Side was not only the most important harbour of Pamphylia in ancient times, but also of the Mediterranean region. Established on a peninsula, its magnificent theatre, agora (market area), a monumental fountain, and the remains of baths used as a museum today, parts of city walls and the colonnaded street are still quite well preserved. Located at the south-eastern end of the peninsula, the Apollo Temple was restored by clearing the surrounding area and by lifting up a few of its columns. Nowadays this monument is a preferred venue for hosting cultural events. And of course 30 kilometres away from the city, parts of the huge aqueduct carrying water from the springs of the Melas (Manavgat River) remain standing today.
The harbour of Side often silted up making shipping very difficult, and required continual dredging to keep it open—so much so that in ancient times the Roman phrase ‘a harbour of Side’ was used to refer to a job that is never done.
Side could not offer resistance against Alexander the Great, who entered the region in the second half of the 4th century BC and whose inhabitants gave in to all the demands of this powerful king. According to sources, Alexander turned towards Aspendos when he learned that the people of Side had yielded to his demands.
In 190 BC, the people of Side witnessed the naval battle and defeat of the Carthaginian general Hannibal against the navy of the city state of Rhodes, who were allied with the Romans. The symbol of the city was the “pomegranate” which was prominently inscribed on coins and monuments.
Alongside the piracy activities mentioned in the Alanya section above, it is also written that the largest slave market was set up in Side and that the inhabitants of Side made a lot of profit from the slave trade though they were castigated by neighbouring cities. It is not difficult to guess that the rulers of Side erected a statue of Pompeius, who cleared the area of pirates, in order to whitewash their sins.