a postage stamp was issued in Turkey to honour Santa Claus and since 1981 international symposiums have been organized on his life by the Ministry of Tourism. It is hoped that celebrations such as these will establish strong relations between the eastern and western worlds, improve human relations and contribute to world peace. For this reason, a Peace Park was built in Demre in 1993. The Church of St. Nicholas The temple which had been built to honor Artemis Euthera (formerly Cybele, the mother goddess of Anatolia) collapsed in a major earthquake in the 2nd century A.D. It is presumed that an Orthodox church was built in the Byzantine era over the remains of this temple. We know that St. Nicholas died on December 6, 343 and his body was put in a marble Roman sarcophagus which was placed in the central apse on the South side of the church. During the Arab raids and invasions between the 7th and 9th centuries A.D. directed at the Southern Mediterranean, this church, too, was destroyed. In 1087, during the turbulent years of the late Byzantine era, the Italian merchants from Bari, who came to the area, broke the sarcophagus and took St. Nicholas’ remains to Italy. The thieves, in their hurry, left behind a few bones of the Saint which are on display in the Antalya Museum today. In the following years, the Russian czarina bought the land where the church is, and later the Russians repaired the church and its dome. A white marble sarcophagus, decorated with reliefs of various kinds of plants and ornamentations, is seen in the middle apse on the south side of the church. It belonged to St. Nicholas. The church is basically built like a basilica in the shape of an Orthodox cross. The large main section is in the centre and it is covered by a dome. On each side of the main section, there are two side halls, and on the southern side, there is a small square room and two corner rooms. The dome in the middle covering the main section is supported on the sides by semidomes. The main section is polygonal on the outside and has a window with a straight arch. A synthronon with 9 caveas, placed on an arched vestibule, is seen in the main section. Arched doorways lead to the side halls which give access to the other sections on the sides. The floors of these side rooms are covered either with coloured mosaics or with stone. Frescoes, on the way to extinction, are seen on the walls. They depict various religious events. The semicircular small apse of two small chapels are seen in the east. The small rooms added on during the Byzantine era are in the north and it appears that these were used for different purposes. There is a garden, surrounded by tall walls, at the end of the small rooms. Byzantine column capitals, pieces of marble reliefs, and sarcophagi are seen in the garden. In a corner of the garden, there is a rectangular basin and it is presumed that it was used to store the holy water. The church stayed under the silt for many years. After it was unearthed, it was repaired many times and survived up to the present time. The Turks who settled in the area respected St. Nicholas and did not damage the church.
ANDRIAKE/PORT OF MYRA
The most prominent ruin of Andriake, a harbour town annexed to the city of Myra and located at the point where Demre creek flows into the sea, is the rectangular Granarium, which consists of eight rooms. Next to the entrance gate of the structure consisting of 7 sections are the busts of Roman Emperor Hadrian and Empress Sabina, leaning on ornamented blocks. In the centre of the second gate, there are the reliefs of Sarapis and Pluton. Information pertaining to trade and customs is stated in the inscription below the reliefs. The remains of state buildings, houses, the Lycian type sarcophagi in the necropolis and two Byzantine churches, the apses of which can be distinguished, and aqueducts are seen in the city. Other ancient remains are under the silt. This area called Çayaðzý today is the starting point of daily boat tours to Kekova. Located to the northwest of the beach where there are touristic fish restaurants is Demre Mineral Springs (spa) at a temperature of 15º improving the human organism and beneficial to suffers of skin diseases.
Travelling westward from Demre to Kaþ and reaching the main highway which after the 6th km heads towards the south, one arrives at the Sura Village consisting of a few houses by the side of the road. To the west of the village are the remains of the acropolis city Sura situated on top of the hill, 80 metres high. The name Sura is derived from the word “Soaura” which meant “great and sacred Swa/Soa” in the Luwian/Etruscan language. As a matter of fact, in ancient times, there used to be a temple dedicated to Men, the Anatolian Moon and Light god, and a centre for prophecy in the city. Apollon, formerly Men, was, as in the whole of Lycia, venerated in this area, too, and names of the temple and the centre for prophecy became “Apollon Soura”. According to Painus’ account, the monks in the prophecy temple used to dip pieces of fish on skewers in the water and prophesize according to the shapes of the fish within the water. According to the 6th century Lycian inscription found in a rock tomb on the hill of the acropolis, Sura was a member of the Lycian Federation and it was the foremost Apollon sanctuary and centre for prophecy in the eastern Lycian region. During the Persian and Roman eras, Sura continued to be considered a sacred city. When Christianity spread in Anatolia, a Byzantine chapel with a single apse was built in the north of the Temple of Apollon and the temple for prophecy and it was used as an Orthodox basilica. Sura’s popularity began to decline as the Church of St. Nicholas in Myra became popular and the church became a place of pilgrimage. The eastern and western sides of the acropolis are bordered by thick walls. Defense towers are seen on the eastern and western acropolis city walls. A Lycian type sarcophagus is seen in the southeast of the acropolis and right across it, there is a rock tomb with an inscription in Lycian on its façade. The Temple of Apollon and the centre for prophecy are reached by going down the steps carved out of rock in the north of the acropolis. Columns with Doric capitals are used to surround the temple built in the form of a templum in antis. The remains of a Byzantine chapel with a single apse are seen in the north of the temple. Additionally, the remains of a lookout tower are found outside the city walls near the main road.
Located to the southernmost point of the Teke peninsula, at the tip of the bay of the same name, is the settlement of Kaþ. The town has become a true centre for tourism thanks to its increasing touristic potential during the recent years. The origin of the name of the city is traced back to the “Aprillans”, kinsmen of Lukka/Lycians among the Nordic tribes who migrated to Anatolia, moving down to the south in 3000s B.C. The Aprillans first settled in Vehinda, which was a Luwian settlement, at an altitude of 900 m from the sea, and enlarged it with a population increase and renamed it Phellos. It began thriving. Later on, they felt the need to get involved in shipping trade and thus, they moved to the shore from tableland and settled in the small Habesuwa/Habesos harbour complex established by Luwians where Kaþ is today. They adorned the harbour with various structures and they also renamed the harbour Antiphellos meaning “Opposite Phellos” in order to avoid any presumptions that it is a separate settlement from Phellos, their main city. The flourishing “Opposite Phellos” became the most important trade centre of the area. In time, the city declined and was abandoned as was the case with all other Lukka/Lycian cities. During late 11th century Kýnýk Turks of Tekeoðullarý came to the area and settled down in Kasaba and Gömbe first. Later, without spoiling the original name of the city of Antiphellos they removed Phellos and started pronouncing it as “Karþý” in short. This word became “Karþ” and then “Kaþ” in time. As stated before, the history of the city starts with the “Aprillans” during 3000s B.C. The ancient wooden book belonging to Nefertiti is the best evidence of the relations between the Lycian coastal cities aand Egypt. The city which joined the Lycian Federation in the 6th century B.C. was subsequently captured by pirates. It started developing after it was included within the borders of the Roman Empire. The first ancient remains in the city are the 7 metre-tall and 500 metre-long walls of the quay made of block stones, and they stretch in the east-west direction along the shore. To the north of these walls, the remains of a square temple with a 5 metre-tall stone podium attract the attention. The prostylos temple has one cella and it was used as a chapel during the Byzantine era. A small theatre with 26 rows of seats is seen in the west of the city. The caveas have retained their original height. The seats lean on an arched semicircular gallery. There is a mausoleum built in Doric style behind the theatre. The sides of the 2 metre-high entrance to the mausoleum are made to resemble those of a door’s and the entrance appears to have been closed by a stone. A frieze, depicting 21 small women holding hands and dancing, with wind-blown skirts, is seen on the back of the stone podium on which the deceased was placed. The necropolis of the city stretches in a north-west direction. Many sarcophagi and rock tombs are seen in the necropolis. The most attractive sarcophagus as preserved up to the present day is the one in the city centre, consisting of three sections, which is 1.5 metres high, house-like and embellished with carvings.
Kalkan, located to the southernmost end of the Teke peninsula, by the small bay of the same name, is a new settlement unit. Obviously, the first settlers of the area were the Tekelioðlu Turkomans who first immigrated to the Gömbe and Elmalý plateaux and, then, moving down to the south, settled and built their villages in the Eþen Valley and the Yeþilköy-Fýrnaz plains. Some of the Turkomans who settled in Yeþilköy laid the foundations of today’s district of Kalkan which is by the bay on the other side of the hill of the same name in the east of the village. For years, Kalkan remained as a small community annexed to Yeþilköy. In recent years, however, due to the very low rate of humidity of its fine air and the hotel, motel and pension house businesses, fish restaurants, cafeterias and marina, it has become a popular centre for tourism. Located in the east of Kalkan is the KAPUTAÞ BEACH with its strand measuring 60 m long by 20 m wide between the sheer falez rocks of 25 m height, is the best known natural bay formed by the Taurus mountains running perpendicular to the shore. In the east of the beach is the BLUE CAVE, with a diameter of 60x70 m, having a pebbly strand and formed of sea erosion beneath the falez rocks. The cave is accessible by touristic boats.
PATARA / GELEMÝÞ
Travelling from Kaþ to Fethiye one arrives at the village Gelemiþ at the southern point of the plain Xanthos-Eþen. Scattered in the marshy area and among the dunes of sand of the coast exposed to sand erosion remains of the ancient city Patara are seen. The name of the city is “Padaura” in the Luwian/Etruscan language. The word “pa” means “water” and “ura” means “ground” and accordingly, the name of the city means “marshy ground / river ground”. It appears that the inlet extending up to the Taurus Mountains in the north during prehistorical times was filled with the silt carried by the creek Patara in time and thus, formed a small bay. In times of antiquity, various structures were built around the bay and the area was used as the harbour of the city of Xanthos, capital of the Lycian region. The city which grew with the influx of people from other Lycian cities later came to be known as “Ptari”. The city minted its first coin during the Lycian era. It thrived greatly and built a great temple in honour of the god Apollon. It became the second largest centre of oracle/prophecy of the Mediterranean. Patara was occupied by the Persians during the 5th century. It opened its gates to Alexander in 333 B.C. Subsequently, it passed into the hands of the Egyptians, Seleucids and Rhodians. Finally, it was included within the Lycian Federation. It is one of the 6 great cities within the Federation. During the Pax Romana era, on the other hand, when the maritime commerce developed, it became a harbour where the cereals carried from Anatolia were stored and shipped. When Apollon came to be identified with Jesus Christ it became a religious centre and a place frequented by the Christian saints. The harbour was entirely filled up with the silt carried by the creek Patara and turned into a marshland. The remains were largely covered with sand as a result of erosion. There is a lighthouse in the west of the harbour. Inscriptions in the Lycian language are found on this structure which is assumed to be two-storeyed. The structure contains a cereals silo / granarium consisting of 8 chambers in equal sizes. To the north of the granarium a mausoleum is visible. Its front façade is embellished with four columns. An aqueduct, 6 m high, appears to have carried water to the city from Letoon. In the necropolis a Lycian type monumental tomb and stone-carved sarcophagi having inscriptions in the Lycian language are seen. Down from the necropolis towards the sea the city entrance gate in the form of a triumphal arch is visible. It appears that the triumphal arch was built by the Lycian people in the name of Modestus, the Lycian Governor. In the western side of the triumphal arch a stone podium was unearthed in an earth mass. The existence of a ceramic belonging to the classical era and an Apollon head suggests that here was the foundation of the famous Apollon Temple. In the south there are the remains of a Roman Bathhouse comprising five large rooms. In the north of the bathhouse are the remains of a Byzantine basilica visible. It is claimed that the basilica was built on the foundations of the house where St.Nicholaus was born. He was born in Patara, but, engaged in his religious activities in Myra and died there. To the west of it is the temple belonging to Fortuna, goddess of luck and trade. The theatre of the city partially remains submerged in the sand dunes because of erosion. Theatre caveas comprise 34 tiers and are divided in the middle by a diazoma. The stage building which is 30 m high is two-storeyed. At the lower section 5 doors are visible through which performers went on the podium as well as 5 windows above them. According to an inscription found here the front façade of the stage building was marble faced. Again, an inscription found here informs us that the building was financed by a Pataran woman with the name of Vilia Prucula in 147 A.D. and that in addition to the statues of various deities her statue also existed on the lower section of the stage building. Tombs and remains of tombs are seen on the acropolis hill. Among the remains of tombs a square water cistern in the form of a pit with a diameter of 10 m descended through flights of stone-cut steps is visible. It was used to collect rainwater. On the hill facing the sea are the remains of the Temple of Athena. A large part of the ancient remains is buried by marshes and sand today. As a result of the excavations carried out by Prof. F. Iþýk some important remains of the city were recovered. These consist of house-like tombs, sarcophagi and the Temple of Apollon located at the entrance area into the city. A roadside guiding monument was found named Stadiasmus consisting of 41 stone blocks showing the distance between 70 Lycian cities. Today, the Patara area is under protection. All kinds of accomodation services are provided to tourists without damaging the natural and cultural structures. Its charming beach of fine sand extending for kilometres-long is ideal for daily touristic excursions. As this coast is the egg-laying site of the Caretta turtles during certain times it is taken under protection at those times.
PINARA – MÝNARE
To the west of the highway Antalya – Fethiye, after passing by the town Eþen and climbing up the village Minare 5 km to the south, one arrives at the remains of the ancient city Pýnara. Obviously, the city was “Pinale”, a Luwian settlement, thousands of years old. The abundance of round form rocks in the south of the Cragus mountains and the meaning of the name Pinale being “round” in the original language confirm this thesis. The population of Pinale which was established as an acropolis city increased with those returning from the Troian War and those immigrating from Xanthos. During the 6th century Pýnara which was a leading city of the Lycian Federation was occupied by the Persians. In 334 B.C., on the other hand, it did not resist to Alexander. Later on, it was included in the Lycian Federation and minted its first coin. Even though it became semi-independent during the epoch of the Kingdom of Pergamum, it was subsequently annexed to the Roman lands. Pýnara became the centre of bishopric in the Byzantine era. It declined in importance and was abandoned in the 9th century. Behind the acropolis walls forming a round site, water cisterns were built used to collect rainwater. On the mountain surface upwards hundreds of rock tombs and hollows of tombs are visible. Acropolis walls stand up to a height of 4 m at places. To the west of the agora square in the south-north direction there is a large building belonging to the city’s statesmen. Adjacent to the building, there is an odeon with 13 tiers of seats and a seating capacity of 700, enclosed with walls on four sides where both concerts were performed and the city council meetings were held. The bathhouse was built of an interesting style. It consists of three adjoining chambers of square plan and an apse. It was constructed of a style rather unusual in Lycia. The theatre was built outside of the city walls. It had a seating capacity of 5 thousand and its 27 caveas were built upon a rocky mass. There are 10 vertical flights of steps on them. Opening from the long and thin stage building of square plan into the orchestra there are five doors with columns of Doric order visible at the sides of the doors. It appears that the city walls were restored at places during the Byzantine era. During this era an episcopal church was also constructed of square plan and with a single apse.
XANTHOS / KINIK
At the 5th km of the highway Kaþ – Fethiye, the remains of the ancient city of Xanthos are visible upon a hill at a height of 100 m on the eastern bank of the creek Eþen flowing through the village Kýnýk. The name of the city is “Sindawana” in the Luwian/Etruscan language, meaning “the place of the mother goddess Sindan”. Subsequently, as a result of a phonetic change this name became Xanthos, meaning “yellow” in the Hellenic language. The city was set up by the Etruscans/Luwians. During the Lycian era it was named as Arnna for a while. The population of the city increased with the coming of those returning from the Troian War along with the other Anatolian peoples. Xanthos which served as the capital of the Lycian Federation established in the 6th century B.C. was besieged by Harpago, the Persian Commander, in 540 B.C. Xanthians who clung to their independence courageously resisted to the occupiers. When rendered helpless they gathered women and children in a building on the acropolis and set it on fire and they themselves committed suicide by jumping off from the acropolis, 100 m high, into the creek Xanthos. 80 families who happened to be elsewhere during this time of mass suicide returned to the city after a while and rebuilt the city. In 334 B.C. they resisted to Alexander, the Macedonian King, the way they did to Persians, however, in the end, they had to yield. Subsequently, the city passed into the hands of the Egyptians, Seleucids and Rhodians. In 168 B.C. it was included within the re-established Lycian Federation. With the maritime commerce thriving, the city went beyond the borders of acropolis and was adorned with new structures. In 42 B.C. when the Roman Brutus besieged the city, the city folks, in the way their ancestors did centuries ago, set the city on fire in order to prevent the capturing of their women and children by the enemy and committed suicide. According to the story the Romans were touched by this event and they saved 150 people from those. In 41 B.C. Emperor Marcus Antonius encouraged the development of the city and Xanthos which earned the appreciation of the Roman Emperors during the Pax Romana epoch attained its heydays. The city became the episcopal centre during the Byzantine era. It was ruined and abandoned after the Arab raids following the 7th century A.D. Advancing through the village towards the north, the remains of the acropolis walls are seen. Climbing up from here one arrives at the agora of square plan. The obelisk/inscribed rock in the square is erected upon a great burial chamber. The epigraph is inscribed in the Luwian/Etruscan language and has a monolithic, prismatic structure. It has 250 lines and is inscribed on all four sides of the massive rock. It is about the heroic acts of Lycians in their war with the Persians. In the south of the square is the theatre of which the foundations were laid during the 2nd century A.D.. It was built as it appears today during the Lycian era. Opramoas, of Rhodiapolis, donated 30 thousand Denarii to the construction of the theatre. The caveas of the theatre with a seating capacity of 8 thousand are divided into two with a diazoma. There are 16 tiers at the lower and 4 tiers at the upper sections. The façade of the two-storeyed stage building is embellished with columns and reliefs. It has 5 stage doors on the lower floor. Immediately to the west of the theatre towering are two monumental tombs considered as the symbol of Xanthos, capital of Lycia. The first one of these is the Harpies Monument. It is in the form of a burial chamber placed upon a block stone rising upon a prismatic monolithic pillar, 8 m high. It is embellished with the reliefs of descriptions of the family of a Lycian hero, three men, women, pomegranade and siren. Their originals were smuggled to the British Museum in London and are on display in the hall of the same name there. The monument adjacent to this one is the stone podium and the Lycian type sarcophagus established upon a prismatic burial chamber, 5 m high. On the other side of the theatre the remains of a palace and water cisterns used to collect rainwater are noteworthy. The main upper part of the famous Nereid Monument is in the British Museum in London. The depiction of 12 dancing female Nereids in the reliefs gave this name to the monument. The city has two necropolises with lion’s figures. On the western side the second agora of the city and the remains of a basilica built during the Byzantine era are visible. Touristic canoeing and rafting tours are organized on the creek Eþen today. LETOON /
To the west of Xanthos-Creek Eþen located are the remains of the ancient city Letoon within the settlement Kumluova. The name of the city is “Ladauwa” in the Luwian/Etruscan original, meaning “worshipping place of the mother goddess Lada”. History of this sacred place dates back to thousands of years before Christ. The Mother Goddess Cult found everywhere in Anatolia unavoidably took root in Lycia, too.
The remains of the ancient city Tlos lie in the southern direction of the town Kemer, within the village Kale. The city was founded as an acropolis city with the name of Tlawa in the Luwian period. It commands a view over the roads in the valley of Xanthos. Tlos which became a metropolis and was adorned with various structures during the Roman era was inhabited until the 19th century. The springs of the creek Eþen flow through steep and narrow rocks in-between the deep valleys of the Taurus mountains from Altýnyayla in the south of the ancient city Tlos. On the descent into the plain they run crashing down the sheer-cliffed narrow valley which is called Saklýkent catching the eye with its natural beauties. The valley is good for rafting and safari hiking. There are trout restaurants and picnic sites at the entrance of the valley.