Perge Ancient City

Perge, the closest ancient Roma city to Antalya center, lies 15 km east of Antalya. It is 2 km north of a small town called Aksu, which has many butcher shops and is famous for its meatballs (Köfte). Perge is also known in some languages as Perga. After the Trojan War, Greek colonists arrived in Perge and displaced earlier inhabitants. A tablet was found at Boğazköy that proved it existed during the Hittite period and was known as ‘Parha'.

Apart from that there is not a lot known about Perge until Alexander the Great arrived in 333 B.C where it prospered greatly under his rule as the Pergeans opened up the gates to the town and allowed it to be used as his base during his Pamphylian campaigns. After his death it eventually came under Roman rule in 133 B.C and this is when it flourished most and indeed most of the ruins that are left today are from that era.

Close to the ampitheatre are the remains of a fairly large stadium which could hold up to 12,000 people. Both of these constructions were built in the 2nd century and lie just outside of the main site. Opposite of the theatre of Perge, there is a big stadium of Perge where horse races took place. The town itself is surrounded by a wall and has some tower fortifications which obviously helped protect the city. The entrance to the city is through a Roman gate built in 4 A.D during the reign of Septimius Serverus and which is still stands impressively today.

After entering the city through that gate there stands another gate from the Hellenistic period which leads to a colonnaded street which leads to a nymphaion, a superbly decorated fountain that was dedicated to the Pergean, Arternis by Severus. Many well preserved statues, including ones of the emperor and his wife, are now on display in Antalya museum. The site also includes an acropolis, baths, a basilica, an agora as well as many shops which site either side of the streets. The site dwindled during the Byzantine era and was eventually abandoned before archaeologists came along in 1945 to renew interest in the site.


Aspendos Antique City and Aspendos Theatre

Aspendos, Turkey, lies on the banks of the Köprüçay river, 47 km (29 miles) east of Antalya, just north of the Mediterranean. It is the location of the best-preserved Ancient theaters in the world.

Originally called Belkis when founded by the Hittites, Aspendos was one of the first cities in the region to strike coinage. On these coins from the fourth and fifth century B.C. the name of the city is written as Estwediiys. Aspendos reached its height in the second and third centuries. Most of the architecture still visible today dates to this golden age, including the magnificent theater constructed under orders of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD). There are also ruins of the aquaduct in the city which brings drinking water of Aspendos (Belkıs) city from 25 km away. During this period Aspendos was an export center, from which its products were primarily gold and silver tapestries, furniture and figurines made from lemon trees, salt from Lake Capria, wine and horses.

At the beginning of the thirteenth century, Aspendos was settled by the Seljuk Turks. During the reign of Alaeddin Keykubat I the theatre was restored and decorated with tiles in Seljuk style and used as a palace. In Addition to the famous theater, the ruins on view in Aspendos include an aqueduct as well as the remains of the town - agora, basilica and stadium. Another sight worth visiting in Aspendos is the Seljuk stone bridge, an 800-year-old feat of Seljuk engineering. It lies 400 meters East of the road from the theater to the highway and crosses the Köprüçay river.

For those who enjoy hiking, the St Paul Trail begins at Aspendos and heads north to the Anatolian plateau via Köprülü Kanyon National Park. There is also the option of iver-rafting on the Köprüçay in this National Park, or of driving to Altinkaya to tour the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Selge.

The theatre today hosts the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival organized by Turkish State Opera and Ballet since 1994. Concerts are also given in the theatre as part of the Antalya Film and Art Festival. The theatre is famous for its acoustics. Even the slightest sound made at the centre of the orchestra can be easily heard as far as the uppermost galleries. Aspendos is crowded with tour groups in the summer; it's preferable to visit on the off season, when the weather is not as hot. If you do visit in summer, try to come early or late in the day to avoid the extreme heat and crowds. But there is an advantage to being in Aspendos in the summer: you have the rare opportunity to see opera and ballet performed in this ancient theater.


Side & Manavgat

The furthest city in the east historical Pamphylia, situated on a peninsular about 1000m long and 400m wide, it fulfilled its duty as a commercial port. Naturally, Side used to be one of the most important trade center in antiquity and now it's one of the most popular holiday resorts in Southern Turkey. The merchants took up the local language, the name Side means pomegranate, the fruit symbolising abundance and fertility. During our time we will visit the Old Colonnaded Streets, Monuments of Fountains, Agora, Dyanisos Temple. The most important ruins are the Roman style amphitheatre and the Temple of Apollo with its huge columns.

After Side with a short drive we move on to Manavgat a waterfall which is approximately 4KM from the center of Manavgat. The waterfalls flows gently into a basin the shape of a horseshoe into the Manavgat River.