The Theatre of Aspendos
Aspendos, or Belkıs with its lesser known name, is an ancient city in Antalya's Serik district, famous for its theater stage. This city is thought to be among the wealthiest cities of Pamphylia in prehistoric times. Being located on the most used trade routes of Anatolia and being connected to the port via Köprüçay River, it has become a favorite city of all ages.
Considering that Antalya is very rich in terms of ancient cities, the Ancient City of Aspendos is one of the most fascinating with its historical atmosphere. Although we are content with legends instead of historical evidence about the purpose of the Aspendos Ancient City, this city stone, soil and magnificent theater are a must-see in all seasons.
Where is Aspendos Ancient City?
Aspendos Ancient City is located in Belkıs Village of Serik district of Antalya, a city of sea and sun. Getting to the city, which is 8 km east of the center of Antalya, is quite easy. No matter which part of the city you come to, don't leave without seeing this magnificence very close to the center.
Information About Aspendos Ancient City
The history of the ancient city of Aspendos, which witnessed the Early Bronze Age, dates back to before Christ. Although the answers to the questions of who lived in the ancient city of Aspendos and how was the life in the city at that time are a bit unclear, this magical city was built in the plain area of Köprüçay in BC. It is thought to have been founded by the Achaeans in the 10th century. The most important work of the city is the big theater, MS. It was built by the Romans in the 2nd century.
B.C. In the 1200s, intensive Greek migrations took place in the region. In these times, the importance of the city was not understood yet, the city was not developed in a healthy way.. BC. When it was under Persian domination until the first quarter of the 5th century, military developments were made and some trade routes were opened on this occasion. Afterwards, as a result of the Eurymedon War, which took place around the river near the city, BC. In 467, Aspendos was recaptured by the Greeks. Before these events, it is thought that Alexander the Great ruled in the region during the conquest of Anatolia.
We talked about the commercial importance of Aspendos, a city that has been cherished throughout history. The city's biggest economic resource was the salt extracted from the nearby Lake Kapria. Salt was an important and expensive raw material at that time and served many purposes, especially cotton farming. After salt, income was also obtained from products such as viticulture, grain products, olives, wine and olive oil. Along with these, when commercial roads were developed, the city turned into the pearl of the age. Another production that keeps the economy afloat is luxury furniture. These furniture, made of lemon trees, adorned the homes of soldiers and nobles, and were considered a symbol of wealth.
The Ancient City of Aspendos was also actively used in the Byzantine and Seljuk periods. Seljuk structures can also be found among the surrounding ruins. The Seljuk Dynasty, which had a policy of protecting historical monuments throughout its rule, undoubtedly played an important role in the survival of Aspendos. As an additional information, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk personally visited the ancient city in 1930 and gave instructions for the restoration works to be started.
What will you see while visiting the ancient city of Aspendos?
Undoubtedly, the most important structure of the city is the Aspendos Antique Theater, where tourists can't get enough of singing arias on the stage. The reason why the theater section of the Ancient City of Aspendos is so important is that it is the oldest and most robust theater among the Anatolian Roman Theaters. The open-air theater with a capacity of 14,000 people has caused even great leaders to take long trips to watch the plays. Although the architect of the theater was Zeon, the son of Theodorus, who was a native of the city, the construction process was completed during the reign of the famous Emperor Marcus Aureliu. After the theater was completed, it was presented to the gods of the city and the family of the emperor. Today, thousands of local and foreign tourists visit Aspendos every year. In addition, the ancient theater is still actively used today for concerts, theater plays and various events.
If you visit Aspendos, you can see structures such as the stadium, agora, basilica and acropolis, as well as the Aspendos Ancient Theater and aqueduct mentioned in the legend. Of course, not all of them have survived as well as the ancient theater, but you can feel the spirit of history even among the ruins. You should definitely see Aspendos, which has the most important value together with the ancient city of Olympos, which has witnessed from the past to the present and was within the borders of Antalya in ancient times, and you should listen to its amazing legend while you are there.
The Legend of Belkis
We are in one of the times when the Romans took the whole world by storm, and especially architects have great prestige for cities. Well, there is always an architect's signature under those gigantic ancient structures that we visit and marvel at. In such an environment, two famous architects of the city of Aspendos are in love with Belkıs, the king's daughter. The king, on the other hand, cannot decide which groom candidate to marry his daughter to. He finds the solution by organizing a race and invites both architects to his side. He says: "Whoever of you can make a beautiful and useful work for Aspendos, my daughter will marry him!"
Emir cuts the iron, both architects enter a long and intense period of work and finally present their works to the king. One of the architects is building aqueducts that can meet the city's water needs. The other architect is building the Aspendos Theatre, which is quite an imposing structure. The King examines both of these works, but he likes both of them very much. When she can't get out of the way, she finds a solution in her own way and tells the architects that she likes both of the works very much and that she keeps her promise by dividing her daughter in half and giving one half to one and the other half to the other. Upon the king's words, one of the architects' heart does not allow this and he says "I gave up, give your daughter to my rival" at the expense of the king. However, the rumors are not limited to this. According to another rumor, the king really kept his word and cut his daughter in half. For this reason, there is a half-girl statue at the Aspendos Theatre… Isn't it creepy?
- The Theatre of Aspendos
- Antalya Oldtown
- Konyaalti Beach
- Antalya Museum
- Kurşunlu Waterfall
- Likya way