Ancient and Historical Sites of Western Mediterranean

MAJOR ANCIENT & HISTORICAL SITES

OLYMPOS

Olympos is an ancient city located on Turkeys Southern coast, 30 km South West of Kemer and 90 km South west of Antalya. The city was founded during the Hellenistic period in the first century BC, sharing its name with the nearby Mt. Olympos or Tahtalı. The city which was one of the leading cities of Lycia, was invaded and settled by pirates in the first century B.C. but this was ended not long. Afterwards in 78 B.C. , when the Roman commander Servilius Isaurieus added the city to the territories of Roman Empire.

Olympos, an ancient site stepped in mythology, history and nature, is host to couples with love filled hearts as well as to tourists. Olympos also attracts people looking for an alternative holiday , those who want to enjoy nature or outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, camping, rafting, canoeing rush to this fascinating spot.  The city offers much more than these beauties. A roman period church, baths, an amphitheater, which also hosts many recreational activities and a necropolis, are some of the ancient structures to be found in this city of living history.

Being a popular summer destination and tourist spot for years, Olympos has attracted foreign settlers since 80s and was later discovered by domestic investors. These entrepreneurs saw a new opportunity with tree houses they established for visitors who wanted to enjoy the enchanting natural scenery and the fascinating historical remains of the city.

It really gives a great pleasure to pass through the ancient city of Olympos, reaching the coast at daybreak with the Gokdere flowing timesessly through the citys walls as well as the castes constructed by Mt.Cıralı and Genoese bay and strewn with the ancient citys walls as well as the castes constructed by Venetians, Genoese and Knight of Rhodes, Olympos offers magnificent scenery, both natural and histrorical.

CHIMERA - CIRALI

Chimera is situated 8kms from Olympos. Scientists are as mystified as the people of ancient times as to how fire spontaneously erupts from holes in the mountain. Chimera was another Lycian city, and is named after the mythological son of Typhon. Legend has it that the Chimera was killed by Bellerophon who mounted Pegasus and bombarded the Chimera with molten lead. From a realistic viewpoint, the most logical reason for the flames is that it is natural gas seeping through cracks in the earth – although scientists are still unable to discover the compounds of the gases. The mythological reason for the fires is far more interesting than the scientific one – let the visitor decide! To truly appreciate the effects of the Chimaera it is best to visit the area in the evening. The almost pyrotechnic effect is most impressive during the hours of darkness. Looking away from the magic of the fires there is the added bonus of spectacular views of the Lycian ruins above.

PHASELIS

Phaselis is an ancient Lycian city in the Antalya Province in Turkey. It is located throughout Taurus mountains and the forests of the Olympos National Park, 16 km south west of Kemer and 57 km of the Antalya - Kumluca highway. Phaselis and other ancient towns around the shore can also be accessed from the sea by daily yacht tours.

When you are driving on the new road parallel to the coast that offers you all the beauties of the Mediterranean, if you turn to Phaselis 35 kilometers before Antalya, this road in the woods will take you to Phaselis in the village of Tekirova.

Although the nearly Beldibi Cave was labeled a prehistoric site, the establishment of the city of Phaselis doesn’t go earlier than the seventh century B.C. Phaselis was founded in 690 B.C. as a colony of Rhodes. It had three ports and was close to rich forests. In the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., the sea was the only source of income for Phaselis. At that time the Persians took control of Anatolia, and later Alexander defeated the Persians and conquered Phaselis. The people of Phaselis opened their doors to Alexander and made him their guest. Alexander received several ambassadors of from Pamphlia cities here in this city. He also conquered all the cities on the coast one-by-one and went on the way to Gordion.
After the death of Alexander, from 309 to 197 B.C , the city was ruled by the Ptolemies of Egypt. It was later given to the Kingdom of Rhodes like other Lycian cities in the peace of Apamia. Phaselis stayed under the rule of Rhodes from 190 to 160. After 160 B.C., the city joined the Lycian Union under Roman sovereignty. Phaselis was attacked by pirates in first century B.C.. The city was ruled by a pirate named Zenekites for some time before the Romans defeated him.

In 42 B.C. Brutus and the Romans took possession of the city. During the Byzantine era, Phaselis became the center of the episcopate. Because of its good ports, the city was attacked again by the third century B.C., and after that it lost its importance. It became even poorer with Arab raids. By the 11th century B.C., Phaselis could no longer survive. It was forgotten totally when the Seljuks came to value the ports of Alanya and Antalya more.

In its early years, the city met its water needs with wells and cisterns. In Roman times, it brought water to the city via aqueducts from faraway places. They transported water from a spring to the north to a hill behind the Hadrian Agora and from here they distributed it to the city through channels.

The main ruins of the city are found on two sides of the main avenue that connects the military port with the south port. There are three steps on the sidewalks on two sides of the avenue which is 125 meters long and 20-25 meters wide. The avenue forms a square in the middle and leads to the south port. The avenue is paved with regular stones and has sewage and drainage systems underneath it.

ST. NICHOLAS, DEMRE

Some people believe that Santa Claus did not exist but truth is that old Father Christmas did in fact exist as a historic personality. He did not come from beyond the North Pole where Reindeers roam, but lived under the warm Lycian as Bishop of Myra.  His church and ex tomb continue to exist as places of pilgrimage in the Turkish town of  Demre  known also as Kale  near by Kemer Antalya

Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, was elected bishop during Diocletians persecutions, and died in Myra around the year 350. These stories of his charitable acts took on legendary dimensions during the following centuries.

One of these stories concerned three boys who were hacked into pieces by a greedy butcher, who salted and pickled them for sale in his shop. Nicholas miraculously restored the boys to life. On another occasion, on hearing that the daughters of a poor Myrian could not marry for lack of a dowry, Nicholas stole under the mans window at night and left a bag of gold for each girl. This act earned him the reputation of secretly delivering gifts in the black of night.

By the 10th century Nicholas had become the most popular folk saint in the Byzantine realm, counting as the patron of children, poor virgins, innocent prisoners, sailors and Russians. His tomb in Myra became the object of pilgrimages. A church was built around it in the 6th century. After it was destroyed in an Arab raid, the church was rebuilt in its present form with the help of Constantine and Empress Zoe in 1043.

The fame of St. Nicholas was brought to the west by Teophano, a princess who married Otto of Germany. In 1087 some Italian merchants broke into the tonb and removed the bones of Santa Claus to Bari, where the famous church of San Nichola di Bari was built. Miraculosly, enough other bones were found in Myra and transferred to the Antalya Museum.

The Church of S: Nicholas fell into disuse in Turkish times. In 1862 Czar Alexander bought the edifice and began to restoring it. Further restroration were cariedout in recent years by Turkish government which also promoted the annual festivitieswhich take place on the saints feast day. Thousands of pilgrims from Italy , Greece and other countries come to Myra each year on December.

MYRA

The foundation date of Myra is not known exactly. However, the archaelogical data, obtained from the researches in the grave reliefs with regard to style , indicated that the city has existed in the 5th century before Helenistic period. The city experienced its golden period during the 2nd century Myra, completely destroyed by the earthquake in 141 AD , was rebuild. Having been renovated in this period, the theatre with its ornaments was characterised as a wonder of the world in the Late Antique period.  Some of th numerous masks ornameting this stage are exhibited in Demre Museum and some in the Antalya Museum.

ARIKANDA

The ruins of Arykanda are on the Elmali-Finike highway, in the village of Arif’s Aykiriçay district, 30 kilometers from Finike. The city was an Anatolian city in the second century B.C., and it was called Anna. But objects unearthed at the site has enabled archaeologists to date the city to as early as the fifth century B.C.. Like other Lycian cities, Arykanda was under Persian rule in the fifth century B.C.. Alexander started ruling the city in 333 B.C. After his death, the city was taken by the Ptolemies followed by Seleucids. After the Apameia Agreement, the city was taken under the sovereignty of Rhodes. After some years, together with a number of other Lycian cities, Arykanda also left the dominion of Rhodes. The cities which gained their freedom formed the Lycian Union. Arykanda also joined the union and printed their own coins. This situation continued until the Emperor Claudius ended the Lycian Union in 43 A.D. After this date, Arykanda was connected to Rome. The city was called Akalanda in the Byzantine era and it existed until the ninth century A.D. After that time, it was moved to an area on the south of the highway.

This is the reason why the Arykanda ruins are spread over such a wide area, starting from Aykiriçay’s spring and continuing all the way to Şahinkaya. The ruins become more frequent over the terraces. On top of these terraces in Şahinkaya, there is a stadium which is only half as large as normal stadiums and it has seats only on one side. There are niches between the seats. There is a very well-preserved theater of Arykanda in the middle of the terrace below. There are also stairs that lead down to this theater. The seats are placed on a natural slope. Theater was built in the Roman era and it is based on a Greek plan. The top two rows of the 20 rows have Greek writings on them. The city’s odeon lies on the terrace below theater.

Between the bouleterion and the agora, there are the remains of a small Turkish-style bath and a fountain. Below the agora, there are remains of a larger Turkish bath. The first two floors of this structure still stand today. Next to the bath, there is a gymnasium and to the west, there is a house with inscriptions on it.

Above the Turkish-style bath, on the terraces, there is the eastern necropolis of Arykanda. The western necropolis, on the other hand, starts from the cliffs to the west of the city and stretches to the spring of the Aykiriçay River.

There are very few rock tombs in Arykanda. Most of these are near Aykiriçay. Apart from the rock tombs, there are also water channels carved in rocks forming an interesting view. Evidence shows that the people of Arykanda used to get water from the spring of Basgoz. The water channels are connected to two large cisterns (water tanks) to the west of gymnasium. This section of ruins on top of the mountains has an extraordinary view.


PERGE & ASPENDOS

Aspendos Amphiteather: At the end of the road that turns off the Antalya -Alanya highway, we come to the most magnificent, as well as functionally the best resolved and most complete example of a Roman theatre. The building, faithful to the Greek tradition, is partially built into the slope of a hill. Today visitors enter the stage building via a door opened in the facade during a much later period. The original entrances, however, are the vaulted paradoses at both ends of the stage building. The cavea is semicircular in shape and divided in two by a large diazoma. There are 21 tiers of seats above and 20 below. To provide ease of circulation so that the spectators could reach their seats without difficulty, radiating stairways were built, 10 in the lower level starting at the orchestra and 21 in the upper beginning at the diazoma. A wide gallery consisting of 59 arches and thought to have been built at a later date, goes from one end of the upper cavea to the other. From an architectural point of view, the diazoma's vaulted gallery acts as a substructure supporting the upper cavea. As a general rule of protocol, the private boxes above the entrances on both sides of the cavea were reserved for the Imperial family and the vestal virgins. Beginning from the orchestra and going up, the first row of seats belonged to senators, judges, and ambassadors, while the second was reserved for other notables of the city. The remaining sections were open to all the citizens. The women usually sat on the upper rows under the gallery. From the names carved on certain seats in the upper cavea, it is clear that these too were reserved. Although it is impossible to determine the exact seating capacity of the theatre, it is said to have seated between 10,000 and 12,000 people. In recent years, concerts given in the theatre as part of the Antalya Film and Art Festival, have shown that as many as 20,000 spectators can be crowded into the seating area.

PROPERTY MARKET IN OLYMPOS, CIRALI & CAVUS-ADRASAN

Olympos and Chimera Cirali are ancient areas and resricted zones therefore one should be very careful to buy property in Olympos and Cirali, we highly recommend to work with a licenced real estate agent. Due to Turkish law for the foreign property ownership, foreign citiziens can only buy within the municipal areas with construction permissions assigned, with another saying, the area has to have a building permit. Buying property in Olympos or Cirali is only possible if you found a company in Turkey or apply for a special permission to Ankara Tapu Kadastre office. Briefly buying property in Olympos or Cıralı is not impossible but the procedure is longer than buying a property within the municipal area.

07980 Kemer / Antalya / Turkey
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