Hellenistic period Termessos
In the Hellenistic period, Termessos gradually "Hellenized," adapting Greek culture, language and even becoming a democracy. The impressive theatre was built during this period, no doubt serving as both entertainment venue and political meeting place. Throughout the period, Termessos was engaged in frequent warfare with its neighbors, often taking on more than one. For its help in his campaign against Selge (c. 158 BC), Attalus II of Pergamum erected the city's elegant stoa (porch).
Termessos passed easily into Roman friendship and later empire. The city received considerable autonomy for its role against King Mithridates. It guarded its privileges jealously; remarkably, its coinage never included either image or title of the Emperors. (This is the source of the tour-guide story that Termessos was never conquered by Alexander or the Romans!) Most of the city's buildings were erected in this period, including a temple to the Emperor Hadrian. At some point the city Christianized, and bishops from Termessos participated in the early church councils, but the city was abandoned between the 5?7 centuries. (Remoteness and earthquakes may have both played their part.) Except for the occasional nomad it lay empty after that, which explains its relatively pristine state.
Termessus was rediscovered by British naturalist Edward Forbes in 1842. The picturesque ruins date mostly from the Roman era, and include a theater, gymnasium, council chamber (bouleterion) and a stoa (donated by Attalus II of Pergamon). Seven temples subsist in various states of disrepair, including temples to Artemis, Zeus Solymeus and the Emperor Hadrian, and the site include an expansive necropolis of rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi in the Lycian style. One of the sarcophagi has been identified as that of Alexander's general Alcetas, driven to suicide by Antigonus in 319, during the wars of the Successors
Perge has some very interesting ruins but suffers from too many tourists due to its proximity to Antalya. Within the old city itself, I found the baths to be the most interesting. The floors and walls are partially exposed allowing you can see how the baths worked. The main room also still has much of the original colorful tile floor intact. The agora was a bit disappointing, a lot of columns, otherwise not much to see. Other than that the amphitheatre and stadium that you pass on the way to the parking lot might be worth a look. The stadium was accessible but the amphitheatre was closed when I was there. No problem though, not too far away is the impressive theatre at Aspendos which is in much better condition. But lots of tourists there too, of course...
Perge - 20 min drive from Antalya
The ancient city of Perge stands on a hillside on the outskirts of Antalya - allow an hour for a visit. The stadium is still in good condition and once held 15,000 spectators. Some of the arched chambers around it were Roman shops - some of them you can still make out the shopkeepers' names. The theatre is formidable combination of Greek and Roman elements.
Antalya...the buffer zone....
The Antalya Region, offering all the mysticism of past in our day, is now called the "Turkish Riviera" due to its archaeological and natural beauties. Antalya is the place where sea, sun, history and nature constitute a perfect harmony and which also includes the most beautiful and clearest coast along the Medditerranean. The city still preserves its importance as a centre throughout history in the south coast of the country, in addition to its wonderful natural beauties. The mythological city which housed the Gods and Goddesses now exhibits all its secrets and marvels to mankind.
Antalya is located in the west of the Medditerranean region. In ancient times it covered all Pamphylia which means "the land of all tribes". The land really deserves the name since it has witnessed many successive civilizations throughout history. In 1st century BC the Pergamum king Attalus ordered his men to find the most beautiful piece of land on earth; he wanted them to find "heaven on earth". After a long search all over the world, they discovered this land and said "This must be 'Heaven' " and King Attalus founded the city giving it the name "Attaleia". From then on many nations kept their eyes on the city. When the Romans took over the Pergamene Kingdom, Attaleia became an outstanding Roman city which the great Roman Emperor Hadrian visited in 130 AD; an arch was built in his honour which is now worth seeing. Then came the Byzantines, after which the Seljuk Turks took over the city in 1207 and gave it a different name, Adalya, and built the Yivli Minaret. The Ottomans followed the Seljuks and finally within the Turkish Republic it became a Turkish city and an important port. Antalya has been growing rapidly since 1960 and its population is 1,146,109 acccording to the 1990 census.
The climate of the province is typical Medditerranean: hot and dry in summers and temperate and rainy in winters. Sunshine is guaranteed from April to October and the winters are pleasantly mild. The humidity is a little bit high, about 64%, and the average water temperature is 21.5 °C. Antalya is really a heavenly place where the summer season is about 8-9 months long.
You may reach Antalya from almost every city of the country, and even from little towns, coach companies going to Antalya are available.
Antalya has an international airport which may connect you to major cities. It has modern facilities including waiting rooms, restaurants, cafebar, and a shopping centre.
When traveling by sea, one can use the AntalyaVenice Ferryboat line.
Antalya and its surrounding is an important and noteworthy touristic centre on the Mediterranean Coast with its perfect climate and splendid harmony of archaeological, historical and natural beauties, throughout the year. Daily tours to surrounding touristic areas like Side, Alanya and Termessos are available, in addition to longer tours to Pamukkale or Cappadocia or anywhere you would like to go. Proffessional tourist guides are also available.
City Walls: The memorial Hadrian Arch and The Clock Tower are remarkable and date back to Hellenistic era.
Kaleici: This is the nucleus of a city which embraced many civilizations during time. It is now restored and has became a most attractive touristic centre with its hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment facilities. Kalei,ci retains all the original ancient Turkish archaeological characteristics. The port's marina has been completely restored and is wellworth visiting. The restoration activities in Kaleici won the Golden Apple Prize, the Oscar of tourism.
Antalya Museum: A prize winning museum and one of the most notable archaeology museums, of the world. It is also the only museum in Turkey with a children's department exhibiting ancient monuments appealing to children.
Hadrian's Gate: This ornamental marble arch was constructed in 2nd century BC by the Romans in honour of the Emperor Hadrian. It is the most amazing area in the whole ancient Pamphylia region.
Kesik Minaret (Broken Minaret): Once a Byzantine Panaglia church, later converted into a mosque.
Yivli Minaret: This fluted minaret of 13th century was built by the Seljuks. Decorated with dark blue and turquouise tiles, the minaret eventually became the symbol of the city.
Karatay Medresesi, Hidirilk Tower, Ahi Yusuf Mescidi, Iskele Mosque, Murat Pasa Mosque, Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Balibey Mosque, Musellim Mosque, Seyh Sinan Efendi Mosque and Osman Efendi Mosque are other places to be visited.
"Han"s are Seljuk or Ottoman inns which have architectural significance. Some worth visiting are the Evdir Han, Klrkoz Han, Alara Han and Castle and Sarapsu (Serapsu) Han.
Termessos: It is a Pisidyan city with remnants of an agora, theatre and an odion. It has a reputation of being the most magnificent necropolis on the Mediterranean, 35 kms northwest of Antalya.
Perge: 18 kms northeast of Antalya. The ruins are spread on two hills, the theatre on one and the acropolis on the other. According to the legend the city was built by three heros from Troy.
Sillyon: 34 kms from Antalya on the Alanya direction. It is situated between Aspendos and Perge and dates back to 4th.century BC.
Aspendos: One of the most important Pamphilian cities. It is situated on the point where the Kopru River meets the sea. Once an important port and a commercal centre, it has a reputation for raising the best horses on earth. The odeon, basilica, galleria and fountains are worth seeing.