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Phaselis Ancient Site / General info & History

How to go, where to stay?

There is the ancient city of Phaselis between Tekirova and Kemer. If you are coming from Antalya, after passing Kemer You can see the sign of the ruin showing the turn in the sea direction.

The ancient city of Phaselis spreads over an area of approximately 30 hectares. The settlement lies on two hills and on the plain between them. Here, the cape and foots of the hill on the north are mentioned.

The settlement in the cape area is a suitable place for defense and settlement due to its easily defensible position against attacks from both sea and land. Since the swamp in the land side turns into a lake in rainy times, a natural obstacle is created for the city. It is an important factor to have an important distant view towards the sea.

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The city on the peninsula is divided into three regions: the Acropolis, the city port and the southern port, and the western city between the swamp and the southern port.

The earliest settlement of Phaselis is on the hill where the western city is located. The settlement area covers approximately 8.4 hectares. The city walls are thought to be built immediately after the foundation of the city. During the siege of the Egyptian dynasty Ptolemy, the old city wall was damaged. It was rebuilt in a new style since 309. The ruins of the walls seen on the Acropolis today belong to this period. The walls at the south of the acropolis continue to the southern city gate along the small gulf coast in the south. The remains of a fortification in the north bay surround the city harbor. The area within the walls built during the Hellenistic period has a flat area of ​​approximately 20 hectares. The ruins that have reached today are mostly from the Roman Imperial Period and Byzantine Era.

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Phaselis was inhabited by the locals of the region of Solymos. In the beginning of the 700s, there were unclear rumors about the fact that it was founded by Argos or by the colonist of Lindos. According to legend, when these colonists came to Phaselis, they gave dried fish as a settlement price to the domestic shepherd they encountered. The shepherd allows them to sattle by taking the dried fish. That's why there is an idiom in the sense of '' Phaselis fish '' which means ''sold for a cheap price''. After ending the existance of the Lydia Kingdom and all the Anatolian cities by the Persians  In 546 BC, Phaselis was also seized & captured  by Persian commander Harpagos. 

In 333B.C. , as in some other Lycian cities, the city voluntarily surrendered to Alexander the Great and his armies. The king of Macedonia is thought to have been wellcomed as quest of Phaselis during the winter period. After the death of Alexander, the city was dominated by his successors, Antigonos and later by the Ptolmaios dynasty.  In 221B.C. , After Ptolemy's death who was he King of Egypt Hellenic dynasty, the city became independent again. He became a member of the Lycian Union for a short period of time for about 30 years. It is known that it was used as a base by pirates in the first century. Therefore, the city  was punished  In 77 BC. by the Roman commander Publius Servilius Vatia who had come to the area to end  piracy. 

In later periods, as in the general history of the region, Roman, Byzantine periods, Arab raids were experienced. In the 12th century AC, Seljuks were dominating the city &  after them Ottoman Empire did. In 1811, it was rediscovered by a British Royal Navy captain.

incription on the gate of hadrian phasel

the oldest residential area of the city is the Acropolis. It is known that the city was surrounded by fortifications due to the ancient historian Plutarch.

The main street of the city, which is 225 meters long, 20-25 meters wide and completely covered with stone and marble stones, continues into the city from South Port. Unusually for a main street or '' Cordo '', a 3-step stoa-like structure extends on both sides of the street and across the street. When British archaeologist Charles Fellows first saw the main street, he assumed that this was the stadion of the city. There are pedestals with inscriptions placed along the street. Many inscribed pedestals were removed from the sea during the excavations. Along the street there is a system used for draining rain water besides sewage and wastewater.


Large Roman bath: Large bath called double-bath building AD III century A.D. and repaired on IV century AD. In this period, new walls were added to the structure and some of the entrances of the building were closed. Aqueducts reach the point up here.

The small bath building is located on the east side of the raised square with two steps from both sides in front of the Tetragonal Agora. AD III. century.

Tetragonal Agora: It is at the opposite of the theater. The name of the building in antiquity is definitely known by the building inscription in the entrance. It is learned from the inscription that it was built in the period of the Roman emperor Hadrianus and was dedicated to the emperor. A fountain is located in the southern corner of the Agora overlooking the theater. The translation of the building's inscription is as follows.
      ''Tyndaris, daughter of Gnaius Licinius, son of Dioteimos Rufinus, adopted by Marcus. The father of the fatherland, Olympios, had built it, dedicated to the savior of the city, the homeland and the Phaselis.''

Theater: Theater structure is on the northwest foots of the Acropolis which was built in 2nd century AD. But it is thought that there is a premise under the theater. The seating areas lie on the hillside in the northwest. The retaining wall of this section has a height above 6 meters and is well preserved. The stage is divided by five monumental gates with rectangular columns which were thought to be used to divide the  sculpture bases between them. The theater can accommodate approximately 1500 people.

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Domitianus Agora: It is the oldest agora of Phaselis. The translation of the inscription of the building is as follows.
     ''Son of the divine Vespasianus, pontifex maximus, 13 times tiribunica potestas, 22 times the emperor, 16 times consul indefinitely.''

Gate of Hadrian; Only the foundation of this structure is located on the main street. At the end of the main street that descends south from the city port, it is an arch. There are various patterns on it. There are inscriptions dedicated to Emperor Hadrian on the blocks facing the South Port. The translation is as follows.
    '' The Phaselis 'people assemblies salutes the grandson of the divine Nerva, the son of the divine Traianus, the Parth Conqueror.  ''

South and North Ports; To the northeast of the southern gulf is a flat and sandy shore. It is completely protected against wind. It is not as shallow and cliff-covered as the gulf in the north. Because of all these advantages, the port was used as the loading area. İt is known that Emperor Hadrian entered the city from this port. This case can be understood from the fact that the Arch inscription on the main street that descended to the South Port on the main street was on the sea side. The northern port is more suitable as a mooring area due to the rock masses along the northern gulf. The north gulf has sunk into the water about 1.5 m since the Roman period.

Aquaducts: The need for water, which was first provided by cisterns, was than procvided by these magnificent aqueducts. The water was carried by aquaducts from the nearby Tahtali Mountain and a spring in a cave in the northern settlement.

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