top of page



Category:         Ancient City / Site

Civilisation:       Pisidia

Ariassus Pisidian Ancient City

Ariassus or Ariassos was a town in Pisidia, Asia Minor built on a steep hillside about 50 kilometres inland from Attaleia which is modern Antalya.
The town was founded in the Hellenistic period in the 3rd century BC. It was mentioned as Aarassos in about 100 BC by Artemidorus Ephesius, who was quoted by Strabo a century later. The only further mentions are by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD and in lists of Christian dioceses.


It was part of Pisidia and belonged originally to the Seleucid Empire. In 189 BC it passed to the Hellenistic kingdom of Pergamum, the last king of which, Attalus III left his kingdom to Rome in 133 BC.

Under Octavian Augustus, Ariassos was made part of the Roman province of Galatia. In the ecclesiastical lists it appears in the late Roman province of Pamphylia Secunda, whose capital was Perge, hence also its bishopric's Metropolitan.


The ruins are mainly of Roman and Byzantine times, with few remains of the earlier Hellenistic period. The best preserved is that of the 3rd-century-AD triple-arched city entrance once surmounted by four statues. Other buildings include an extensive nymphaeum and baths, as well as a large domestic area. There is an abundance of funerary monuments.


The names of three bishops of the see of Ariassus are known: Pammenius (at the First Council of Constantinople in 381); Theophilus (at the Council of Chalcedon in 451); and Ioannes (signatory of a joint letter of the bishops of the province to Emperor Leo I the Thracian in 458)

The most striking monument (already designed and described by Lanckoronski and Niemann) is a large three-arched gate with very simple and elegant decoration, located at the narrowest part of the valley and possibly dated to the age of Hadrian; however, more recent research has also made it possible to illuminate other structures that can be dated to the entire Hellenistic-Roman period, both in the city center and in the necropolis beyond the walls.

Ariassos arch

Arch in Ariassos

 Of particular note are the remains of a large complex (reconstructed in plan) consisting of a nymphaeum (supplied by an aqueduct from a spring 3 km south of A) and a thermal power plant with an additional gym: the last with porticoes and an exedra on the west façade. Undoubtedly, the building that found it has many stages of construction. Numerous inscriptions come from this area (largely reused as building material in the complex itself), which in most cases refer to games (θέμιδες) and in any case testify to the settlement's long and rather vibrant life. A group of buildings that characterize the city center date back to the Hellenistic era: the prytanèion (at least that's how the remains of a rectangular room were interpreted), the bouleutèrion, the stoà, the temple. Reconstruction of the bouleuterion, or perhaps more precisely the odèion, has been proposed: the semicircular staircase is inscribed in a square-plan room, in front of it is an atrium with a hexagonal facade

Relief of the naos of the ptolemaion in Limyra in Antalya Museum

Remains of private houses rebuilt on Hellenistic foundations in the Roman era and the placement of the walls have also been identified (section N is particularly well preserved). But extremely interesting are the necropolises stretching to the East, South and Southwest of the city, with numerous monumental tombs, one of which (double room, vaulted ceiling) painted by Lanckoronski and Niemann.

The most notable shrine discovered recently is located at W: a large room originally intended to contain one or more sarcophagi, rising on a high podium with a vaulted substructure and decorated with columns and statues, possibly set in foundations on the E façade. . Most of these magnificent tombs (heròa) probably date back to the 2nd century. and reveals "eclectic" Persian, Lycian and Greco-Hellenistic influences.

Ariassos necropolis

Coinage from Ariassus


1-di S. Rinaldi Tufi - Enciclopedia dell' Arte Antica (1994)

2-Stephen Mitchell, Edwin Owens and Marc Waelkens, Anatolian Studies



bottom of page, ca-pub-6523546477277012, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0