History of Aspendos
The ancient city of Aspendos, which has one of the rare ancient theaters and aqueducts that have survived until today, is among the most visited places visited by local and foreign tourists. It was a small Greek town in Pamphilia, now in southern Turkey. Aspendos is famous for having the best-preserved Roman Theater in the Mediterranean region.
This ancient city was founded on the hill plain near the Köprüçay (ancient Eurymedon river), one of the largest rivers in the region.
Where is Aspendos? How do I get to Aspendos?
The city is located Serik district of Antalya and at the 2nd km of the road which turns north from the 44th km of the Antalya – Alanya highway. A photogenic Seljuk bridge crosses the Köprü River from the road to Aspendos, 49 km east of Antalya. The road continues past the Aspendos Jewellery Centre to the ancient city of Aspendos, a site which is dominated by the best-preserved theatre of antiquity with seating for 15.000.
Although the theater and waterways of this ancient city are famous, actually ancient city covers a large area. The ruins of the other buildings of the city are at the level of the hill where the theater rests. Especially the historical aqueducts, two-storey shops, and the stoa (columnar gallery) complex show the importance of this ancient city in terms of commercial and political aspects. The galleries, stage decorations, and acoustics all reflect the ability of the architect Zenon. Close to the theatre, basilica and agora lie the remains of an aqueduct, one of the largest in Anatolia.
Aspendos Theatre, Antalya, Turkey
Undoubtedly, the most famous building in this ancient city is the amphitheater. Aspendos Theater is one of the most prominent representatives of the Roman Period theaters with its architectural features and well-preserved. The building exhibits the latest lines of Roman theater architecture and construction techniques.
This building is considered to be acoustically the best theater in the world. The entire auditorium has a total of 41 seats, 21 at the bottom and 20 at the top. The rows of seats with two upper parts are separated by a horizontal transition called diazoma. The top of the auditorium is surrounded by a gallery of 58 columns and arches.
Aqueduct of Aspendos
In addition to the theater, the most important ruins of the city are the waterways. The Aspendos waterway system is one of the best examples of antique waterways that have been preserved until today. The north-south arched bridge has water pressure towers at both ends.
On the hill where the theater is rested, there are agora, basilica, monumental fountain, parliament building, monumental plug, street, and Hellenistic temple.
Visitor Tips For Aspendos
Entrance Fee to Aspendos
To enter Aspendos ruins it is necessary to buy a ticket. In 2021 the price of a normal ticket was 60 TL.
The area of Aspendos is open for visitors for 9 am to 7 pm. The ticket allows the entrance to the theatre and acropolis hill. The access to the aqueduct and baths-gymnasium ruins is free of charge.
There is a museum shop in Aspendos that sells souvenirs and books. In front of the theatre, there is a large, unshaded parking place, which is additionally charged. It is also possible to park a car a little bit further from the main ruins, nearby the gymnasium free of charge.
The theatre in Aspendos is currently under restoration therefore the access to its various areas may be limited for visitors. In 2013 the work was conducted in the upper part of the cavea and the external facade of the skene building was hidden behind the scaffolding.
The acropolis area is vast, and it is difficult to find some shade. Before setting out to explore it one might need to consider wearing sturdy shoes and some sun protection as well as taking bottled water.
There are several restaurants near Aspendos that mostly cater for organized groups of visitors. We were especially satisfied with the freshly caught trout and well-prepared Adana kebab.