Aspendos is an ancient city in the Belikis Village of Serik District of Antalya, which has a worldwide reputation for its amphitheater. Located in the east 8 km from Antalya, Aspendos one of the rich cities founded by Persians in the 10th century. The ancient theater of the symbol of Aspendos was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century AD.
The region is one of the first cities to coin money for its name. It is called Estvediys. This name, which originally comes from Anatolian, can be shown as proof that the history of the city dates back to quite ancient times. It was established at the point where Köprücayı reaches the plain from the mountainous region.
It was really important for all the civilizations that lived there throughout history thanks to the trade route it is on and to the river nearby. In addition, the surrounding lake made the soil extremely fertile. Economically, the wealth and richness are partly by virtue of the agriculture and abundant salt.
Thanks to the convenient transportation and agricultural products obtained from here and the salt sent to Mediterranean markets, it became one of the most popular cities in a short time. Some historians mention that horses breeding in this region are the hippest horses of Roman civilization. It is also reported that the furniture produced from the lemon trees in this region is also used in the Roman palaces. In the same way, the wine and grain products of the region are also handled for the elite of the city and find buyers in high wages. It is known that carpets and rugs produced in Aspendos are among the most popular gift items among the nobles.
Thanks to the Seljuk it has been able to survive until this day with its dizzying history, and the entire city developed. Although the ancient theater was used as a caravansary during the Seljuk period, it was a place where the sultans stayed. In addition, thanks to the advanced architectural knowledge of the Seljuk’s, repairs and renovations could be made and the city was strengthened so that they were able to survive for many years without any problem.
It is possible to observe the repair marks from the Seljuk period on the outside of the Aspendos Theater. Aspendos, visited by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1930, can continue to be a center of attraction in terms of history and touristic thanks to the directives given for the repair, reuse and evaluation of its damaged parts.
There is a mythological story of the historical theater which has the capacity that 15 thousand people can sit down. According to a rumor, the king of the castle Marcus Aurelius declared that he would marry off his daughter the architect who would make the city the most beautiful. The king, having difficulty deciding between the two architects who built the historical water arches and the ancient theater, says that he will divide his daughter into two parts. On top of this, the architect who built Aspendos declares that he has given up on the girl. The emperor marries her daughter to the architect built Aspendos because he believes that the architect really loves her daughter.
The words “The gods of the country and the royal family …” are the words of the family that the sponsors of the work named the brothers Curtius. On top of the niches on the stage part is a relief of Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. The ancient theater, which was used as a caravanserai during the Seljuk period, is visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year because it is one of the best-preserved structures that can come up to date.
Today, this historic theater is still housing concerts and various games. Natural acoustics has such an architectural excellence that the voice of someone speaking on the stage can be heard even by those sitting in the back row.
It is an ancient city not only with its theater but with its ancient arches, agora, basilica and monumental fountain as well.
Where to stay in Aspendos?
As the ancient city of Aspendos passes for the first degree as a protected area, the nearest hotel or accommodation facilities are located in Side, 35 km away.
What to Eat in Aspendos?
Thousands of people visit Aspendos with cars or tour buses every day, especially in the summer months. For this reason, women from neighboring villages of the Serik district offer local delicacies on the roads with moving benches. Alternatives such as pancakes, raw pie are ideal for a short break and snack. Due to the historical structure of the region, there are no businesses in the areas where antique theater and other antiquities are found.
How to go to Aspendos?
You can go to Aspendos from the 44th kilometer of Antalya-Alanya road and follow the return road to the north. There are also day tours to Aspendos which is within 2 km of that road. It is 50 km from Antalya, 94 km from Alanya and 35 km from Side.