The Mediterranean region, one of the richest in Türkiye in terms of history and culture, should not be evaluated only in terms of its wonderful beaches or sea tourism but also for its impressive and historical ancient cities that offer a fascinating mystical atmosphere
If we only think of an area consisting of piles of stones when thinking of an ancient city, we would be doing an injustice to history and the people who lived in these areas over the centuries.
While ancient ruins make many cities tourist attractions today, the stories whispered in our ears by the old city ruins that have hosted many civilizations also tell us how people have lived.
Since many cities of Türkiye are the sites of different civilizations, it is possible to come across ancient ruins in many towns, especially in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. So, let’s listen to the stories whispered by the ancient cities of the Mediterranean – the paradise of Türkiye.
Aspendos, located in the village of Belkıs in the Serik district of Antalya, one of the most popular cities of the Mediterranean region, is a city founded on the trade route of the period, as is the case with many ancient cities. The city’s most important structure, consisting of a theater, stadium, bath, cistern and shops, is the theater with a capacity of 12,000 people. Aspendos Theater, one of the best preserved ancient theaters in the world, stands out with its acoustics. If you go to Aspendos, which has recently hosted concerts and shows, drop a coin right in the middle of the stage to truly understand the acoustics. You will find that the sound of the coin reaches even the person sitting at the top of the theater. In Aspendos, you can attend concerts or events in the historical fabric and explore this unique ancient city.
According to the research, it is said that the history of the ancient city of Perga, or Perge, which is about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) away from the center of Antalya, dates back to the Early Bronze Age. In the ancient city of Perga, one of the wealthiest and most beautiful cities of the Hellenistic period, you can see the Hellenistic Towers and the city gate, stadium, baths, fountains, water channels and theater built in the Roman period. Therefore, you should come to the Aksu district of Antalya to be fascinated by the ancient city of Perga, which attracts attention with its theater with a capacity of 15,000 and a stadium with a capacity of 12,000 people.
The ancient city of Myra, located in the Demre district of Antalya, got its name from the Myros River, which is now known as the Demre Stream. Myra, which was the capital of Lycia in the A.D. fifth century, maintained its importance throughout the Middle Ages. You can also visit the Church of Saint Nicholas in Demre and enjoy the sea on the unique beaches of Demre when visiting. Finally, you can go on a blue cruise from Kekova in Üçağız, which is very close to Demre, where you can witness beautiful views of the endless waters of the Mediterranean.
Patara, one of Türkiye’s oldest and most magnificent ancient cities, is between Fethiye and Kalkan. Patara, which was accepted as the capital of Lycia for a period, was also used as a naval base during the Roman period. The assembly building where the meetings of the Lycian League were held during the Lycian period is also located in this ancient city. Patara is also of great importance to Christians because Saint Nicholas, also known as “Santa Claus,” was born in Patara. Since the Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared 2020 the “Year of Patara,” we can understand how important the ancient city of Patara is to culture and Türkiye.
Olympus, or Olympos, the most important port city after the ancient Phaselis, is located in the Kumluca district of Antalya. In this ancient town, which is part of the Beydağları Coastal National Park, you can see the ruins of a theater, a basilica, walls that have been converted into a castle and a bath. The Byzantine Church, the walls of which are adorned with frescoes, is one of the ruins that you can see here that best reflects the period. Olympus can also offer a unique experience as one of Türkiye’s summer holiday centers.
After talking about ancient cities, which can be both a historical trip and a great summer holiday option, I recommend you learn the terms you may encounter in ancient cities. Frankly, after I learned the meaning of some terms I encountered while visiting ancient cities, my trip became more enjoyable and educational.
Finally, I will give you some advice about ancient city tours. Ancient cities can be rather hot places to visit in the peak of the summer season. I highly recommend you choose light-colored clothes, wear comfortable shoes as you can pass through the pathways and stony roads, and take a hat, sunglasses, umbrella and water with you.
I wish you a pleasant tour of the ancient cities that will drag you into the depths of history and fascinate you with their unique atmospheres.