The ancient city of Thermessos is located on a plateau at an altitude of 1050 meters, 34 km northeast of Antalya, inside the Güllük Dagi national park. Thermessos is one of Turkey’s most significant ancient cities. With its 4200-seat theatre and hundreds of ancient ruins it is spread over a very wide area. Must be seen.
Located between Kemer and Arasan. After passing Phaselis on the Antalya-Kumluca highway, signposts leading to Olympos will be seen. Çıralı is the name of the port village near Olympos, established in the 2nd century B.C. and abandoned in the 6th century A.D. The famous battle between Bellerophontes and Chimera took place here. An hour's walk from Çıralı passing through a stream bed and a narrow rough slope brings you to Chimera’s unique natural habitat. Chimera, known by the local inhabitants as the “burning mountain” (Yanartaş), is a result of escaping natural gas, whose flames have been shooting for centuries.
One km. after turning south at the 57th km. of the Antalya-Kemer highway, one reaches Phaselis. The city was settled by the Rhodians in the 7th century B.C. and for many years was the most important port city of the eastern Lycian seaboard. A 20-24 m. wide avenue runs throughout the city that has three harbors. Hadrian's Gate is situated at the western end of this avenue. On either side of the avenue there are shops and baths. The city can be reached by land and sea.
Limyra is 11 km. beyond Kumluca on the Finike-Kumluca highway. It is known to have existed in the 5th century B.C. While suffering extensive damage from an earthquake in 141 A.D. Limyra rose again, but unable to withstand the Arab invasions in the 7th and 9th centuries A.D., the inhabitants abandoned the city. It consists of three main parts, namely acropolis, settlement areas and necropolis.
Arycanda is located 26 km. from the Turunçova region on the Finike-Elmali highway. It is not known exactly when Arycanda, which dominated the Akarçay valley and its surroundings, was established. Based on archeological findings it is thought to have existed in the 5th century B.C. Although largely destroyed by an earthquake in 240 A.D., it continued to survive until the 11th century A.D. Many of the buildings of the city, known as Akalanda in Byzantine times, are in a good state of preservation.
Demre is situated 25 km. away from Finike and 48 km. away from Kaş. It was one of the most important six cities of the Lycian civilization. Its foundation goes back to the 5th century B.C. Originally it was a coastal city, but today it is laid off from the coast due to the alluvium brought by Demre stream. It was deserted in the 9th century A.D. as a consequence of Arab invasion. The rock tombs, the theatre and St. Nicholas Church have survived to make it a place worth visiting. The Andriake harbor with its huge granary built by the Emperor Hadrian is connected to Demre.
ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH
St. Nicholas, widely known as Father Christmas, was born in 245 A.D. in Patara near Fethiye and died in 326 A.D. As the well-educated son of a wealthy family, St. Nicholas devoted himself to mankind. Because of the assistance he rendered to those around him, St. Nicholas was known as the protector of children and sailors, and to this day the legend of Father Christmas has continued to live as vividly as ever.
As the Bishop of Demre, by his religious and social work, he solved the problems of the people in a humane way. After he died he was buried in Demre and a church was built there in his memory. In 108 Italian pirates stole some of his bones and took them to Bari. In their haste they left a few behind and these are today on display in the Antalya Museum. The first Father Christmas symposium ever was held on 5-7 December, 1983. This symposium is now held annually and is attended by people from different religions and schools from all over the world. At these symposia, keeping with St. Nicholas’ love of humanity, a call is made to people of different religions and beliefs for peace, friendship and brotherhood.
Simena, the beauty of which lies in the blending of history, sea and sun, can be reached by sea from Üçağız. The ancient remains at the opposite island of Kekova and submerged city lying under the blue and translucent waters of the Mediterranean are worth seeing. There are traces of Roman and other civilizations in Simena, the history of which dates back to the Lycian civilization. A small theatre carved into the rock and Roman city walls are just a few of them.
Today's Kaş is a coastal city of the Lycians. “Phellos” is the Greek word for “stony place” and this name is very well suited to Kaş. Its well preserved rock tombs and theater are worth seeing. Today Kaş is a small and charming coastal town.
Patara is on the Kalkan-Fethiye road, nearly 10 km before Kalkan and is located at the south. The painted ceramics found in the acropolis prove that the city existed in the 5th century B.C. Patara opened its doors to Alexander the Great, thereby earning the status of an important harbour city, in addition to having been the birthplace of St. Nicholas. The triple gateway through which one enters Patara is thought to have been built by the governor Modestus in 100 A.D. One of its most important edifices is its theatre which is now buried under the sand.
Xanthos is the oldest and the largest city of the mountain province of Lycia, settled in the valley of the Xanthos River. Until the Persian invasion in 429 B.C. it was an independent state. When the people of Xanthos, who had bravely tried to defend their city, realized that they could not repulse the invasion, they first killed their women and then committed mass suicide by throwing themselves into the flames. About 80 surviving families and people who immigrated there rebuilt the city, but a fire which broke out about 100 years later razed it to the ground. In spite of this, the city was again rebuilt and, as a result of establishing good relations with the west, was considered as an important centre. However, Xanthos again met with an unfortunate end. As a result of resisting the taxes the Athenians wanted to impose on them the city was largely destroyed and the inhabitants were drawn into a war. And thus Xanthos became “a city of disasters”. The city itself consists of the Lycian acropolis and the parts remaining outside it, as well as the Roman acropolis. The most interesting building is the Roman theatre and the edifices of the theatre's western shoreline. Of these the most famous is the Harpy Monument, which is a family sarcophagus situated on a rock. The original of this relief-decorated sarcophagus is in the British Museum, and a very good copy of this is in its place.
To reach Letoon, you need to turn west one kilometer beyond the road from Kınık to Fethiye and continue 5 km. The history of Letoon is closely linked with that of Xanthos. It is known to have been one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian civilization. Archeological digs have been suspended due to the rising water level. Unearthed remains indicate that they belong to the period between the 7th century B.C. and the 6th century A.D.
The most important edifice is the Greek style theater.
This city is located 18 km east of Antalya between Düden and Aksu streams. As it was not on the coast, it was not subjected to raids by pirates and therefore continued its progress without interruption. In 332 B.C. Perge reached an agreement with Alexander and thus was not involved in war. It lived through the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine epochs. Its 15,000 spectator theatre was built in the 2nd century A.D. With the exception of the Aphrodisias Theater, it is the best preserved masterpiece. There are 30 rooms, believed to have been used as shops, underneath the theater seats. Many great statues and other valuable items, which were unearthed in recent digs, are displayed in the Antalya Museum. Some of the things worth seeing in Perge are the city walls, agora, church and ancient streets.
To reach Sillyon you need to turn north after the 35th km. of the Antalya-Alanya highway and continue 8 km. It was built on an ellipse-shaped table-like plateau rising above the flat plain and, as a result, offers one of the most unique panoramas of the Mediterranean Sea. It was founded in the 4th century B.C. and lived not only through the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods, but was also used by the Seljuk’s. Some of its significant sights are the stadium, Seljuk mosque and the sports arena. But the theater built on a plateau suffered extensive damages from earthquakes.
The history of Aspendos, located 4 km. away from the Antalya-Alanya highway, dates back to the 5th century B.C. Aspendos Theater, which was built in the 2nd century A.D., was periodically repaired by the Seljuk’s who used it as caravansary. Allowing 0.50 m per seat, the theatre holds 17000 spectators, with additional 500 seats for the orchestra. Today it is still used to host various concerts and festivals. In addition to the agora and churches located near the theatre, a 15 km aqueduct is among the most important masterpieces of the roman architecture.
Selge is in the north of Manavgat, 55 km further after the turn from the Antalya-Alanya highway. The road is good up to theKöprülü Canyon, but for the last 12 km. after the ancient bridge, a jeep-type vehicle or a bicycle is recommended. It was built on Köprülü Canyon in the Taurus Mountains at 950m. above sea level. The best preserved edifices are the theater, city walls, the tower, the stadium and the necropolis.
Side is reached by turning right 3 km. before Manavgat on the Antalya-Alanya highway. The exact date of its founding is not known. In the language of Anatolia “Side” means pomegranate. From inscriptions it appears that the history of Side dates back to the Hittite period. The city was constructed on a peninsula and was a Hellenistic and Roman town, protected by city and sea walls. One's attention is particularly drawn to the city gates and walls, as well as many remains of aqueducts which brought water from the foothills of the Taurus Mountains and the surrounding country. One of its most important edifices is its theater with the capacity of 15000 seats. The difference between this Roman Theater and other antique theaters in the region is that it is not built on a hillside. The 2-storey theater, built on a series of arches, is 20 m. high. Rainwater canals run under the theater. Side has many aqueducts, baths, temples and one agora.
Seleukia is an antique city located 23 km. northeast of Side. Archeological digs in Seleukia have been continuing since 1972. The city is particularly famous for its beautiful scenery and pine forests.
Alanya is 135 km east of Antalya. Known in history as Coracesion, it was sometimes considered to be in Cilicia and sometimes in Pamphilia. Beofre the Seljuk’s, the city was not a flourishing one. The places worth seeing and which largely belong to the Seljuk era are the Red Tower, the Alanya museum, Damlataş Cave, sea caves and bedestans or traders market.
It is situated 18 km north-west of Antalya. It was built by order of the Seljuk Sultan Izzettin Keykavus in 1219. There is a large courtyard surrounded by rooms and an ornamental gate facing the west.
Situated 31 km north-west of Antalya. It was built by the Seljuk Sultan Giyasettin Keyhusrev II in 1247 and still survived almost intact. There is a large number of rooms around the central courtyard. There was also a well in the centre. On the northern side there is a very large hall.
30 km before Alanya on the Antalya-Alanya highway there is the turn to Alara Han. It was built by order of the Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat in 1231. It is a very solid construction entered through the gate with inscriptions and lion's heads.
Serapsu Han, situated at a distance of 15 km from Alanya, was built by the Seljuk Sultan Gıyasettin Han (1236-1245). It was constructed on a large area and the stone ceiling is still in a good state. It also has the appearance of a fortress and its ornamental entry gate is on the northern side. Tehre is a small mosque close to the Inn.
The year of construction of the castle, situated on the rock rising straight up from the bed of Alara River, is not known. But it was repaired by the Seljuk’s when they captured it in 1231 and was used for a long time during the Ottoman era. There is a passage of steps carved inside the rock leading to the castle.
Situated at a distance of 31 km north-west of Antalya. Digs have revealed the remains of a settlement over 50,000 years old. It is the largest cave in Turkey to have been inhabited. Some of the findings are on display in the little Karain Museum and others in the pre-history section of the Antalya Museum.
In the cave situated on the sea shore 25 km south-west of Antalya some pre-historic remains were found. In addition, there is a rock-painting in there.
KARATAŞ – SEMAHÖYÜK CAVE
The cave full of stalactites and stalagmites is an ideal place for people suffering from respiratory diseases. The humidity level inside the caves in Alanya reaches 90%.
Full of colorful stalactites and stalagmites and with a constant temperature of 22 to 23C and humidity content of 98 percent, Damlataş Cave has the properties to heal chronic bronchitis.
PHOSPHORUS CAVE, PIRATES CAVE AND LOVERS CAVE
These three caves can be reached by little boats departing from Alanya harbour. The shining colors of the rocks gave the name of the Phosphorus Cave, the Pirates or Girls Cave was the place where pirates imprisoned their female captives, and the Lovers Cave where Cleopatra is supposed to have enjoyed refreshing baths.
ALTINBEŞİK DÜDENSUYU CAVE
The cave located close to Ürünlü village is very difficult to reach. It has been proven that Beyşehir Lake is connected underground to the Altınbeşik Düdensuyu Cave, which has a great scientific significance.