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Antique Cities in Turkey

Antique Cities in Turkey

If you are interested in the history of the place where you spend your holiday in Turkey, we suggest you visit the ancient cities which are the open air museums of Turkey.

Adana Navarzaadana

This site which was known as Caesarea or Anazarbus during the times of the Roman Empire, is 28 km to the south of the Kozan District of the Adana province. The small village built just outside the antique city walls is Dilekkaya..

We have practically no knowledge of the history of the city before the Roman Empire era. It was named Caesarea by Emperor Augustus who visited the city in 19 B.C. and it started to be known as “Caesarea near Anazarbus”.

Anavarza did not show any significant presence during the first two centuries of the Roman Empire period and was shadowed by Tarsus, the capital of the Cilicia state. Tarsus managed to survive to the present times but lost the majority of its historical monuments. The city Isos, which the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus entered with Pescennius Niger and sided with Severus during the power struggle, was rewarded when the Emperor won his battle in 192 A.D. and became the sole ruler of the empire, started to enjoy its days of glory.


Adiyaman Nemrut

The Nemrut mountainside with the tumulus containing the tomb of King Antiochus of the Commagene Kingdom and several giant statues was inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1987.


Nemrut Mountain is also known as the highest open-air museum in the world. With its enchanting statues standing ten metres high, and meters long inscriptions and the ancient Commagene sanctuary, it is situated in the Kahta county of Adiyaman province.

Nemrut Mountain was one the most majestic place of worship in ancient Anatolia. According to the inscriptions, Antiochus built a monumental tomb, a tumulus of cut stones built over the tomb, and terraces along the three edges of the tumulus.

Those terraces are known as the East, West and North Terraces. On the East and West Terraces are giant statues, inscriptions and reliefs. Five statues depict the gods, and, among the deities, the figure of Antiochus.


Antalya AspendosAntalya Aspendos

Aspendos Located in the second kilometer of the road turning to North at the 44th km. of Antalya – Alanya highway, Aspendos is famous for having the best-preserved Roman Theatre not only in Anatolia but also in the whole Mediterranean world. The city is situated over a flat hill nearby the Köprüçay (Eurymedon) River, one of the largest rivers of the region.

It is called Estvediys in the ancient coins descended from the 5th century B.C. The Anatolian-origin name proves that the city had inhabitants in ancient times. Today, Aspendos, which owes its access to the Mediterranean Sea and its development to the river nearby and the fertile lands, is visited by tourists mostly for its theatre and the waterways. Other remains from the city are situated over the hill behind the theatre. The hill is accessible through a path which has been set out in recent years. With its architectural features and well-preserved structure, Aspendos Theatre is one of the most prominent examples of the Roman Era theatres today


Antalya PataraAntalya Patara

Patara is found on the Kalkan-Fethiye road, nearly 10 km before Kalkan, and is located at the south. The colorful ceramics in the center of the city reveal that the history of the city reaches back to 5 B.C. Besides its being the birth place of St. Nicholas, it was one of the most important seaports during the times of Alexander the Great. Three gated city walls, one of which leads to Patara, was constructed by the governor Modestus in 110 A.D. One of the most important remains is the theater which is currently buried under the crystal clear sandy beaches of Patara.


Bodrum Pedesa


Pedesa is four kilometres away from Bodrum, on the top of a hill covered with trees. As there is no road, you can only get there on foot. For those who are interested, this trip will give them a pleasant hike and great satisfaction. The ruins can be seen on the top of the hill, within a circle of 150 metres in diameter. The remains are generally of the walls and the inner castle. To the south and south east of this area, you can see tombs in the style of the Lelegs.



The archaic city of Stratonikeia lies in the borders of the Eskihisar Village on Yatagan – Milas highway that is 6 – 7 km to the west of Yatagan District of Mugla.The city was established in the 3rd century B.C. The Syrian King Seleukos I, gave his wife Stratonike to his son Antiokhos. Antiokhos established a city in the name of Stratonike, who was first his step mother, and then his wife. According to Strabon, who was a traveler and a writer, the city was full of very beautiful buildings. From the coins obtained during the excavations, it is understood that Stratonikeia coins had been minted since the date of its gaining its independence from Rhodes in 167 B.C. and continued until the Gallienus period (253 – 268 AD).The acropolis of the city is at the top of a mountain in the south. This top is surrounded with a wall. Ruins of a small temple constructed for the emperor can be seen on a terrace on the noth slope of the mountain, just below the highway of today.


Bodrum TelmissosBodrum Telmissos

Telmissos is on the Bodrum-Turgutreis road, three kilometres past Ortakent. The site is in the village of Gürece, which is two kilometres before the turn for Gümüslük, with the hill where the remains are to be found to the north of the main road. You can see remains of the Hellenistic period, mainly the towers of the city’s walls. The historian Herodotus said that the Temple of Apollo was found here, and that it became famous for its oracles. However, no traces of the temple have survived.


Cesme ErythraiCesme Erythrai

Çesme is a port of the ancient city, Erythrai, which was formerly known as Cyssus in ancient times. It was an important settlement area, in the 6th century BC. The city developed its trade by establishing relations with Egypt, Cyprus and western countries. The Erythrai Ancient City, excavated in (the village of) Cesme-Ildiri, composes of a Castle, Caravanserai and many fountains from Ottoman Period, as well as other examples of civil architecture. Today, the remains of the Acropolis can be seen on top of the hill which is in the city centre.Small statuettes offered to the Temple of Athena Pallas were found during the excavations in the Acropolis. One of the most important finds is the statue of a woman belonging to Archaic Age. It is on display in the Izmir Museum of Archaeology.


izmir-pergamonIzmir Pergamon

Located 100 km from north of Izmir in the Bakirçay river basin, Bergama is one of the Turkey’s oldest civilized settlements, which has been inhabited from pre-historic times through the Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. It has yielded archeological treasures whose importance is recognized world-wide.To the southwest of Bergama, Asclepion, an important health center of the ancient world, the acropolis founded on top of a steep hill (300 m) and the Temple of Serapis (Kizil Avlu) make this area a fascinating stop for history-loving tourists. The Altar of Zeus was smuggled to Germany in 1897.



The military arsenal is at the north end of the acropolis, on the other side of the palaces and the Trajaneun, approximately 10m from downhill. There are five compartments, all parallel to one another.


Zeugma Cityzeugma city

Ancient Zeugma City is located in Belkis Village 10 km east from Nizip / Gaziantep, by the River Euphrates. Importance of this settlement which demonstrates an uninterrupted in habiting since prehistorical ages, is that it is one of the two points allowing the easiest passage across the River Euphrates. “Zeugma” already stands for a term like “bridge head” or “passage location”. The city is an important trade center of Hellenistic Era. After the region started to be ruled by Rome, importance of the city increased upon settlement of a military garrison called IV th Legion. Artistic activities increased and a cultural development is achieved in Zeugma parallel to progress in trade volume.

The first scientific study which proved that Zeugma is the same place as modern Belkis, was published in 1917. The excavation studies in tah Ancient City was started in 1992 under the management of Gaziantep Museum Directorate of the Ministry of Culture, General Directorate of Monuments and Museums. French archeology team joined the studies from 1996. Number of villas found since 1992 reached 7. Over 1000 m² base mosaic have been found during the excavations performed up to now. During the studies in the region which will fall within the lake area, a Mars statue which is 1.55 m tall was found on May 03, 2000. Many frescos (wall) picture), mosaics, small objects [seals belonging to Rome administrative system, bronze coins, oil-lamps, marble statues] and ruins of architectural structures have been found during 1999 and 2000. Portable ones of those were moved to Gaziantep Museum Directorate.


side seleukeia lyrbe Side Seleukeia Lyrba

To the northwest of Manavgat are the remains of the ancient city of Seleukeia, situated within the Sihlar settlement area. 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 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 rectangular 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 a marble podium. It is understood from the stones of ruined walls in front of the temple, that an inner wall was built as further protection from attacks involved during the periods that followed. On the western slope of the land, the remains of a sacred cave were found, in which baptism rituals were carried out in ancient times


Kusadasi Kolophon and NationKusadasi Kolophon and Nation

Kolophon (Degirmendere) is one of the twelve Ionic cities. Although it had a strong navy and cavalry force, because of the many wars that it had been involved in, it has been ruled by the forces of Lydia, Persia, Macedonia and even by sea pirates during certain periods of time.

When Kolophon was destroyed by Lysimakhos in 302 B.C., its neighbouring city, Notion (Ahmetbeyli) consequently gained importance. This city which claimed Homer’s citizenship, was also famous with its Klaros Temple and the oracle centre.


kemer olympos turkeyKemer Olympos

Olympos is located on the Antalya-Finike road. In order to go to Olympos, it is necessary to make a turn from Ulupinar, when a sign pointing to the ruins can be seen. A narrow but beautiful road leads to the beach of Olympos. In order to get to the ruins, one must pass the creek and walk a little on a wide beach which will take you to the creek that passes across Olympos. Olympos was set up in the Hellenistic period. Coins from the city, which were printed in the second century B.C., have been found during excavations. In 100 B.C., Olympos became one of the six leading cities that had the right to vote. In the first century B.C., pirates became so fond of the city that Olympos almost became a settlement area for the pirates. In 78 B.C., the Roman commander Servilius Isaurieus drove out the pirates and added the city to Roman territory. During the Roman era, the city became very famous with the cult of the blacksmith god Vulcan (Hephaestus) in nearby Çirali, where natural gases keep a number of flames burning perpetually.
Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, who helped restore all the Lycian cities in the second century B.C., also gave a hand to Olympos. He helped in the repair and restoration of many buildings in the city. In this way, Olympos had the most prosperous era of its history during this century. After this golden era, pirates continued to trouble the city. As a result of various attacks made by these pirates, the wealthy city became poorer and lost its significance. After this, the city survived only as a small, insignificant city.


foca phokaia turkeyFoca Phokaia

The first natives of the Ancient Phokaia settlement in the place of today’s Old Foça are the immigrants who came from the Phokis environs in Greece. Phokaia and its two ports had significantly grown and had become one of the most important harbor-cities of the ancient times. The city lost strength during the Persian rule in West Anatolia. Afterwards, although the city maintained its independent status, the damage caused by the Persians was so devastating that

Phokaia never regained its original magnificence.


Featured Antique Cities in Turkey
Anavarza Antique City, Adana
Arsameia Ruins, Adiyaman
Archaeological Site of Perge, Antalya
Aspendos, Antalya
Termessos, Antalya (2000)
Xanthos – Letoon, Antalya
Patara, Antalya
Daglik, Antalya
Selinus, Antalya
Demre (Myra), Antalya
Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa
Limyra, Antalya
Antiphellos, Antalya
Aphrodisias, Aydin
Pedesa in Bodrum, Mugla
Telmissos in Bodrum, Mugla
Stratonikeia in Bodrum, Mugla
Musgebi in Bodrum, Mugla
Kedriai Ancient City in Bodrum, Mugla
Lagina in Bodrum, Mugla
Archaeological Site Of Sagalassos, Burdur
Assos, Canakkale
Archaeological Site of Troy, Canakkale
Historical Ruins in Cappadocia, Nevsehir
Erythrai in Cesme, Izmir
Alacahoyuk, Corum
Hattusas, Corum
Telmessos in Fethiye, Mugla
Phokaia in Foca, Izmir
Pergamon, Izmir
Ephesus Antique City in Selcuk, Izmir
Sardis in Salihli, Manisa
Ruins of Ani, Kars
Kekova Ancient City, Kas, Antalya
Phaselis in Kemer, Antalya
Olympos in Kemer, Antalya
Chimera in Kemer, Antalya
Catalhoyuk, Konya
Archaic City Kilistra, Konya
Karahoyuk, Konya
Astra Archaic City, Konya
Kolophon and Notion in Kusadasi, Aydin
Lagina Hekate in Yatagan, Mugla
Ancient City of Hierapolis, Denizli
Tripolis, Denizli
Selge in Side, Antalya
Ancient Side, Antalya
Seleukeia in Side, Antalya
Etenna in Side, Antalya
Laodicea, Denizli
Ancient Zeugma City, Gaziantep
Miletos, Aydin
Aizanoi Ancient City, Kutahya

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