Termessos Ancient City is a very well preserved ancient city located 17 km north-west of Antalya, in the Mount Güllük-Termessos National Park.
It was built 1,050 meters above sea level and spreads over a wide area. It’s one of the best-preserved historic settlements in Turkey. This is a very impressive and important historical site to visit in Turkey.
Here, you will find all the important information you should know before visiting the ancient city of Termessos in Antalya.
The city Termessos is located on the Güllük Mountain, also known as Termessos National Park, rich with botanic vegetation. The site houses many endangered animals. Close to the National Park’s gate you will find a small museum that exhibits animals and plants unique to this environment.
Termessos is a hidden beauty among the wild plants and pine forests. You will find peaceful nature welcoming you while making your discoveries, away from the bustling touristic areas. You will also find that Termessos has a much more impressive atmosphere than many other ancient cities.
Among the remaining ruins are the city walls, Hadrian’s Triumphal Arch, the cisterns, the theater, the gymnasium, the agora, the odeon, and the heroon. You can find the general plan of the city in the parking area. Here are the places you will see in Termessos Ancient City.
There are many temples and two large burial areas (necropolis) with a good number of tombs and sarcophagi in the ancient city of Termessos. In the Antalya Museum, there is a specific hall exhibiting the sarcophagi obtained from Termessos.
Tomb of Alcetas
In the upper necropolis, an important tomb belongs to Alcetas, who was one of Alexander the Great’s commanders. He intended to take control of Termessos after Alexander’s death. Young people from Termessos made a heroic mausoleum for him.
Alexander the Great’s death caused a conflict between Antigonos and Alcetas, two of his commanders. Alcetas was defeated by Antigonos. But the people of Termessos defended Alcetas and the city was besieged once again for this reason. At the end of all this confusion, Alcetas killed himself and handed over his dead body to Antigonos. Alcetas’s defenders built this monument for his memory, where he is depicted fighting on his horse.
With view of a cliff, this theater is one of the most interesting structures on earth. The theater has 4,200 seats and shows the characteristics of a Roman theater, but has the semi circular design from Hellenist period.
As in other classical cities, an odeon was located about 100 meters from the theater. This building, which resembled a small theater, dates back to the 1st century BC. It’s well preserved in all its parts and shows high quality, cut stone construction.
Temple of Artemis
Both the temple and the cult statue inside of it were built by a woman named “Aurelia Armasta” and her husband. By examining the style, it’s thought that the history of the temple goes back to the end of the 2nd century AD.
Temple of Zeus Solymeus
This temple was dedicated to the patron god of the city, Zeus Solymeus. Unfortunately, only a five meter high wall remains from the temple.