Termessos

ancient theater of TermessosTermessos is one of the most interesting ancient sites in the province of Antalya. It's located inside the National Park to the north-west of the province, approximately 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the city center. It's a spectacular Psidian city built on the Taurus Mountains at approximately 1050 meters (3445 feet) above the sea level. Today, the site is mentioned in Unesco's Tentative List for World Heritage.

The ancient city of Termessos was found by the Solyms who lived in the Psidia region, who have been cited in the Iliad by Homer in connection with the legend of Bellerophon. We don't know much about the Solyms but probabily they were of Anatolian origin, unlike other settlers in the region who usually came from the sea. The city is one of the few places which Alexander the Great couldn't capture it despite his siege in 333 BC because it was an eagle's nest built in a valley hidden between the mountains. Even today, in order to visit the site you should have a good physical condition to walk uphill, but when you reach the site the views are breathtaking.

During the 2nd century BC the Termessians fought against neighbouring Lycian cities and then against Isinda who were their other neighbour in Psidia region. They also fought against Selge, another ancient city near Attaleia (modern day Antalya). Termessos had good relations with Attalos II, king of Pergamon.

During the Roman empire, Termessos became a Roman ally so they received their independent status from the Senate in 71 BC. The inhabitants abandoned the city in the 5th century AD after a gradual decline and earthquakes which destroyed its aqueduct and thus their water supply.

Termessos is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Turkey. The most significant remains of the site are the fortified city walls, towers, king's road, Hadrian's gate, agora, stoas, gymnasium, heroon, odeon, theatre, tombs, temples, houses, shops, cisterns and drainage system. All of this is located in a dense vegetation, surrounded by typical flora of the Mediterranean. Amongst the sarcophagi, there are the ones of Alcates, the rival of Antigonos who was one of Alexander's generals, and of Agatemeros. The views from the theater are magnificent, which had a capacity of five thousand spectators. So far, there isn't any scientific excavations held in the city.