Turning off the Antalya-Alanya road at kilometer 30 in the direction of the village of Belkis we come to the best-preserved ancient theater in Turkey. Aspendos was also used as a caravansarai in later years. Caravansarai's are found on the silk route every 27km.
This ancient city in the Serik province of Antalya still hosts many concerts in its great amphitheater with superb acoustics.Built in second century A.D.
It has seating for an audince of between 15.000-20.000.
Aspendos theatre is the best preserved and one of the largest in Anatolia.
Aspendos amphitheatre is one of the many sites to see in Asia Minor and one of the best preserved. It has a shape of semi circles with diameters of 95 metres. It has capability of seating for 7000 spectators.
Around 155 BC Zenon the Greek architect built the amphitheatre dedicated to the Gods and the Roman imperial family Marcus Aurelius. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius Aspendos city became prosperous and the amphitheatre was the central culture and economical welfare for the rich Romans. The imperial family and other rich Romans were entertained by operatic play, the Gladiators, wild animals fighting to the death.
The Seljuk’s Empire restored the amphitheatre and was used as caravanserai. The theatre is still used today, the theatre acoustics, stage decorations all testimony to the Greek architect success.
Once called Belkis, the Seljuk Bridge on the Eurymedon River, 2 km south of the Aspendos.
It was built on the old ruins of Roman bridge legs by Anatolia Selcuk Emperor Alaadin Keykubat (1219 – 1236) in the 13th century.
Restoration by Turkish Region Highway Administration between 1996 – 1998.
The ancient city of Aspendos, located 30 miles (45 km) east of Antalya, traces it's beginnings back to the 5th century B.C. Over the centuries several empires controlled the city, including the Persians, the empire of Alexander the Great, and the Romans. The city saw its glory days during the first centuries A.D., when the Romans built many large structures here, including an agora marketplace, a huge aquaduct, and the famous Aspendos theater, which is one of the most well-preserved theaters of antiquity. The theater, designed by the architect Zenon and completed in 155 A.D., sits against a hill and is semi-circular in design. It is so well preserved that concerts are still performed here to this day, with seating available for some 15,000 people! Quite amazing for a structure nearing its 2,000 year birthday!
The Aspendos aqueduct is a one kilometer-long series of 15 meter-high arches which brought water to the city from the mountains at the north.
The water was brought from the source in a channel made of stone blocks on top of the arches and it was collected at the ends of the aqueduct in 30 meters high towers.
The theatre of Aspendos, partially built into the slope of a hill, is the most complete example of a Roman theatre.
The entrance today is made through a door later opened in the façade, but the original entrances were located at both ends of the stage.
The cavea is semicircular in shape and divided in two by a large diazoma and there are 21 rows of seats above and 20 below.
It is said that the capacity of the theatre was between 10,000 and 12,000 people
The women usually sat on the upper rows under the gallery, while the seats in the upper cavea were reserved for important persons.
Aspendos, like most of the other Pamphylian cities, reached its height in the second and third centuries AD.
Although the city was not on the coast, it was located on the banks of river Eurymedon which allowed ships to reach Aspendos.
Among the famous Aspendians we ca count: Andromachos who was a famous military commander and the governor of Phoenicia and Syria and the philosopher Diodorus, known because he wore long hair and dirty clothes.
If you travel to Antalya, You should not pass Aspendos without visiting.. , Aspendos located beside the river Köprüçay, is renowned throughout the world for its magnificent ancient amphitheatre. Situated a little way off the Antalya - Alanya main road just after Serik the city of Aspendos dates back to the 5th century BC. The Seljuks later used this extremely well preserved Roman amphitheatre, which was built around the 2nd century AD, as a caravanserai. With a seating capacity of around 10-12,000, it is still used today to host spectacular concerts, ballets and other significant events.
The surrounding district of Aspendos is called as Belkis today. And there are regular tours to Aspendos from Antalya, else you can take a bus, probably Antalya- Alanya bus and stop at Belkis at the highway.. There are taxis going to Aspendos, but you can also walk ( A tough walking nearly 4 Km ) depending the weather condition...
The historical theater of Aspendos
It dates back to the 5th century B.C. The theater which was built in the 2nd century A.D. was periodically repaired by the Seljuks who used it as a caravansaray. It is one of the best preserved theaters to be found today. Allowing 0.50 m. per seat, the theater holds 7000 spectators, with an additional 500 in the orchestra. Today it is used for concerts, festivals and grease wrestling events. In addition to the theater the agora, basilica, nymphaeum and 15 km. of aqueducts are to be seen.
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